Posts tagged " customer service "

Give Me Nashville, Not New York

April 2nd, 2019 Posted by Thought Tools 12 comments

I enjoy visiting New York where I inevitably encounter many stimulating minds and meet many charming people.  For a large part, though, New Yorkers are rude and customers in New York are subjected to surliness.  This is not true for all cities.  People in places like Nashville smile and show a desire to please. 

Great customer service tends to be found in communities with healthy marriage statistics.  This is no coincidence.  One reason is that successful spouses are better equipped to provide exemplary customer service at work; they do it all the time at home.  Furthermore, young people raised by parents in a happy marriage have learned how uplifting serving others can be.  Such youngsters are more likely to serve customers with smiling enthusiasm.

Most of us have experienced truly horrid customer service.  You might have been ignored by the two sales girls on the floor who are too busy giggling with one another to attend to you.  It might be an arrogant public servant trying to make you feel insignificant or who sees no connection between his actions and his paycheck. 

Vile customer service extracts a cost in both economic and human terms.  Courteous customer service lubricates the wheels of commerce and fights the friction that is found in human interaction.  If engaging a plumber to repair my faucet was a pleasant experience, I am more likely to hire him again rather than try to fix it myself.  That way I can spend that time on what I do best instead of struggling with recalcitrant pipes. 

In human terms, whether one returns home at the end of a day beaten or elated depends to a great extent on whether one feels uplifted by respectful human interaction.  Winning the deal, but from an overbearing, pompous bully (male or female) leaves the sales professional feeling oppressed. 

Imagine what your life would be like if every person with whom you came into contact made you feel valued.  Imagine what you could do for others if you sought ways to make everyone with whom you interact, feel appreciated.  Instead of complaining about how we are served by others, we could try focusing on how well we do the serving ourselves.  The customer can also find ways to serve the vendor—a kind word of gratitude does just that. 

The key to both marriage and customer service is one and the same.  Taking a spouse for granted and expecting only to be served is surely a recipe for marital disaster.  Service should go both ways and expressing deeply sincere appreciation is one profound form of service.  Those who see serving as degrading and subservient will be less successful with both spouses and customers. 

Jews have always been disproportionately successful in business partially because they understood the importance of customer service.  Early in our history in America, we Jews became small merchants.  From the barrows of the Lower East Side of New York to the main streets of nearly every small town across America, people felt comfortable purchasing from the Jewish storekeeper.  One of my Southern Baptist friends, a pioneering medical industries investor, recalls growing up in the South, in the town of Natchez, MS.  His anecdotes highlight the warm relationships between local Jewish merchants and their Christian customers.  Where did Jews learn customer service?

Judaism calls the process of praying to God—a prayer service.  Christianity has of course adopted this nomenclature too; we all serve God and we attend services.  Serving God helped Jews understand the inherent Godliness of serving His children, other people.  Serving God and serving customers are closely related.

People who are obsessed with celebrities would do almost any favor imaginable for their preferred idol.  They would even change diapers for Angelina’s tot or baby-sit Madonna’s children.  Serving someone’s children is a way of getting close to that someone.

Praying is not just about asking God for various favors.  It is expressing profound appreciation to Him; serving Him.  Serving is a God-given process of expressing the deepest yearnings of our souls.  After all, no animal consciously serves another.  Serving is a uniquely human gift and serving God makes us feel closer to Him.  Serving other people, His children, does the same.

Furthermore, service to others is an element of life’s essence.  Indeed doing things for another person is surely part of creating life.  For spiritually attuned humans, the act of marital intimacy with all its life creating potential, remains a union in which each individual is preoccupied with enhancing the joy of the other.  God’s marital message for future parents is that there is no pleasure that exceeds providing for another.  What a perfect preparation for the arrival of new life that will be the beneficiary of its parents’ desire to provide for its every need.  This is why the Hebrew word for love—ahav, when broken down to its component parts, means—I give

These ancient ideas helped dispel the notion that there was something shameful or degrading about serving someone else.  Some cities still cherish these eternal values while others have rejected them.  It cannot be a coincidence that New York, a triumph of secular liberalism with a high proportion of its inhabitants single, also offers such dreadful customer service.  Learning that serving others is one of life’s ultimate thrills could be the key to repairing both customer service and marriage.

Being aware of how the words we use affects others is one way we serve them. The widespread use of profanity shows a willingness to selfishly pollute the environment around us. Alternatively, choosing kind and caring words brightens others’ days. Discover the power of words and concrete tips to improve your own language in Perils of Profanity: You Are What You Speak. On sale now, this audio CD can improve your financial and love life as it guides you to properly use the Divine gift of speech.

Rabbi Lapin Download S





Blizzard Bonus

December 28th, 2010 Posted by Susan's Musings 2 comments

There are a lot of unhappy people this week. Many who dreamed of and planned for vacations in Florida and Hawaii found themselves paying for the privilege of sitting in cold and wet climates. Others, thanks to record snowfalls on the east coast, faced cancelled trips and hours in airports or were unable to return home after the holiday weekend.

Our youngest daughter fits the above description. A number of months ago she volunteered to be an advisor for a Jewish youth group in Los Angeles over the last weekend in December. Since she attends a Jewish college in New York, she wasn’t on a school break, but by missing only one class she thought that she could fly to L.A., contribute her time and energy and get back in time for finals. While she is a generous soul, the lure of a weekend of California sunshine in the middle of winter was certainly an added incentive for this project.

Reading about southern California downpours and flooding last week somewhat dampened her excitement at the trip.  But the weekend itself, where she shared her enthusiasm about Judaism with a group of teens, made up for the lack of sun. Amidst a flurry of activity she stayed unaware that the east coast was bracing itself for heavy snowfall. Then she received notification that her flight was cancelled. All New York airports were closed and she was one of thousands whose flights needed to be rescheduled.

Now, this type of flight snafu is more of an annually expected event than a shocking occurrence. Since Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Presidents Day weekend all come close to or in the winter months, one would think that there would be a standard operating procedure for when bad weather plus heavy travel coincide. So while she expected a delay and inconvenience, she was not prepared for being ignored and treated as if she had done something wrong.

Finding out that the airline wasn’t answering its phones on Sunday and that the recorded message had a ‘tough luck’ quality to it, did not engender warm, fuzzy feelings in my daughter. When she finally did get through on Monday, she was further dismayed at being told that the soonest the airline could fly her out was Friday. Since that flight would not get her in to NY in time for the Sabbath, she would have to settle for a Saturday night flight.  As a final insulting touch she was told that the flight would cost her an additional $100.

After a number of frantic phone calls from our daughter, my husband and I decided to bring her home to Seattle. If she needed to be on the west coast for a week, she could at least be home. Once she got to the airport for that flight, things improved. When she explained her plight, an airline employee found a seat for her, at no extra charge, on a Wednesday Seattle-NY flight, a far more reasonable solution than the original plan. Most importantly, the woman at the desk was empathetic. When she waived the luggage fee she sent a message that the airline saw my daughter as more than a dollar bill equation.

 That really was the most important factor. The airline certainly didn’t cause the bad weather and I’m sure that many airline employees had their own holidays disrupted. The bottom line is that whatever the technical difficulties, most people will understand and behave reasonably as long as the airline relates to them as individuals. I usually shudder when the government steps in to ‘protect the consumer.’ That often means higher prices for diminished service. But the flip side of that is that the onus is on businesses to remember that the customer may not always be right or rational, but he or she is always human.

As for my husband and me, we got the blizzard bonus. An unexpected day with our daughter under our roof is always a gift.



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