The logo from 1987 to 2006. "Evolution of...

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The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.

Kodak is gone.  The once mighty company that produces photographic films has filed for bankruptcy.  Kodak moments will now be a thing of the past as the world embraces the emergence of digital technology to capture cherished memories.

Yes, technology continues to evolve in dramatic ways.  Established companies like Kodak may disappear, new products like digital cameras emerge, and competition in the world of business is more ferocious and ruthless.

However, as technology evolves, so does the service business.  Most new jobs today are generated by services.  And contrary to what is popularly perceived, service positions are well-paid and require highly specialized skills.  The health care industry, for instance, demands significant training, and its employees are well-compensated.

Unfortunately, a number of health care professionals see themselves as overworked and underpaid.  This translates to poor customer service and declining patient satisfaction outcomes.  Even non-health care service professionals need to be reoriented as to the nature of their profession.  This is because, as is frequently mentioned in customer service training, “If you make customers happy, they might each tell a couple of friends.  If you make customers unhappy, they might each tell  20 friends and acquaintances. 

So what does it take to succeed in the service business?  In a nutshell, the essential characteristics of a service professional can be summarized by S.E.R.V.I.C.E.

S – Smart.  A smart person has the academic competency in the chosen service field.  He or she must show an ability to make good decisions.  Education in the classroom is handy, but even more important is real-life experience.  A true service professional learns to utilize both education and experience to provide world-class service.

E – Energetic.  Intrinsic motivation is essential.  It would be difficult to relate to someone who seems lethargic.  How would you feel if someone communicates with you, but is noticeably tired or just desires to see you off?  You might as well talk to a computer terminal if you are served by a stone-faced human.

R – Reliable.  Service professionals must be dependable, and they must deliver more than is expected.  When they promise to finish at a certain time, they must do so.  When a customer has a problem, they must exhibit a sincere interest to find a solution.

V – Values-driven.  God-fearing and ethical employees are a gem.  They will always act in accordance to their religious beliefs, and will consider their God as their Boss.  This would translate to a service experience that is respectful and caring.

I – Innovative.  Effective frontline service providers can adapt to difficult situations even under pressure.  For employers, this means that employees must be given free reign to decide how to resolve conflicts.  Creativity in customer service is severely limited by company policies that are too restrictive.  Don’t be too quick in punishing an employee who means well.

C – Courteous.  A pleasant demeanor is always welcoming.  Calls are answered politely, and there is an air of friendliness in every engagement.

E – Empathic.  A real professional empathizes with the customer’s needs and sees himself or herself in the position of the customer to meet the customer’s needs.  Personalized attention is provided, and the firm ensures that operating hours and service areas are convenient for every customer and employee.

So don’t be a grouch.  Master the art of interpersonal relations.  It can be the key to success in your chosen career – no matter what industry you’re in.  After all, you wouldn’t want to end up unemployed or bankrupt because you didn’t evolve.  Just ask Eastman Kodak.



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