My first job out of high school was working the family business. My first job out of high school that wasn’t the family business was for a big box membership hardware store, that left 2 product SKUs in my brain to live, rent free, since 1986.
My first job AFTER high school and AFTER my 2nd job was my third job. And that was when I started the career that would change my life; working in restaurants. During this time, I learned skills from some truly brilliant managers, that helped me to succeed in every job, every role, every where I’ve gone since. It was restaurants where I started training, started working point of sale and even started developing my IT and support skills.
And It all started with 1 sentence.
If you’re not serving the customer, you’d better be serving someone who is.
While you may not be serving the actual customer that is giving the company money, you are helping the person that is helping the customer, which in turns makes that person your customer.
This is the basis for everything that I have done for my entire life. I have built processes on it that have turned into my interpretation of Trusted Advisor. This is how I provide support. It helps with training. It helps with everything!
I learned this from working in restaurant kitchens. As a line cook, it was my job to make sure the highest quality food got out to the guests in an appropriate amount of time. No matter what. This included bailing out servers that dropped plates in the server hutch on their way to the tables. No questions asked, just fix it and move on.
In this case, the server was my customer. And by ensuring the highest level of service to my customers, I could help to provide the highest level of service to all customers. And it showed. Every restaurant that I ever worked at always had the highest customer service scores. Not when I arrived, but after a quarter, sometimes 2, the scores always went up.
When this gets into your head, the trick is when you realize that a “customer” isn’t always “buying” something. You might be tasked with supporting a group of IT pros, that have their own set of users. On a personal level, you might have a friend who is helping one of their family members.
The customer can be anyone. The customer is everyone. And they always have their own customers. Providing the best level of service you can to your customers helps them in doing the same for theirs.
I mentioned trusted advisor before. If you can combine this thinking with trusted advisor methods, I guarantee you will be unstoppable in your customer service efforts.
You can read the original post that inspired this episode here: about customer service