'If It Don't Please the Customer, It Don't Count'
Whatever happened to quality customer service?
Two weeks ago, I wrote about being a pothole on the super information technology highway. I made note that change was taking place and that change was good. I got to thinking and reconsidered. Not all change is good. Especially in the area of today’s customer service.
In today’s environment I find that customer service by and large is in the doldrums. Why? For one thing, when I call customer service I don’t think I should have to press 1 for English. After I have established that I do speak and understand the king’s language, I don’t think I should have to communicate with a customer service robot via numerical entries on my land line or cell phone set key pad. I think that there should be an override feature that would take me straight to a real live living, breathing customer service representative.
I am an old dinosaur and I’ll admit it. I am not opposed to change as long as change is for the better although we mature adults don’t adapt to change as quickly as the younger generations. Keep in mind though; there are some things that should never change in my opinion. One of those things is being able to speak to a human being to resolve customer service issues either by telephone or face to face at a customer service desk.
How about if “it don’t please the customer, it don’t count?” No, this is not an original from me. It was a slogan made famous throughout what was then Southern Bell by the late Jasper Dorsey who was our vice president in Georgia. Mr. Dorsey was a stickler for excellence in customer service. I wish all those involved in customer service today could have come up under Mr. Dorsey. He was a class individual who was a great mentor. One whose legacy was that he left an indelible benchmark to measure one’s self by in this thing called the game of life. Mr. Dorsey was about God, family, country, duty, and honor. For all you Dawgs out there, he was the Big Dawg and he let you know in no uncertain terms that he was a graduate and supporter of UGA.
I honestly don’t know how Mr. Dorsey came up with the slogan of “if it don’t please the customer, it don’t count.” All I know is that in every operating entity in the State of Georgia where Southern Bell personnel reported, there was a reproduction of his slogan in navy blue lettering on a gold background framed in a frame that measured 18 X 24 which boldly stated that “If It Don’t Please The Customer, It Don’t Count.” Why blue lettering on a gold background. I have no earthly idea.
I do know that if you bisect Mr. Dorsey’s slogan it comes out as, “If It Do Not Please the Customer, It Do Not Count.” I also know that Mr. Dorsey had a keen sense of humor and perhaps the navy blue on gold had a significant meaning when it came to one of UGA’s annual rival’s on the football field. He dearly loved Dawg football. Although I did not personally witness the occasion, I was told that one of his young lieutenants at the time did question his use of the king’s language. It was said that Mr. Dorsey put his arm around the shoulders of his young lieutenant, squeezed until you could hear the bones cracking, looked him in the eye and said, “if it don’t please the customer, it don’t count.” It might have helped that young lieutenant was also a UGA grad.
Without naming names, the young lieutenant went on to climb the ladder in the corporate hierarchy of Southern Bell which became BellSouth after the breakup of AT&T. When I say hierarchy, he was in the top five on the ladder when he retired. After retirement, he became one of the top three in ACOG in putting together the 1996 Olympic games which were held in Atlanta and at venues throughout Georgia.
Young lieutenant became a mentor and benchmark in the mold of Mr. Dorsey and to this day, continues to be a benchmark for me. Reading his weekly syndicated column on Saturday mornings over my first cup of coffee is one of life’s treasures.
He and I are both appalled at what passes for corporate customer service today. What is wrong with customer service today? Absolutely nothing that letting customers talk to a human being instead of a robot wouldn’t correct. I get disgusted when it comes time to resolve budget issues that the first thing that comes to management’s minds is reducing personnel. I have always had a simple formula for personnel which is personnel equals barely enough minus one. Adherence to this formula will result in you not ever having to issue a pink slip during tough economic times. I guarantee it. Hire’em, train’em, keep’em. They are the best asset you have in the corporate world and service provisioning of local, state, and Federal government when it comes to maintaining standards of excellence in customer service. The way I see it, “If It Don’t Please the Customer, It Don’t Count.”