Customer service: why you can learn from the classics

Customer service: why you can learn from the classics

Published on: May 13, 2020
Author: Pauline Ashenden - Demand Generation Manager

While customer service itself may be a relatively new discipline, successful service draws on many innate human traits, such as empathy, communication, learning and a desire for knowledge. To help inspire today’s customer service leaders we’ve collected key quotes from great thinkers and writers from across history, explaining how they can drive improvements across your organisation. We’ll publish these in a three-part series, with this week’s post focusing on wisdom from the classical world.


1. The unexamined life is not worth living, Socrates

Continually review everything you do, and how you do it, in order to improve your performance. [More about Socrates]


2. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is wasted, Aesop

Whatever you are faced with during your day, focus on being helpful and customer-centric, even if it feels unappreciated. [More about Aesop]


3. Men of sense often learn from their enemies. It is from their foes, not their friends, that cities learn the lesson of building high walls and ships of war, Aristophanes

To improve your performance, continually benchmark yourself against your competitors. Keep in mind that consumers don’t just differentiate between brands but have high expectations regardless of industry, so benchmark yourself against recognized customer experience leaders, whatever their sector, and see what lessons you can learn and put into practice within your own organisation. [More about Aristophanes]


4. Say not always what you know, but always know what you say, Claudius

Always be clear and accurate when providing information - check rather than giving answers that you are unsure of - this should be true for both the agents and the AI element that serve your customers and stakeholders. [More about Claudius]


5. If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much, Hesiod

Even the most minor improvements can make a huge difference to the customer experience - and continual, small improvements soon add up to major advances. [More about Hesiod]


6. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit, Aristotle

Excellence is a matter of continual and constant good practice. Don’t forget that customer service excellence leads to greater engagement and revenues, and according to The Institute of Customer Service, could even deliver £33 billion in productivity gains in the UK alone. [More about Aristotle]


7. If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it. Marcus Aurelius

Never be tempted to bend or break your internal rules - it will damage your brand and your standing with customers. [More about Marcus Aurelius]


8. Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge, Plato

Spend time to understand your customers and their motivations in order to deliver the service they expect. [More about Plato]


9. Even if you have nothing to write, write and say so,  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Keep customers updated on how their query is progressing - no-one likes to be left in the dark. Trust starts with the basics – responding quickly, accurately and consistently to queries so, if you can’t provide a full answer now, do ensure that you keep your customers informed of the current situation and next steps. [More about Marcus Tullius Cicero]


10. It is quality rather than quantity that matters, Seneca

Focus on satisfying your customers, rather than metrics based on the volumes of interactions completed. [More about Seneca]


11. Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated, Confucius

Customer service starts with getting the small things right - never forget this! [More about Confucius]


I hope these quotes strike a chord with you and prove useful - in future posts we’ll distil wisdom from historical figures and modern greats that can hopefully inspire you and your team.

Tags: Customer Service, quotes, Customer experience, contact centre, agents, Seneca, Aristotle, Socrates, Aesop, Confucius, Aristophanes, Plato, Claudius, Hesiod, Marcus Aurelius, Cicero
Categories: Best Practice

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