What exactly are we teaching people when it comes to customer service?

For many of us, we are training people in the things we learnt when we were five years old: kindness, care, and curiosity.

My five-year-old niece has these attributes down pat. She follows after her two-year-old sister sharing her fruit, holding her hand and making sure she feels safe and loved. If five-year-olds can behave this way, why can’t adults? And why don’t we see this enough with the human touch-points of service.

Well, as clever adults, we have been conditioned to apply logic to everything we do—rules, systems, process, and procedures. We have been struck with the curse of efficiency where, at times, we forget to be curious and fail to pay attention to the person in front of us.

Tim Leberecht, author of the Business Romantic and a member of the World Economic Forums Global Agenda Council says, ‘humans can create beautiful moments that robots never will,’ and that although humans are complicated and difficult to manage, we have the ability to do the unnecessary. And it’s the unnecessary in business that is necessary.

He believes that the romance of business has been lost, and it’s the humans in business—consumer or producer, employee or entrepreneur—who can do things like catch us off guard, create something from nothing, and add completely unnecessary steps into an interaction that he defines as beautiful.

It’s time for us to tune in to our emotions in the workplace and create more ‘beautiful’ among the automated ‘expected’. What an opportunity we all have with this human gift: the ability to read emotions. Speed of service is easy to measure and manage but it doesn’t tell you accurately how well customers are being treated and, more importantly, how they feel.

We are over thinking our approach to service, which consequentially sees us losing the very qualities that make us human. Strip it back, and remember what you learned when you were five years old.

Jaquie Scammell

‘Love Being in Service’

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