I truly believe that customer service people are some of the most passionate to be found in any organisation. Their commitment to customer satisfaction can go well beyond the four walls of the company, the hours of business or their job description.
I heard a story this week about a contact centre manager in Melbourne who went over and above the call of duty and found it so inspiring I thought I’d share it with you.
Peter (not his real name) leads a relatively small but dedicated team that has the stated aim of providing the absolute best customer experience. Since being at the helm he has taken a contact centre that was performing averagely to one that is consistently winning awards because of the practices he has implemented and the culture he has embedded.
Last Friday, the company suffered a complete outage. The main cable supplying their phones and computers had been cut by someone digging a hole in the street. The same individual had also severed the company’s redundant link. The contact centre was dead in the water.
Peter rushed to the company’s offsite data centre to personally change the phone system’s IVR and a “service disruption” page replaced the company’s usual home page. Eventually, late on Friday, service was restored.
Soon after that, a list was produced of every number that had called in that day but was unable to get through . The list totalled roughly 800 numbers.
Peter didn’t want to leave the callbacks until Monday and didn’t want his staff to have to work back late on Friday or to come in over the weekend.
So despite having plans, he went into the office on Saturday morning and started dialling. “Hi, my name is Peter. I’m from X. You called us yesterday and unfortunately because of a systems outage we couldn’t take your call. Is there anything I can help you with now?”
Not once did he identify himself as a manager.
He worked until late in the day on Saturday and then went back in again on Sunday and spent another 8 hours making calls.
For many customers of this company he turned what could have been a bad experience into a positive one. A lot of them couldn’t believe they were receiving a callback on a weekend.
What is it that drives someone like Peter to give up an entire weekend to provide an exceptional level of customer service when others would have let it go until Monday?
“Why do you do what you do? What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief?”
I watched an excellent video the other day from Simon Sinek titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. In it, he poses the questions: “Why do you do what you do? What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief?”
Peter gets out of bed every day because he genuinely cares about his organisation’s customers and knows that the level of service he is providing is making a difference.
Peter knows that the customer experience he’s offering is differentiating his company and the relationships he’s forging with their (his!) customers cannot be copied by competitors.
And he’s not alone. There are millions of customer service professionals around the world exactly like him.
Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
If you’ve never seen the Sinek video before, do yourself a favour. They’ll be the best 18 minutes you’ll spend this week. If you have, you’ll probably want to watch it again. Watch it here.
This post first appeared on the ICMI blog in February, 2022. I started my career in my early 20’s working
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