• Is Customer Service becoming extinct?

    Posted on January 17, 2013 by in Building Authentic Relationships in Business, New American Tradition, Talking Stick, Tools for Awakening

    Has internet search replaced good old-fashion care? friendly's 1982 copy

    After six days of repeatedly trying to contact the sales staff at Facebook I finally received an answer to a question I had regarding advertising. My question was simple: “What does it cost to speak to a “Live Manager?” The answer was blunt: “spend $50,000 per month.”

    On January 15th Facebook executives announced that they were going to reconfigure their algorithms and compete head-on with Google for advertising dollars. Internet savvy marketers worldwide licked their lips in unison upon hearing this news. Unfortunately, the live users, the blood and guts of their database were neglected in their reconfiguration. Are we becoming the chattel of these hi-tech information hounds by sharing our images, feelings, events, and ideas without demanding or expecting genuine good, old-fashion customer service? 

    In Quechua there is a word called anyi (for me today and you tomorrow). Reciprocity no longer exists on the Internet. It’s all take and very little give. Facebook is becoming a black hole that sucks in everything we have to offer, and then spews it out to modern day practitioners of black magic? Voodoo and advertising have become synonymous. Relationships are forming but long gone are friendly social interactions.

    At the age of 16, I received my first real paycheck. Until that time I fed my piggy bank by shoveling snow, arranging ski junkets, and tending to my grand mothers fruit stand. By the time I arrived at Friendly’s, sporting a short tight dress with a ruffled edge apron, I was well versed in the art of catering genuine, personal customer service.  I was taught to greet customers within a minute of their arrival. If the phone rang, I was to answer it by the third ring. I was also instructed to engage with customers after they had taken their first bite, and reminded of the importance of collecting their money and promptly returning their change. These basic ideas are the building blocks that I have used in developing my character, and building my businesses. Whether it was in my restaurant, catering business, or my coaching practice, my philosophy has always been genuine, personal customer service.  

    How hardened have we become? Some of my friends tell me that they don’t like to be “bugged” when walking into a store. Are sales associates now being viewed as stalkers? The guy, who smiles at an infant and approaches me with a spark in his eye will see me again. I appreciate a shoe store that has thoughtfully placed a brannock under my chair and uses it. Know my name and I am faithful for life. Even Best Buy, who I used to love to hate, has woken up, and now focuses more on the customer. At Trader Joes, stocking shelves is not priority; the customer always comes first. I enjoy shopping at Jensen’s because an extra cashier is always on hand to prevent long line-ups. Even Home Depot, Instant Teleseminar and other companies, now offer on screen chat; last year a woman at Patagonia located me a winter jacket in my size and color.

    This year I am examining my relationship with the Internet. Does my IPhone extend a warm smile, a friendly wink and a gracious thank you? Do I want to spend $600,000 just to hear a human voice? I also submitted an enquiry to LinkedIn regarding advertising and they never responded; at least Google calls.  If you were voting with your dollars, where would you invest your money?

    My wager is on my healing business, where I deliver sincere, personalized customer services and quality products. My new program, “Building your Authentic Business” is designed for business owners who believe that their SERVICE is what will make the world a better place.

    Follow Renee at the Elephant Journal.

    Renee Baribeau, the “Practical Shaman, ” is an accomplished mentor, respected business coach, dynamic spiritual teacher, speaker, and published author. Renee is well known for her no-nonsense, “tell it like it is” approach in helping others to achieve successful business practices. Her clients include entrepreneurs, CEO’s, movie producers, and celebrities.

     In 2010, Renee’s healing memoir, The Shaman Chef; How cooking saved my life, placed her among the top 25 finalists in The Next Top Spiritual Author competition, emerging from a field of over 2,500 candidates world-wide. Her essay, "Creativity a Recipe for Awakening" is included in an anthology entitled Pearls of Wisdom, Thirty Life Changing Ideas featuring Jack Canfield. Passion requires focus. Get Accountable, new group forming now. Check out her business and personal workshops and travel on Facebook and at her Practical Shaman blog.

    My complete bio is here. http://practicalshamantravel.com/bio/

     

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