I am sure, like myself, you are experiencing a decline in customer service st andards. Promises made to “get back to you” never materialise, having to listen to a digital message that asks you to press a certain number to activate specific assistance, non-functional websites, information that has not been updated on the system, bad attitudes, rude an ill mannered staff, and I can go on and on.

As I have travelled the globe consulting with various clients and witnessing how much resource in terms of time, money and people is spent annually on customer service training, reinforced with posters and customer service reminders on the walls of the offices and on their intranets, i.e. “The customer comes first”, “The customer is King”, “The customer is always right”, etc, etc. What a bunch of baloney! Customer service st andards are steadily declining – Why?
I have had to do some serious thinking about this whole “customer service thing”. Why is it when so much is being poured into the “customer service” credo that so little is coming out in terms of delivery?

For example, I have recently had my travel agent book my wife and I into an upmarket hotel br and in Dubai. I have generally found the st andard of customer service in Dubai to be a little better than most places, but even Dubai is declining in its’ customer service delivery, in my opinion. The hotel told our travel agent that they would not be able to arrange for a pick up at the airport as all their drivers were busy on that day – The Dubai Air Show will be taking place.
Now, if the customer is “King” or “always right” or “comes first”, then surely the hotel should organise a taxi or some transport company to assist?

Anyway, here goes my take on the reasons for the decline in customer service. The information era, brought about primarily by the advent of the internet, has moved us away from a supplier dominated economy to that of a customer driven economy. The customer now dictates market trends, etc. This has brought with it a culture of individualism. Because customers have been proliferated with choices the drive from business has been to try and outdo their competition by coming up with new and better choices. Ironically this calls for innovation and a different way of thinking, however, our education systems continue in their pursuit of linear “industrial aged” thinking. We continue churning out “robots” – Zombies who will act on comm and.

Because investors push for greater returns on their investments we have become a number driven society. CEO’s are constantly being harassed on producing the bottom line. This is then transferred to the next line of management and the next and so on. Most of these managers are so afraid that if they do not produce the numbers they will be replaced, and they have reason to be, because they are. The person who can fire you is the customer! When the boss says, ‘ jump’ and the customer says ‘help’ people are too busy “jumping” to help. All these people are chasing after success, but having no idea what success really is, driven by the fear,” that if I don’t succeed I’m a goner”.

This, in my opinion, has created a “ME” culture, a ‘dog eat dog culture’, a culture of, ‘disconnection and separation’. People communicate via the emails, social networks, SMS’s, chat rooms, etc. There is no “heart and soul” in the offices. We are so busy being busy – pushing the numbers, but bypassing the “heart”.

Dr. Robert Holden, in his book Success Intelligence writes, when we are mindlessly busy, we become like walking shadows with an empty centre and no real point. The essence of who we are is lost.

He goes on by saying, “on the surface it looks as if the hyperactive world of work is asking us to ‘do more’, but really it is asking us to think more, imagine more, innovate more, and partner more. In the modern world of work there is no way we can do everything so we have to be less hyperactive and more strategic.”

I could not agree with him more. He is suggesting that we need to work together more, synergise, more, partner more, collaborate more, etc. The challenge, however, is that because we are so “ME” focused we have lost the ability to synergise more, partner more, collaborate more, etc. We are so busy being busy – mindlessly pushing production, chasing the numbers, and jumping for the person who can fire us that the last person we can and do think of is the customer – Think about that?

Dave Boreham is an international and professional coach, marketer, speaker, trainer, author, entrepreneur, family man and a citizen of humanity who draws together capacities, talents and dreams and drives them into a unified force for change and growth in people and organisations. He is dedicated to developing extraordinary people and organisations. Is author of the book, “Have Do Be Anything You Want.” He can be contacted on +27-31-7621340 or at dave@mcatraininginternational.com .