Bob Tamasy: What’s With Customer Service?

Monday, May 13, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

In the classic film, “Miracle on 34th Street,” there’s a scene when Kris Kringle, Macy’s Department Store’s designated Santa Claus, tells a parent unable to find a gift for her child to go to Gimbels Department Store instead. That’s a picture of what customer service is all about – even if it means sending a customer to a competitor.

I’ve been wondering what’s happened to this whole notion of customer service. At one time, too many salesmen in stores became pests, hovering nearby as you examined their merchandise at your leisure. Today, however, finding any sales associate is tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Often we even have to trudge across a store to make a purchase.

Several weeks ago I bought a new, expensive light bulb to replace one that had burned out in the range hood above our stove. Last week the replacement bulb burned out. So I went back to the name brand, big-box hardware store and exchanged it for another. The packaging for each of the new bulbs that matched mine was torn apart, so I purchased a different bulb a store associate stated would do the trick.

When I got home, however, I opened the intact packaging only to discover the new bulb was cracked in three places. So I returned to Name-Brand Hardware Store again, bought a bulb that seemed sound – no cracks – and brought it home. But this one didn’t work either. (Hint: When you pick up a bulb and you hear something that sounds like broken glass inside, it probably is.

Lastly, for the second time in one week, the national newspaper I subscribe to – which is delivered every morning with the local daily paper – didn’t arrive. I called the newspaper’s circulation department, received the obligatory “I apologize” and “I’m sorry,” and was assured the periodical would be delivered by 3 p.m. As I write, it’s 4:30 – and still no national newspaper!

We often read about the woes of the retail industry, citing declining sales and often decrying purchases made online rather than in stores. Is that any surprise, when retail institutions have cut service to the bone until it bleeds and we receive as much personalized attention on the Internet?

Years ago, entrepreneurs like J.C. Penney and Sam Walton built their businesses on genuine interest and concern for their customers, who felt valued and received help when needed. Penney and Walton were men of faith, undoubtedly motivated by biblical passages like “do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12) and “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Modern-day business, loosed from the moorings of a Judeo-Christian worldview, prefers a short-term, profit-centered approach. Customers are treated like cattle rather than valued assets that help the businesses to survive.

God actually set the best example. He took a “customer service” attitude when He sought to reconcile rebellious humankind to Himself. In Romans 5:8 we’re told, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And Jesus declared in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Wow! If that’s not the ultimate in customer service, what is?

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.)



"Loving, Accepting, And Forgiving Will Work" Series Continues Sunday At Middle Valley COG

Middle Valley Church of God announces that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic,"There Are Those Who Are Tough To Love"  in the 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday.  This is part of a new sermon series titled 'Loving, Accepting, And Forgiving Will Work.'  This series of sermons will focus on the need of all Christians to examine relationships and discover ways in ... (click for more)

Joint Ash Wednesday Service

Washington Hills United Methodist Church will host this year's joint Ash Wednesday service with Rev. Dr. Elston McLain preaching and his Stanley Memorial choir providing the music.     There will be a light repast following the service.  The service begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at 6216 Hadley Dr.   All are invited and welcome. (click for more)

Female, 18, Shot On South Seminole Early Saturday Morning

An 18-year-old female was shot in the leg on South Seminole early Saturday morning. Chattanooga Police responded to the 200 block of South Seminole of the report of a shooting. There police located one victim suffering from a single, non-life threatening gunshot wound. T he victim,  Cierra L Kirksey, was inside her home when the shooting occurred. The suspect ... (click for more)

City Councilman Chris Anderson Gearing Up For Election A Year Away

City Councilman Chris Anderson is already gearing up for the next city election, though it is over a year away. In the financial disclosures due Feb. 1, he reported receiving $24,165 for the reporting period from July 16, 2015 to Jan. 16. He spent $4,887 during that period. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem took in $11,110 during the period. Councilman Russell Gilbert reported ... (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee"

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Chatt2.org’ Needs You Now

A diverse yet powerful panel of community leaders in Nashville delivered a letter to the Metro Nashville Board of Education last week. It was signed by some top men and women who represent a wide-ranking cross section of Tennessee’s largest city and includes education, business, religious and diversity superstars. You need to understand the urgency behind the letter. Davidson County ... (click for more)