Customer Service – Shawshank Style


How is a movie about surviving a jail sentence you didn’t deserve even closely related to Customer service? That is a great question, and the answer might be surprising. Andy Dufresne and his friend Red both embodied great service for their friends.

Andy Dufresne: Get busy living, or get busy dying.

TOBY: Customer service professionals often need to have difficult conversations – don’t wait for the problem to resolve itself, take the reins (and responsibility), make the call and have the conversation.  Remember, this is an opportunity to shine.
AL: It’s a tough industry to be in sometimes, but you’re right! Jumping in and getting busy serving Customers is a great way to show them you care. Through you, the brand will grow.

Red: He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn’t normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place.

AL: Being on the front lines of a Customer service center can be a tough way to make a living. Sometimes we have to learn how to shake it off and move on. Put on the invisible coat, and keep going.
TOBY: We are on the front lines servicing customers and they rarely call with good news or to give praise.  Remember to never take things personally and take pride in knowing you are providing a great service that will set your company apart from the rest.  Answer that phone, email, or tweet with a happy disposition.

Red: Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

TOBY: It is important to want to provide great service and make customers happy.  It is equally important to remember that some customers have unreasonable expectations: The customer is not always right, you make them believe they are.
AL: I agree, but I also feel it can be equally important to be crystal clear with what you can promise a Client. This is where the marketing team needs to understand what the service team can provide before any promises are made.

Andy Dufresne: [in letter to Red] Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies

AL: Things break. Systems stop working. When they do, you are the hope Customers seek out.
TOBY: Remember that you are making the difference that keep your customers coming back.  Believe in your ability to find options and deliver outstanding service.

Red: Andy… you can’t just make a person up!

TOBY: As an employee, you have access to information your customers don’t.  You must never lie or intentionally deceive them.  If you are wrong, admit it – if you cannot meet their expectations, provide options.
AL: You are so right! One of the biggest mistakes I hear at contact centers is the creation of ‘my manager’ or similar escalations unit when nothing is really being escalated. You can’t just make a person up to pacify someone.

A very special thanks to my friend Toby Metcalf for suggesting this great movie. He pulled the quotes and showed me how they fit in with our love of servicing Customers. Toby will be guest blogging on the next installment as he shows you how NASA and the Apollo 13 movie also has great Customer service insights…

Quotes from:


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