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Of Raw Chicken and Locked ATMs: Customer Service Defined

by soniaroody

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It’s probably happened to you at some point. Maybe that plate of fried chicken you ordered at your favorite diner came back raw. Or maybe you locked yourself out of the email address your internet service provider gave you. No matter how your diner or bank answered, whatever they did for you next was a reflection of how they respond to the needs of their customers. Whatever they did for you next was customer service. defines customer service as “the process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product or service.” It is more than just the act of ensuring the product or service itself turns out to be of the best quality. It is also ensuring that the customer comes back and spreads word to others, making customers out of them. Customer service is thus a vital component of any business, and a big part of the reason why so many of these businesses flourish while just as many fall behind.

The ways of giving and getting customer service are as numerous as there are ways of communication. Ideally you’d want to talk to someone in person, as in the diner example above. In this case, you’d most likely show the waitress the red insides of your chicken leg and demand to have it reheated. This is the most directed method of customer service and arguably the most effective. There’s nothing better than experiencing a customer’s emotions firsthand in order to better empathize with their situation.

But what if a face-to-face service is impossible? For the bank example, you’d want to dial your internet service provider’s hotline and ask to have your password reset immediately. What will likely happen is you will be routed to a call center, where a customer service representative will ask you some security questions to verify your identity and provide you a temporary password afterwards. While convenient, this is a less effective method of customer service due to the lack of visual connection and the limitations of a purely voice interaction.

There are many more methods of customer service. It’s not unfounded for a call center to do outbound calls in addition to inbound ones, or maybe to receive faxes and emails in lieu of any calls at all. The idea is accessibility; businesses want to show they’re easy to do business with to retain customers.

For more about customer service and what makes a good experience, visit Be considerate the next time you talk to that waitress or dial that call center. You may be angry at not getting satisfaction, but chances are they’d rather face your anger than lose your business.

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