Not Her Job
I think the last time I stepped foot in a courthouse was when I was on jury duty back in the early 90’s. Recently, I had to file some legal papers and was struck by the lack of customer service I experienced. I had a few obvious questions for the clerk – how long does the filing take and how much was the filing fee. I never got those answers. Instead, I received a stock response “Just put the paperwork in the basket and if there is anything missing or needed, you will receive a letter in the mail.” It sounded very robotic, like it had been spoken a thousand times before. Even when I rephrased my questions, I received the same response, this time with an irritated sigh. Needless to say, I threw my papers into the basket and left the courthouse totally angry and frustrated with my experience.
Given that I have my own business, I found her lack of involvement and indifference in making this a more efficient process and pleasant experience totally ludicrous. I know that my own business would absolutely FAIL if I treated my clients and colleagues in this manner. No doubt about it. Instead of the clerk answering a few quick questions to avoid a potential paper trail of back-and-forth communication, she preferred to take no responsibility for assisting me. Apparently it’s not her job.
Great customer service is the secret skill necessary for any successful business – whether you are an independent contractor or a large government-run organization. It costs nothing to help someone and answer a few questions and just a little assistance goes a long way. It shows people that someone is listening, someone is taking their concerns to heart, and someone wants to help or resolve their situation. Connecting and helping others is as much a part of human nature as the Golden Rule. At least that’s what I’ve always thought until I walked into that courthouse.