They call it customer service, but sometimes it isn’t.  Sometimes it is a department that calls themselves “Customer Service,” but sometimes they aren’t.  Sometimes it is a system – that sometimes doesn’t work.  Sometimes you try calling customer service and are placed into an automated system that makes you believe that you will eventually talk to a customer service representative.  What sometimes happens is that you get frustrated, hang up and start over, hoping again you will talk to a live person.  Then, just about the time you think you are getting connected, a recording comes on telling you how long your wait will be.  Sometimes it is 30 minutes, 40 minutes or even longer.


And, this is sometimes what companies call “customer service!”


Earlier this year I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Verizon Wireless in their call centers.  Their goal is to answer the phone within a surprisingly short period of time, and they usually do.  That strategy, along with a focus on “one call resolution” helps create loyal customers.  Why?  Because, they create a consistent positive experience (the key word is consistent), which creates confidence, that ultimately can lead to customer loyalty.


Unfortunately, I am finding the Verizon example to be the exception, rather than the norm, when it comes to the customer support some companies are delivering.  Too many companies and people think they are delivering customer service, but sometimes they aren’t.


So, how do we go from sometimes to all of the time?  The answer, in theory, is simple.


Customer service isn’t and shouldn’t be a department.  It is a philosophy, and every person in an organization should understand their role as it pertains to the customer – both an internal customer and the outside customer.


Disney is a great example of a company that puts this into practice.  All employees (a.k.a. cast members) are responsible for three things.  The first is to do the job they were hired to do.  The second is to take care of the guest.  The third is to help keep the park or property clean.  Notice that every cast member, no matter what they do, understands that part of their job is to take care of the guest.  So their customer service department is…  the entire company!


And, one more thought about Disney, which we can all learn from.  Not only is the customer service department the entire company, it practices excellent service all of the time.  Not sometimes!



Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email:  Web: For information on customer service training, go to

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