Don’t forget the Golden Rule … of customer service

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Most everyone has heard of the "Golden Rule", a famous quote in the New Testament of the Bible which states, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12). This quote is a great reminder of how we should treat others in every aspect of our lives and is especially true as we pursue a Culture of Excellence. One way we can do so is by treating our customers as we would have them treat us.
We can start by being positive in our response and not automatically saying "No". "No" is never an option in our customer service-based mission areas. Instead of "no", answer with a "yes" or an "I'll look into it to see what I can do." We appreciate hearing that from people we need service from, right? The same holds true for our customers. Again ... the Golden Rule.

When supporting others' needs, we need to exhibit a sense of urgency.
How do you feel when you ask a person to do something and they run it to ground immediately? On the other hand, how do you feel when you as a customer ask someone to do something and you feel like you are getting "the Heisman"; they do not take your request seriously and you feel like they are really saying "talk to the hand". By owning the request and positively, quickly responding to your customer, the customer feels like they've been treated with a sense of urgency. Apply a sense of urgency in your day-to-day dealings, from answering phone calls to meeting with customers to help solve their problems, issues, requirements and needs. You would like to be treated the same way, right? Again ... the Golden Rule.

When providing customer service, there are often second and third order effects. What do I mean? When determining a target in battle, to maximize the impact of the "kill", a planner looks to see if there will be follow-on effects on other areas. The same can be true for our impact on our customers. When we give good or bad customer service, it can have a secondary or tertiary effect. Poor service can result in additional work for either you or another action officer or the customer. Good customer service, on the other hand, enables both you and your customer to move on to the next issue or project, enabling progress. How do you feel when an incompetent response to your request causes you additional workload? Again ... the Golden Rule.

Finally, little things go a long way. The Golden Rule says "in everything", which applies to the largest and smallest of tasks in support of your customer. If you consistently apply the Golden Rule in your everyday dealings with your customers, you gain a positive reputation and people trust you. Because the little things add up, when you occasionally make a mistake, your customers are more apt to forgive you and be patient as you remedy the situation. Doing the little things consistently and with integrity truly does go a long way and enables you to have their trust with bigger things. Again...the Golden Rule in everything. 

So, think about the principle of the Golden Rule when serving your customer. Say "yes" or "let me figure something out". Own the problem and exhibit a sense of urgency. Recognize that customer service can have additional effects on the customer or even you! Practice the Golden Rule in all things big and small. Applying the Golden Rule will ensure you adhere to the Air Force core values of integrity, service and excellence to ensure continued mission success!