While not an adherent to astrology, I am a true Cancer in that my work history is riddled with lateral moves. I’ve been a paper boy, a janitor, a paint factory worker, a waiter, a bar manager, a bicycle mechanic, a track and field coach, a personal trainer, a librarian and now a program coordinator for the city of Sherwood, Oregon.
We know that the answer is often somewhere in between, but the fun of this section is that you have to pick just one!
Paper < Plastic
Personalization < Privacy
In-Store Shopping > Online Shopping
Transactional < Relational
Mac < PC
Customer Service < Customer Experience
Captain Kirk > Dr. Spock
Talk > Text
Dog > Cat
Movie Theater > In-Home Rental
What was your first job and what did you learn about customer service in it?
My first job was as a paper boy, slinging the scoop to up to 100 doorsteps a day. This was back in the day when kids actually delivered the papers on the saddles of their bikes.
What I learned from this job is that meeting the customers’ expectations is the highest form of customer service. The expectations my customers desired was for the paper to be on time, dry and easy to locate (rather than late, soggy and in the bushes). Perhaps, I got off easy when there was a mistake because I was only a 10-year-old scamp. Or maybe my few foibles were forgiven due to otherwise impeccable service. Either way when I met expectations, I got better tips. Everybody wins.
Tell us how one outside influence impacted your customer service or customer experience thinking. (For ex. book, movie, sporting event, relationship, travel)
My customer service thinking is influenced, in a strange way, by kung fu fighting. I learned a little kung fu a couple of years ago and I gathered that your opponent is only as strong as their balance. If your opponent is off balance they lose all of their power. Which sounds bad but keep reading.
In my position in the city, I am often the outlet for a disgruntled citizen’s unbridled rage that might have been built up over many years. They may forget that I am only a person on the phone offering to help them and instead confuse me with everything that is wrong with the government and how we are all out to get him. Which I get.
When someone comes at me hard, I yield and ask for more. They keep coming, and I keep yielding. I think they are expecting a similar degree of force, but rather than meeting them with resistance I side-step just enough to throw them out of balance. I patiently wait for them to run out of steam. Once they get it out of their system, we can start some constructive dialogue to solve their problem.
In your own personal experience, has customer service gotten better or worse in the past five years?
In my personal experience, I feel that digital customer service is getting better for people who are busy and don’t want to wait on the phone. Emailing and instant messaging with a customer service representative has been good to me over the past few years.
Contrarily, making a phone call to an agency and navigating the options and enduring the wait times has become my last resort for assistance.
> I consider it a bad customer experience when I am placed on hold for more than 3 minutes.
> In five years, the most important social media channel for customer service will be, let me know so I can invest today!
> The best book I read in the last twelve months was The Passage by Justin Cronin.
To connect with David Janusz further, visit him at sherwoodoregon.gov.
Photo credit courtesy of David Janusz.
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.