Curing Service Blindness

A man lived right by the railroad track.  For years, the train roared by his bedroom window at two-o’clock every morning.  He grew so accustomed to it that it never disturbed his sleep.  One night no train came through.  The usual train was taken out of circulation for maintenance and a substitute was unavailable.  At precisely 2 AM, the man lunged from a deep sleep and exclaimed, “What was that?!”

Customer service can be a lot like the man in the house beside the track.  We take it completely for granted.  We stop seeing the details of our customer’s experience; we cease standing in our customer’s shoes. Processes become a lot like wallpaper to a resident and we become afflicted with a type of blindness that keeps us from appreciating our customer’s world.  That is until something jolts us into suddenly noticing the unnoticeable.  An important customer leaves angry; a key account is lost to the competition, or a sneering review on the internet awakens us from our numbness.

Don’t wait until it is too late to take an empathy walk in your customer’s shoes.  Call your department, disguise your voice and request something out of the ordinary and watch what happens.  Get a friend to mystery shop your area and report on what she or he experiences.  Encourage those you serve to be brutally honest in their assessment of their experience.  Service blindness can stunt your growth and stymie your success.  Open your eyes and witness service through the lens of your customer.  Then, go to work improving what you have taken for granted!

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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