Uplifting Blog

Service in Reverse: Building Partnerships as Customers

The common understanding of service in business today is unidirectional – focused on the service from a provider/supplier to its customer.  The pressure and expectation to provide 100% satisfaction is relentless.  Getting it right “most of the time” is often considered failure.  And clients or patrons let us know when we miss the mark – sometimes with tremendous passion!

But what is our role as customer in this exchange of service for purchase and patronage?  If our expectation is zero-defects, what service can we provide as customers to help meet this goal?

I watched this play out beautifully in a simple exchange at the dry cleaner’s recently.

Arriving to find your clothes not ready as promised might normally set off a series of angry and unforgiving words from the customer.  I have been guilty of this as well occasionally with the service providers in my life.  But this customer took the road less travelled.  He asked, “What could I have done differently when I dropped the clothes off to ensure it was ready on time?  I travel every week and always count on my clothes being ready on time.”

After recovering from the shock of NOT being berated, the store owner had a short, productive exchange that ended up improving his process.  What could have been a heated exchange and a loss for both parties, ended up a win–win–win.  A win for the owner, a win for that customer, and a win for me! I now take advantage of this new process for frequent travelers.

Consistent poor performance from a service provider should not be tolerated.  But a customer genuinely offering to explore how to improve service is a unique and loyalty-building act in reverse.  I am sure the customer in my story will now get what they expect and desire – and the occasional surprise!  The owner will be loyal for a lifetime.  We are all customers –internal and external.

Seeing ourselves as “partners” instead will improve service and relationships – no matter which side of the exchange we are on.

Follow Uplifting Service on Social Media for more useful insights and content!

Join the community and receive free resources, ideas, and invitations.

Scroll to Top

Welcome to the Worldwide Uplifting Community!

Here’s what’s next…

Check your email for the welcome we just sent – and reply to let us know you received it!

We’ve included some useful resources 
for you to explore…

…and we’ll be in touch to share more ideas 
and invitations for you.

Join the Worldwide Uplifting Community

We’ll send you free resources, education, and ideas for creating positive change in the world.

Welcome to the Worldwide Uplifting Community!

Here’s what’s next…

Check your email for the welcome we just sent – and reply to let us know you received it!

We’ve included some useful resources 
for you to explore…

…and we’ll be in touch to share more ideas 
and invitations for you.