Essentials of Customer Service, That Most Companies are Failing At

This is Gavin Seim. And I am fed up with companies who do not understand the most basic tenets of customer service! So I’m going to try and counter it. A few companies get it. But sadly, most don’t. Service reps always say that on a personal level they “understand” But policy says, etc. What they don’t understand is that the personal level is ALL that matters. Is the customer walking away happy?

After getting off the phone with my bank recently and having not experienced real service, I researched and emailed the top dozen of so key executives of US Bankcorp. You see they have forgotten about what service really is – So this is what I explained to them.

“Service is not something computers do for you. It’s not something from a book. It’s not a line in a policy manual. It’s not an excuse – Service means YOU raise a finger, a hand and sometimes even an arm, or perhaps a leg. You do the footwork, you look into the problem and you do your level best to find a way to make the customer happy. That’s service.”

As owner of Seim Studios and Seim Effects Photo Tools, I’m proud to say that we offer real service. Every time a company blows me off, I’m reminded how much I hate bad service and why I WILL NOT do that to my customers. I may be small and have limited resources. I may not be not perfect. But we get things done. Whether it’s one of my software products, a portrait, an art print. If we sell it, we back it up. That’s why returns here are nearly non-existent.

After the recent bout with my bank I went to the Seim Effects Facebook page and posted about this. I also posted my cell phone number saying if anyone EVER has a problem they could call me directly. Interestingly enough that post got more interaction than I’ve seen on Facebook pages in a long time.

On a side note. The emails got thru. I did not hear back from the CEO (though I have had phone calls direct from CEO’s in the past after going straight to the top). I did however hear back from a USB Regional manger and my problem was resolved. This brings about the theory that if a company is giving you terrible service, don’t waste time with the chain of command. Go straight to the top. Because CEO’s don’t want to be hearing from you and it tends to get things done FAST.

I plan to write a bit more about service soon and look at ways we can leverage quality service to stand out in business. Until next time… Gavin

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  1. Absolutely go to the top. And write a coherent and clear message. I’ve been doing this for years and many times, it will get positive results. Thats balanced by the fact that I should not have to be writting the letter in the first place. I just had a buyer of my book write and complain about the fact it was not for sale in his country. I responded right away, told him I would find out why not. I wrote back later explaining I had missed a check box and that it was my fault but it would be fixed within the hour. He wrote back surprised that the response was speedy and to the point. In my small world, that is what customer service is.. listening to the customer and being honest with them.

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim

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