Deadlines and Customer Service

My to-do list today states that I need to post a blog. However, as I am planning on taking a vacation in a few weeks, I find myself wanting to postpone blogging and focus on finalizing a lot of projects that have been on my desk for weeks, and sometimes months. Even though they are not time-sensitive, there is something about having everything taken care of before you take time off.

I find myself working longer hours and hauling work home on evenings and weekends just to get everything completed. I want to experience that sense of freedom when I leave for some well-deserved time off. When I return I know my desk, inbox and voice mail will be full of new projects, questions and concerns that will need to be addressed. Not having to worry about the “old pile of projects” will be a welcome relief.

I wonder why it takes a deadline, such as time off, to prod me into tying knots in things that I’ve allowed to languish for months. This deadline work frenzy also rolls into my home life. If I know we’re hosting a dinner party, you can bet that I’ll be focused on paint touch-up, cleaning, lawn edging, weed pulling and organizing things that I haven’t noticed in the last 6 months.

Deadlines are an interesting thing. Some people take them to heart and make sure they do their part and submit the final results by that date. Others think it’s just a “suggested” date for completion – a date someone pulled out of thin air. 

It’s these deadline slackers that cause me great aggravation and I doubt I’m not in that boat alone. Our business runs on deadlines – proof dates, run dates, mail dates. And, a missed date means a disappointed client. There is nothing we hate more than to disappoint a customer.

It’s about customer service. A company either does it remarkably well or remarkably bad. I feel that we offer remarkable customer service and because it has always been our focus, it has become second nature. This makes us very difficult customers because we expect to receive that same type of service from others. It’s not just about meeting a deadline, it’s about a lot of other things also.

When I spend money at your establishment, I feel the least you can do is smile and say, “thank you”. Instead, most times, I find myself taking my change and saying “thank you” to the clerk who just waited on me.  And, the smile part – they don’t happen very often. Sometimes, they are even talking on their cell phones while taking care of my transaction. Customer service? I don’t think so.

We seem to be a culture drifting toward “acceptance of the inferior”. Many of our material possessions wear out long before they should, but we shrug and just go shopping for more! We have come to accept that poor customer service is “just the way it is” and we keep returning to those stores for more of the same. Good manners seem to have become a thing of the past, as people no longer feel the need to RSVP to your invitations – they just show up if they don’t have anything better to do that day.

I probably sound like an “old fogey” – and that’s because I am! However, I don’t believe that customer service, teamwork and etiquette are reserved for the elderly segment of our society. I don’t believe that good manners and treating others with respect should ever go out of style. I still believe that you should treat others as you wish them to treat you and that others should be able to take you at your word.

So, before I leave for some time off, I’m going to make sure my commitments are kept, my workload is complete and that I leave with a free spirit and, of course, a big smile and thank you to the staff that makes it all possible!

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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