I just finished another lengthy conversation with a service provider regarding my cable, internet and phone services. The customer service supervisor for the nameless monopoly, stated that “we have to get this information to follow our policies and procedures.”
What about consumers’ policies and procedures that include providing reasonable service to accommodate my lifestyle? I would appreciate customer service to match the hype. I don’t need a service call scheduled a week from now for today’s challenge.
Then I harkened back to the crowded streets of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and Kowloon, Hong Kong. I witnessed customer service par excellence on the go.
Although highly dangerous, a particular driver loaded his motorcycle with multi-gallon containers of gasoline to deliver to farmers and others in the Vietnam countryside. Wow. Taking a chance of getting in an accident with hyped chances of combustion is the chance this man takes to satisfy his customers he said through a translator.
His customer service was high risk compared to the mobile vehicle whose salespeople peddled mobile telephones, and the nearby truck that marketed investments and bonds in downtown Kowloon.
My all-time favorite “pop up” and on-the-street entrepreneurs is the pedicure specialist who boasted she will “do your toes” on the streets of Ho Chi Minh (I missed my turn) and in front of a bakery, ATM and restaurant. My other favorite entrepreneur was the television repairman who worked in the open air in Kowloon who was nice enough to offer a large screen television viewing of programs while he repaired televisions. It was interesting to view his customers carrying large, flat screen televisions to his shop admist the bakeries, banks, restaurants and housing.
I loved the seeking of commerce, but even more, the collective support among the entrepreneurs who looked out for each other. It was usual practice to witness a nearby entrepreneur to help with getting change to buyers of services for monies exchanged. I especially found it heartening to watch as some merchants behaved as security guards for their neighbors. I likened them to neighborhood watch block captains.
It wasn’t just the services offered by these merchants. It was the manner in which they spoke to their customers. There is a way of doing business that includes verbal courtesies and sans the jealousy for a fellow entrepreneur.
As Westerners, we can adapt lessons learned from our global brethren. Shy of repairing my television on the street or receiving a pedicure, United States business owners, government employees, university educators, clergy and others can adopt true customer service improvements.