Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Customer Service Matters

Oh my family of five, how you cause me such pain! Before you start to wonder why I would call out my loved ones, keep in mind that it is the number I struggle with, not the individuals themselves. Is that better? No? Allow me to explain.

Much of this world seems created for a family of four. Tableware and silverware are sold in sets of four. Vacation packages are sold in groups of four. My scooter can hold….oh wait, never mind.

Anyone with a third child has learned how irritating booking a hotel room can be. Jennifer and I learned this again as we looked to book a room for our recent trip to the Creation Museum. The room rate for four people was decent. The room rate for five people was not as nice. A phone call to the hotel caused more frustration.

They told me the extra charge was for the extra person.
~But the extra person is really small and hardly takes up any room.
Sorry, that’s policy.
~But she’ll probably sleep in my bed?!?
A few transfers later, I found my blood pressure rising and my patience wearing thin. I asked the assistant manager why my rate would change when the space I would need was still the same. But unlike the other answers I was given, this lady understood common sense. She assured me there was no problem booking a family of five. She also explained the confusion with numbers had to do with people booking for extra adults.

Ah, finally! Thank you! The room booked at the rate I wanted, I hung up. I realized the number one issue with customer service is making sure that everyone from the CEO to the janitor is able to give the same answer. Did this hotel finally get their customer served in a satisfactory way? Yes, but not everyone would have stayed on the phone and explained the dilemma to four different people. Not everyone would deal with the frustration in attempting to explain logic.

The same goes for us in our church. People come to us with needs. The greatest of those needs is truth.

From how we treat guests at our services to how we answer skeptics when they question, answers matter. Ask any customer who has recently had an unresolved issue with a company. But let’s ask God about this as well.

In this age where every answer, no matter how ridiculous, is given equal merit, one might wonder what difference an answer really makes. After all, we don’t want to offend anyone, do we?

Actually, I do.

It seems that whenever Jesus identified Himself, people got offended. Just read the Gospels and count how many times it says people plotted for ways to kill him. Jesus used black and white descriptions for Himself. He is the way. He is the truth. He is the life. He is the gate. Jesus made it clear He is the only way. Choose another road and you won’t make it.

When is the last time you told someone they couldn't go a particular path or do something in their own way? It doesn't usually go very well. As Christians, we can err on both sides. We can sugarcoat the truth, leaving God to disappoint. Or we can hold the doors closed, leaving God to reveal how much more He loved than we did. Either way, when we avoid the truth, customer service suffers.

We’re told in the Bible to ‘always be prepared to give an answer’ (1 Peter 3:15-16). But we’re never told to make up an answer. Let’s make sure that our answers line up with the answers our Boss would give.

The Truth matters. Customer service matters.

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