11.12.2010

Behind the Scenes: Recipe for Customer Service


I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

- Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu

Running a business is about creating relationships. One of the things I uncovered for myself is that there is a tremendous difference between making a customer happy and using my creativity to serve humanity.

An accepted belief in many circles is that it is impossible to make another person happy. True happiness comes from within and is the result of how we choose to perceive a passing moment. I love this concept, but honestly, I struggle to put it into practice nearly every day because I'm still trying to let go of the nagging idea that what I do has the power to change another person.

Through observing my internal struggle, over time I came to realize that my business isn't about making people happy, but rather it's about serving humanity. Within my paradigm of using my creativity to serve humanity, all shades of unhappy to happy co-exist and are perfectly valid experiences.

For example, if I send a Hint Jewelry charm to a customer, and it is not the size that I promised or it is damaged in some way, perhaps this friend is unhappy because they didn't receive what they were hoping for. Whether the customer is happy or unhappy isn't so much the endpoint of the experience, but rather the beginning of a relationship.

Through the giving and receiving of money and goods, we create the starting point for relating to the deepest parts of ourselves. As a business owner, how I choose to act when resolving a problem is how I serve humanity.

For instance, maybe the solutions I provide don't sit well with my customer. That's okay because by opening a dialogue I create opportunities to learn about myself and others -- my tolerance, my resistance, my compassion, and my own wanting. Serving humanity isn't about dishing out delicious plates happiness but rather it's about providing space for personal growth and discovery -- the good and the bad.

If someone is unhappy with your product or critical of your work, then you've just given them the gift of exploring a hidden part of themselves. By returning your product, they've learned that they may like another style better or perhaps they've realized that this particular material object isn't going to fulfill them and make them happy but hanging out with their family does. A "negative" experience always has a positive outcome because there is learning to be found.

As a business owner you may work tirelessly to avoid negative experiences or worry yourself silly if people are truly happy with your art, but this desire to avoid what might bring you discomfort is actually holding you back from learning about yourself and others.

So embrace it all. Don't hold yourself back from the unhappy customer experience. Try to see it as an opportunity to create an opening of heart space for yourself and another. For remember, there are no real returns only continual investments in your life and the lives of others.

Beth's Recipe for Customer Service

1. Simplicity
Keep my thoughts about a negative customer experience simple and use curiosity to learn more about this new friend and situation.

2. Patience
Use empathy to connect with a customer's disappointment.

3. Compassion
Give myself a hug for being perfectly imperfect and be willing to connect with my own shortcomings so as to grow as a human being.

8 comments:

  1. Oh, Miss Beth. You need to write a book like this... Zen and the Art of Customer Service. You are so right. We are not here merely "dishing out delicious plates or happiness". It feels great to know that you are appreciated but not if it is not genuine. I want people to feel good about their purchases and I love that you call your customers friends. That puts the relationship in a whole new perspective. So true that the negative holds a kernel of truth that you can learn from to make the experience richer for all.
    Thank you for this timely and wise post. You always, always make me stop and think.
    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good advice and insight,Beth..This shows a great business side of u as well as personal- cuz I am sure they intertwine.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just want to say "THANK YOU!! " for this post.
    I needed to hear this and found it at just the right time : )

    Have a great day!

    Hillary

    ReplyDelete
  4. This really works (until you meet someone who is completely off their rocker and defies any attempt to make it right then stalks you everywhere you go online.) to help you understand others and see every negative opportunity as a learning experience.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Erin, thank you so much for connecting with this idea, and I love your book idea!

    Chris, you've hit the nail on the head -- personal and business are one and it took me quite a while to figure it out!

    Hillary, I'm so glad this message was what you needed to hear right now! Thanks for visiting :()

    Pretty thing and Miss Fickle, good to see you both and to hear you weigh in on this concept. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. a really beautiful post, beth... thought-filled... your journey is taking you beautiful places... so how excited are you about harry?

    ReplyDelete
  7. thanks Mary Jane! Glad this post resonnated with you. I'm absurdly excited about Harry but keeping it under wraps :)

    ReplyDelete

I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)