In Service

This weekend in my weekly business newsletter I reminded my subscribers that as much as the money, status, client list or write-ups matter, what really matters is whether or not we’re serving people.  To be clear, to serve someone means to render assistance; be of use; help.  There are tons of ways you can do this from a business perspective, and countless ways you can do this from a human perspective.  It’s important that our ultimate goal as businesses is to serve others, and as people as well.  Sometimes our hard work is thankless, or not appreciated for what it is, but there’s always a sense of pride at a good job done.

Unfortunately it seems that we forget that we’re supposed to be helping people, even as much as the phrase “service industry” has penetrated the business world.  What a difference would it make in our companies, and for our bottom lines, if we made it a regular practice to ask ourselves “how can I help someone today?”?  Here are a few ways you can help people.  Most are really simple and can make a big difference.

1-update your website.  This may not sound like something that will help you serve someone, but the sooner someone can get answers, the quicker they’ll know if you can meet their needs.  If your website doesn’t give visitors all the facts plus some details you can be missing out on a sale, and more importantly on helping someone.

2-help someone, even if it’s not part of your job description.  Sometimes the simplest of things, like wiping off tables, grabbing drinks, making copies, giving directions or answering the phone can really mean a lot to someone, and can be really easy for you to take care of.  Of course there are bigger things like helping an elderly individual to their car, helping accommodate menu changes for dietary needs, or picking up the slack in a meeting when a coworker is struggling.

3-be honest.  Sometimes the best way you can help someone is to be completely honest that you don’t offer something, can’t help them with something, or that they would be better off working with someone else.  It’s about knowing your abilities and limitations, and being able to correctly analyze the potential client for a possible personal or professional conflict, and knowing when to walk away or even when to offer more.

What things does your business offer that makes you stand out to your customers as a business that serves?  Share your stories in the comments.

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