07 May 2009

Mom's Lessons on Customer Service

Cheryl Croce

Cheryl Croce
Sr. Consultant
Veris Associates, Inc.

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 10. It’s a particularly special one, as my younger sister will be celebrating her very first Mother’s Day. Both my sister and my mom have taught me what it is to be a strong and caring person.

In particular, there are many things I have learned from my mom that apply to how I approach managing projects. Whether she realized it or not, she gave me my first lesson in customer service.

One year, when I was younger, my mom prepared a holiday dinner. She made home-made manicotti, lasagna, meatballs, all the side dishes you can imagine, and a full turkey. It was a feast you might see in a Norman Rockwell painting (well, if Norman Rockwell had been Italian). My family gathered at the table, eager to dig in and enjoy the food.

My grandfather – her father – sat down, tucked a napkin into his shirt, picked up his utensils and surveyed the food in front of him.

My mom took great pride in her feast. That changed when my grandfather furrowed his brow and said,

“What? No ham?”

While my mom was less than thrilled about what he said, my grandfather practically licked his plate clean. To this day, she’ll bring up this story whenever we sit down for a holiday dinner.

The following are customer service nuggets of knowledge I garnered from that incident:

* Low hanging fruits – those projects we view as seemingly non-essential - are sometimes the sweetest to our customers.
* Understanding what is important to the customer takes active listening, observation and, on occasion, patience.
* As much as we strive for perfection, there’s always one person who isn’t going to be happy. If there’s something missing, it’s not the end of the world, and it’s not personal. You learn from the feedback, and deliver the unexpected at the next opportunity.

For all the moms and moms-to-be out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Interested in learning more about Customer Service? Attend one of our Customer Service Stars classes. These one-day classes will be held on May 20, 2009 and June 4, 2009. Click here for more details.

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