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  • Last modified 3154 days ago (April 1, 2010)

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Service with a smile

Many things we do involve customer service. Whether we’re on the receiving end or the giving end, it’s something that sets businesses and offices apart.

When someone asks us if we enjoyed a meal somewhere, we might remember the food if it was exceptional but we have a better memory when we don’t receive good service.

Good customer service may be the one thing that sets businesses apart in our smaller communities, particularly compared with businesses in cities.

We have all walked into stores where we have been cordially greeted and asked if we needed assistance. And we have walked into stores where we have been ignored and we have to look for someone to help us find a specific item.

Going the extra mile with a smile makes points with customers.

As an example of poor customer service, I have been trying to get a copy of a document from a small, out-of-county government agency. The first time I called, I was told the person who handles this particular item was not available but would call me back — she did not. When I called back, I was told she was out of the office for the week and I would have to call back. The person even asked me what I needed but did not offer to assist.

When the stars finally lined up and the right person was there when I called, she was rude.

Whatever happened to the attitude of helping a customer even if it is not your department?

How many times have you gone into a larger store and been given the runaround — passed from one clerk to another to get an answer?

Most of us older, customer-serviceoriented people were taught many years ago that the buck stops with us.

I remember working in the Marion County Register of Deeds office and then-registrar Faye Makovec telling me that we help anyone who walks through the door. If someone needed something from the registrar’s office, we would escort them to that office. If someone needed a copy, we would gladly make it for them in the clerk’s office, collecting the fee, and giving it to the clerk’s office. If someone called our office by mistake, we would make sure their question was answered or request fulfilled by the appropriate office.

I liked working with Faye because she and I believed in customer service. It came naturally. We didn’t have to do it but we wanted to because it was the right thing to do.

That was nearly 20 years ago and many things have changed.

I know there is still good, old-fashioned customer service in Marion County because customers keep coming back for more.

This one thing we can offer will be more important to customers than prices and selection.

— susan berg

Last modified April 1, 2010

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