Is Your Customer Service Like Pollen to Your Customers?

It is that time of the year: Pollen Time! People with allergies are struggling. Car washes are thriving. And, most everyone I know is complaining about the nuisance of the powdery layer that seems to invade and cover everything. Who profits from this yellow film?

The main benefactor is the plant that generated the microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower. It is actually a bit more risqué than you think. It is the plant version of bar hopping. Each grain contains a male gamete that circulates the area in search of a female ovule it can fertilize to make more plants. We don’t need to know any more of the granular details except to say the beneficiary is all about the multiplication of the plant. The plant could not care less that your eyes burn or your neighbors sneeze or your house badly needs a power washer.

There are organizations that operate like that. It is all about their process with little regard for those impacted and their customer service. Some are indifferent; some just don’t think about it. Every time I hear a service provider tell me, “But, you don’t understand how we do business here,” I want to respond as I am trying to give them my money, “…and, why should I care?” Plants don’t have a choice in their plant-centric growth practices; but, organizations have a choice in their customer service focus.

Some time ago I went to my branch bank to get a small logoed desk calendar they give away on request to their customers. When I arrived at 8:55 a.m. it was raining and several other bank customers were waiting for the branch door to open at 9 a.m. All the tellers and platform personnel were in position and appeared ready to serve. They watched us standing at the front door. At precisely 9 a.m., someone unlocked the front door and let us all in, dripping wet.

I bypassed the calendar person and made my way to the branch manager’s office. “Is there a legal or security reason you could not open the branch before 9 a.m.,” I asked? “No,” he told me. “So, when your employees saw us in the rain waiting for the front door to open, why did they not open five minutes early?”

As if he was telling me the sun comes up every morning, he said, “Because we open at 9 a.m.”

I left the branch covered in “pollen.”

(I wonder if I should introduce that bank branch manager to my Panning for Gold principle of customer loyalty?)

Add Your Response


Never miss a post! Sign up to have future posts delivered to your inbox:


Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


More on Chip