Serving Two Masters: the dichotomy of customer serviceby Bryan & Todd Neva
"My customer satisfaction rating is one of the highest in the nation, and my territory is one of the most profitable! So what's the problem?" I was dumbfounded why my regional manager wasn't happy with me. He handing me a letter of reprimand for going to bat for a customer.
A large hospital had just purchased an expensive imaging system that proved to be defective within a week of installation, and I had facilitated getting them a replacement system. I was just trying to do the right thing for the customer and save Philips from an embarrassing lawsuit under the state’s “lemon law.”
People often find themselves trapped between opposing agendas when providing customer service. I had been assigned a territory to provide on-site engineering services to hospitals and clinics. I provided great customer service through a combination of people skills, time, and resources. And I still managed to earn a healthy profit for Philips every year.
Doctors and administrators were happy when their imaging equipment was up and running, and they were even willing to pay for expensive service contracts to minimize downtime. In fact, over my eighteen year career, my territory had been split several times due to growth. And customers were buying more imaging equipment along with multi-year service agreements. I could hardly keep up with the workload and thought I secured a job for life. My wife and I had even taken out a second mortgage and built an addition to our home. And my sales colleague used to joke that our biggest customer paid for his expensive home in an exclusive neighborhood.
In the full quote by Jesus, he said, "You cannot serve both God and money." Jesus was talking about prioritization. Obviously, we should continue to use money. Jesus used money, but interestingly he gave the coin purse to the man who would betray him. That's what Jesus thought about money.
Fortunately, good service can be a win-win-win for companies, customers, and their service providers. We just need to get corporate executives to see past the next quarterly earnings report.