Customer service is a statement to people--you either matter or you don't. That realization hit me like a ton of bricks one day when I was out to lunch at La Carta De Oaxaca, here in Seattle. The server, a young woman, noticed my glass of water was about 75 percent full. She walked across the room to grab a water pitcher only to come back to fill my glass the rest of the way in order to reach 95 percent capacity.
It felt amazing and I thought, Why? Why did it feel so good? It made no sense. There was plenty of water already in my glass, and yet I still had this hugely emotional positive response to this very small action made by her.
All the positive and negative customer service interactions I've had in the past solidified the very reason why customer service matters so much. I've said many times that it makes no sense to pay the extra money to stay at a nicer hotel just to get better service because the service really doesn't matter. That extra money serves me better if it's in my pocket. I told myself that if someone is nice to me or isn't, it doesn't make that much of a difference. But, then, why do I get so upset when I receive bad service and such a strong positive emotion when I receive good service? I realize of course, it's the implied message and one that touches the deeper human part of every single one of us.
It falls in line with a similar question I once asked myself, and one that's received a lot of attention: Why would you want to pay someone less than $70,000 a year? Why not pay a living wage? If someone who works for you is going to be on the front line of having your clients' attention, they should be going into it, coming into work every day knowing that they, as your employee matter to you as much as you'd like them to convey a similar sentiment to your customers. What is that worth to your company? What's the economic benefit your company will derive by telling, or showing your clients that they matter?
There are plenty of business owners who've said, "Yes, of course, these people deserve a living wage, customer service is important enough where everyone should be receiving a living wage, but I just can't afford to pay that much." And if that's the case--understandable. But it's worth it to admit this much to those employees directly affected, since at the very least they'll know they matter to you, their boss, which will then trickle down to your clients.
In the end it's win-win, and the original message comes back in waves: Everyone matters.