December 25, 2006

Boxing Day and Customer Service

Welcome to the Boxing Day edition of The MineThatData Blog! Today, in Boxing Day tradition, we switch roles. Readers Jim Fulton, Jeff Larche, Michael Gamma and Don Libey contribute content. Please read their columns, and comment on their topics. Thank you Jim, Jeff, Michael and Don.

As you may know, Boxing Day is about switching roles. A recent post from Seth Godin illustrates an employee at CVS talking on a cell phone, standing in front of a grease board that says "We cannot provide service if you are on your cell phone."

It is so, so easy to find an example of a customer service associate making a mistake. Maybe today, on Boxing Day, we switch roles, and consider what it is like to be a customer service associate. We assume that this employee is talking to a friend about an evening activity or a party. What if the associate is talking to her doctor about her biopsy? Do you feel differently about her if that is the case?

What would happen if somebody walked around our offices, snapping photos of our daily activities? Would the photographer ever find us reading blogs during the workday when we should be working? Would the photographer find us sending e-mails to friends, or find us using the phone for non-work-related calls? What would the photographer find if she walked through our offices?

For one day, can we switch roles, and try to have a little empathy for the folks who provide customer service for all of us? Can we try to understand what it is like to make $8.00 an hour working the counter at CVS, working without breaks, while the reader of this blog earns four or five times as much sitting in front of a computer on the day after Christmas? Can we, as business leaders, try to provide a work environment that is rewarding and enjoyable, paying a living wage with benefits, so that the these photos do not need to be snapped?

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