Are You A Dog Or A Cat (when it comes to service)?

Bailey and Panda

In our professional lives we are all service providers in some way. You may have internal customers; these are co-workers or a group of employees in another department or division for example. Or, your customers may be external; those people who buy your products or services. If you don’t already, you should get to know them well because these are the people who pay your salary. You can’t get away from it – you are part of the value chain and everything you do ultimately impacts the external customer. For better or for worse…

Think about this: no matter what your job function is your job purpose is to contribute to a positive customer experience? If you don’t agree with this premise then ask yourself another question: if what you do doesn’t in some way add value to the customer experience why does your company pay you to do it? When your customer, whether internal or external, presents you with an opportunity to help do you welcome them and express eagerness to show the value you can add to their experience? Or, do you simply try to stay under the radar and avoid contact all together? This is what leads me to asking if you are a dog or a cat when it comes to service.

In my house we’ve had both a cat and a dog. One day I realized that when someone came to the front door our cat Panda would run away from the sound of the knock or doorbell. Our dog Bailey on the other hand would give out a soft woof and run to the door doing his patented “canine circle tap dance” wagging his tail in gleeful anticipation of seeing who would appear. All the time his eyes going from mine to the door as if to say, “Open it, open it! I can’t wait to see who I can greet and make feel welcome in my house.” What a contrast this was to poor Panda who shows panic in his eyes as he darts up the stairs or behind a couch. Panda briefly looks at me as if to say, “Follow me! If we’re really quiet and hide maybe whoever it is will go away.”

When the door opened Bailey always greeted our guests warmly and in his own way let them know how much he valued them and demonstrated his strong desire to please. Then there’s Panda who doesn’t reappear until well after our guest has left and is sure the coast is clear and that no more guests will intrude.

So in your job as a service provider are you a dog or a cat? When someone approaches you in your shop, cubicle, or job site do you panic and figuratively or maybe even literally, run for cover like Panda? Or like Bailey do you eagerly greet your customer and welcome the opportunity to value them and express your strong desire and commitment to help?


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