Serving the Least of These: The Good Samaritan

kitten duckThe Good Samaritan is a story of kindness widely known across all faiths, not just those anchored to the New Testament. But, in many ways the back story is particularly instructive to delivering innovative service.

The story starts with the words: “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.” That route was seventeen miles long descending steeply over two thousand feet and very difficult, rocky terrain.

The parable continues: “…and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” The Jerusalem-Jericho route was at that time populated by thieves. Both a lawyer and priest traveling the same way saw the injured man but moved to the other side of the road and ignored him. But, a Samaritan passed by, had compassion on the man, bandaged his wounds, took him to a nearby inn and paid for his care.

The centerpiece of the story is the fact that the injured man, assumed to be a Jew, was helped by a Samaritan. Samaritans were deeply hated by the Jews and often called them “half breeds” and “heathen dogs.” Some theologians believe the Samaritan had just traveled up the steep long hill and was likely exhausted. But, all agree the story powerfully answers the question put to Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?”

So, what’s the point? Your “neighbor” is that customer who always complains. It is the one who is perpetually impatient, regardless of how quickly you work to respond. Your neighbor is that customer who returns merchandise after heavy use and demands a full refund. Your neighbor is the customer who demands to “see the manager” rather than deal with any front line person no matter that person’s competence or attitude. Even after your exhausting trip through a trying day, your customer is still your neighbor and deserves your very best.

Customers are not always right…we are all customers and we know we are sometimes wrong. But, the customer is always the customer—your neighbor—and, like the injured man in the parable deserves your compassion and commitment in making them feel right.



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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.


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