It’s NOT about Customer Service it’s about “Customer Servantship”.

We hear all the time “Its all about customer service!” What does that mean?

So here are my thoughts!

  • I asked,  “What is customer service?” of a number of folks and guess what? They all said something different.
  • We also had lots of conversation about who is a customer! Well the news is everybody is your customer!
  • It seemed they were all talking about outcomes and worse were quoting from company scripts!
  • Customer Service has become an  “Industry” and includes anything from big job titles to huge departments in organizations.
  • Yes! they have whole departments for this stuff. What happened to “Get it right first time? “
  • The people you speak to work off scripts and often have no authority to go outside set boundaries and then start espousing company rules. That’s Blah!
  • It’s not about “customer service recovery”. That’s too late!
  • It’s not about gimmicky slogans like “Customer is King” or “Customer First” or “Make sure your customer has a great day” – overused and who are these signs to remind? – You got it! Just words that flow unconsciously and easily out of too many sales assistants and now passé’.
  • So it’s not about “clever words” or processes.

This is what it’s about!

  • Breathe into the hearts and minds the philosophy of “serving”.
  • Use the qualities of servant leadership.
  • In order to be a “customer” servant leader, you need the following qualities: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, growth and building a community. (*)
  • Acquiring these qualities tend to give a person authority versus power. Now that’s what I am talking about!  How would you FEEL if you had that kind of attention given to you…GOOSEBUMPS.


  • The difference is simple: The customers’ highest priority needs are being served, and they are given the “whole experience”
  • A great test is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?


  • This it seems is the ultimate! The likelihood of your customers recommending your business to everyone they know! That’s the community!



  • So its about the human touch and soul and mind coming together.


  • None of us need “gimmicks” to help us serve our loved ones, so put this into place with your customers and note the difference.
  • It is about putting the “servantship” of customers above all else and thinking of the customer all the time and they are first.
  • It’s a total mindset and philosophy about “serving” not giving service and there is a huge difference in this.

(*)(From the teachings of Robert K. Greenleaf)

The foundational concepts are found in Greenleaf’s first three major essays, The Servant as Leader, The Institution as Servant, and Trustees as Servants.


About HRMexplorer

Managing Director - Human Capital Europe and USA - My ability is to recognize ingrained assumptions and patterns of operation that aren’t productive, and offer practical, cost-effective and value-based solutions.

Posted on August 29, 2010, in HRMexplorer Blogs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. This is my kind of customer service. I work at a college bookstore where I sell a product that no one wants to buy. . . textbooks. I try to make it as positive an experience as possible. I’m honest with people about the possibility of buyback value (always a crapshoot), and the fact that textbooks are getting more and more expensive. They can go to Amazon and get them for a quarter the price, but they don’t get the service we provide. If they get the wrong book from us, we will fix it. I’ve gotten a lot of comments from faculty, staff, and students that the bookstore has changed for the better since I took over textbooks. It’s always been my gift to serve others with kindness, respect, and a sense of humor. I truly care about the students who shop in our store on limited budgets, and I do everything I can to make the experience more pleasant. Recently, a couple of French students came in who are on a tennis scholarship. Unfortunately, the scholarship does not cover books. They were upset and worried about how they were going pay for these books they need. I went through their schedules with them, and decided on the books they had to have right away. Then I conferred with my manager, and we contacted their coach. Come to find out, there are funds set aside through the college for these situations. The boys got their books, and I felt like I really made a difference, and showed them that the bookstore is not a place to be feared. It’s not just a job for me, it’s the way I think. I live to serve, and I do whatever I can to help people. Unfortunately, serving customers seems to be a dying art. I believe as H.R. professonials, (which I hope to be soon), we need to reinstitute it through better training, and choosing the people we hire with great care and an eye toward their customer-service aptitudes. It has to be a priority.

  2. Great points again, Peter. Thank you for sharing your perspective, and helping us put these thoughts into words.

  3. When you have no interest in your work then the people you serve are of no interest .
    One of the girls at my work said just this last week ” I don’t care I am just here to pay for my next years holiday”.
    Maybe the employers are at fault here for not asking enough at interview stage in what makes this person tick and what if any other interests they have apart from them selves .
    If they have no other interests then how can they be motivated in their work or have a mind set.
    When someone like the girl at work doesn’t care it reflects on every one else and it shows and people complain about it.
    I care about my patients and help where i can , i am after all a public servant ,when i hear that “i don’t care ” etc i think , WHY ARE YOU HERE

  4. HI! How did I only just now find this blog! Love this post! Thank you! (PS – love the title – I am a fanatic about coffee and community – working on a post now about exactly that). Thank you for sharing your insights with the world!

  5. Thank You for your kind words…Peter

  1. Pingback: Beste Klant - Elisabeth Smulders

  2. Pingback: Servant Leadership Observer - September 2010

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