Delivering 21st Century Customer Service

Delivering Customer Service in the 21st century is far more than the belief that the customer is always right. It is more than thinking that the customer is king; or that the customer must be delighted at the end of the exchange. Those concepts have become so engrained that they are now considered the daily minimum requirement for customer service.

Rather, delivering 21st century customer service is about being a part of what Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos calls “The Customers World”. Under Bezos direction Amazon has become the number one retailer by understanding the absolute need for his company to be intimately involved with that world.

Customer Service is no longer an “Us versus Them” proposition. In essence the customer and the provider of the customer service in the 21st century share the same ecosystem. As Bezos reminds us they share many of the same expectations, the same needs, and the same bottom line outcomes.

Companies that realize that customer service is far more than answering a question, taking a payment or solving a problem understand the advantages of seeing the world not apart from the customer; but, the as the same world.

In my travels during the last 3 years I have been able to see large companies like Amazon, small companies like Fenton Printing; and non-profits like Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and medical practices like the Bland Clinic develop the courage to breakthrough the outdated view of customer service. “The Customer World” is a brave new merged world incorporating the interests of both parties; creating a level of service in line with the demand of the most interconnect age since Adam and Eve, the 21st century.

The 4 Knows

While different in tone and emphasis every company that has adopted the “The Customer World” view had four things in common that guided their interpretation of “The Customer World”. Overtime, I stated to refer to these elements as the “4 Knows” of which countless permutations spring, allowing these firms to integrate themselves deeper into the Customer World.

The 4 Knows Of Customer Service

These four simple, yet powerful concepts of knowing your Customers, your Compensation, your Capabilities and knowing the Answer are helping to change the landscape of customer service. These are the pillars of 21st Century Customer service.

4 More 21st Century Customer Service Posts

The next four post in this space will focus on my findings on how 21st Century Customer Service is operating in each of these “4 Knows” as they operate in the Customer World. I hope you will join me in this important exploration and consider how these findings can help transform your business.

 

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

 

CARINGFULNESSLESS

Caringfulnessless. Of course, there is no such word!

However, one January morning, when I woke up, that word was envisioned in my spirit. I had absolutely no idea what it meant; yet, I couldn’t erase it from my mind. So I did what I do best. I begin to analyze and research.

I broke the word that had been placed into my spirit in parts; hoping to gain understanding of what was happening. I knew God was trying to tell me something. So, I analyzed and researched every element of the word “Care”.

The word “Care” simply mean to have a concern or interest about something or someone. The feeling can be affectionate; …I care deeply for my husband, wife or friend. It can also be used to explain our actions; …I care for my ailing mother, sister or aunt.

The immediate scripture that came to mind was Philippians 4:6; “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” KJV

I continued on to the next word, “Careful”. God does not want His people to make mistakes. However, should we allow hesitation to prevent us from moving when God say move? When we are careful we exhibit cautious, watchful or protective behavior. What are we protecting? God is always there for us. We serve a God that cannot fail or lie.

The next word was “Carelessness”. Can a sold out Christian display carelessness? Yes, we can! Carelessness is identified as having a lack of awareness that may cause unintentional and undesirable results. Perhaps, that is why there are so many people in the church that are hurting. They haven’t let go of their past mistakes; even though God has forgiven them. In Matthew 11:28 KJV the Word says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We no longer have to worry. We have Jesus!

Philippians 4: 4-11 KJV

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

You see, the night before, I went to bed feeling frustrated. I felt overworked, used and forgotten. Even when I woke up in the middle of the night, I continued to feel sorry for myself; and before drifting off to sleep again, I thought “Lord, I am your child. I am tired. Why, Lord?” Yes, I was having a good old fashioned pity party, with streamers and all.

How many of you know that God knows our every thought? Psalm 139:2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” God heard and knew it all. He let me return to sleep. However, He was waiting for me in the morning. He rebuked me with my own little mystery word; and had me search myself. The greater rebuke was in verse 8 of Philippians. Basically, He told me to get over myself. The Lord spoke to me that morning and reprimanded me for my selfishness.

God’s people should care! We need to be concerned about our brothers, sisters, neighbors and enemies too. We should be careful for nothing; when we are providing God’s service. God is not selfish with His love for us. Therefore, we have to cast our personal cares aside and just obey His Word and do His work. Caringfulnessless – – -God is Sovereign!

Psalm 34:1 “I will bless the Lord at all times.” Even when my flesh flares and make me think it is about me.

Brenda J. Moore lives in Connecticut; and she is the Youth Pastor at Ebenezer Holy Temple, Inc., in Hartford. She is also the founder of Faith, Joy & Peace Ministries. “I believe my purpose is to heal through teaching.” Brenda has a heart for the community and is currently developing social programs for families with special attention towards women and children.

The Best Advice I Have Ever Received

Note: In February LinkedIn has asked professionals to share the words of wisdom that made all the difference in their lives. This is my contribution to the #BestAdvice stories of posts.

I grew up in a mystical, magical, place that I lovely call the Georgia outback. As part of the first decade of transition from the segregated “Jim Crow” south to the integrated “New South” question abound sounding the capabilities of me and my fellow “Negro” students as we left the “separate but equal” all Black school to enter the integrated world at the previously all white school.  

Considerate to the concerns that many in our tight netted community the pastor of our church and the principal of our school held a joint meeting for encouragement, support and prayer.   The meeting was a combination of a church service and pep rally, with inspiring songs, brilliant prayers and rousing speeches.

Our principal Gerome Guy made one of those rousing speeches where he remained us of one simple thing and that was: “You Can”   Mr. Guy said told us that we had been prepared well by the teachers and staff of the Maggie Califf School. Over the years graduates of the school have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, businessmen and other highly regarded professions. Mr. Guy when on to say that reason why these students facing the impossible odds of being poor, growing up in a small segregated southern town were successful was because they knew they could and you can as well.

Then J. Hansel Lismore the pastor of the Saint Paul, African Methodist Episcopal Church got up to speak. In measured tones the pastor who had risen from poverty to become an officer in the Navy and had overcome blindness said, with all due respect to principal Guy he is correct that own your own “You Can” however, with God You Will.

He then reminded us of how with God, David defeated Goliath, he told us with God Moses parted the Red Sea and with God, Jesus was risen from the dead. Finally, Reverend Lismore said if God and do all of that just think of what He can do for you when you take Him with you to that school. – “You Will” if you take God with you!

Nearly 45 years later the advice “You Will if you take God with you” has proven to be the best  advice I have ever received. Taking God with me has been the difference in obtaining my education, raising a family and being successful in business.

In reading the #BestAdvice posts I have been truly amazed by the thoughtful, clever, and wonderful advice given. Many of these nuggets, I have treasured, will follow and will share with others. However, I challenge anyone to find better advice than I received from Reverend Lismore that day, “instead of you can, you will if you take God with you.”

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

P.S. What was the best advice you have been given? Drop me a line marben@marbenbland.com you notes to me are always confidential.

 

Mercy, Mercy, Me

Jesus teaches us the most important commandment; in this exchange in Luke 10: 25-28.

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

The teaching continues in verse 29 as “The religious law expert wanted to justify his actions. So he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Jesus responds with one of his most beloved parables, the story of the Good Samaritan Luke 10: 30-37

In the parable Jesus spoke of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers attacked him, took his possessions and clothes, beat him, and left him half dead.

A priest came down the road; saw the injured man, and passed by him on the other side. A Levite passing by did the same.

A Samaritan, from a race hated by the Jews, saw the hurt man and had compassion on him. He poured oil and wine on his wounds. He bound them up; then, put the man on his donkey. The Samaritan took him to an inn and cared for him.

The next morning, the Samaritan gave two denarii to the innkeeper for the man’s care and promised to repay him on his way back for any other expenses.

Jesus then asked the expert in religious law which of the three men had been a neighbor. The expert answered that the man who showed mercy was a neighbor.

Then, Jesus told him, “Now go out and do the same”.

In this parable Jesus is telling us that showing mercy to each other is the key to obeying the commandment of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

What is Mercy? 

Mercy is defined as “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; withholding of the punishment or judgment our sins deserve.”

Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:29 “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it”. Living Bible (TLB). And in our loving care for ourselves we show ourselves mercy. We withhold for ourselves the punishment and judgment that our sins deserve. In other words in showing mercy we are simply cutting ourselves a “break.”

Therefore, as we extend mercy to ourselves we must heed the commandment of Jesus and “go out and do the same” by extending mercy to others.

Extending Mercy Is Difficult

Without question extending mercy to others can be difficult; especially to those who have done us wrong or to people we have deemed does not deserve it. However, we are commanded by God to “go out and do the same” by extending mercy to others.

If you are like me and giving mercy is difficult; the Reverend Martin G. Collins in his sermon Mercy and Justice provides five excellent reasons for us to be merciful.

  1. Our sins are great.
  2. God abundantly forgives.
  3. The offenses committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small.
  4. We should abundantly forgive as our Master does.
  5. If we do not, God will be justly angry with us and punish us.

Living a Life of Mercy

Jesus calls us to live a life of extending mercy. Not for punitive reasons; but, to build a kingdom where love for ourselves, our neighbor and God is the way of life.  When we “Love your neighbor as yourself” as God has commanded; Jesus promises, that we will live!

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

Marben Bland is a born again Christian studying to become an ordained minister. The intent of these blogs is to spread the gospel in support of the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20