National Customer Service Association
NCSA Membership Log In Contact Us
National Customer Service Association
...Customer First

Education Article

A Different Kind of Article

By Diane Crutcher, Vice President of Programs, NCSA


NCSA Education ArticleI write this article having just been diagnosed with Covid. I am fortunate to be recovering at home, but it has given me plenty of time to think. Typically, NCSA articles are about what we can do for our customers to provide exemplary service with every interaction. This one is about what you can and should do for you.

C. William Crutcher in his book, Managing Service Excellence, says we should focus on doing the right thing.  At this moment, in this article, the "right thing" is to focus some "excellent service" on you. So where do we start, given most of us don't put ourselves first ever, let alone when it comes to the topic of customer service?

Attitudinally, we have to believe we are worthy.  Then we have to gather the knowledge needed to make ourselves a priority. And, finally, we have to empower ourselves to act on that knowledge.

The attitudinal change might be difficult, as putting ourselves first is a foreign concept to most of us. Start by assessing what is unsatisfactory in your life. Analyze what you "need" versus "want" to fill those gaps.

  • "Need" is defined as: requiring something because it is essential or very important. 
  • "Want" is defined as: having a desire to possess or do something. 

Take several days to differentiate your wants from your needs. While it is usually advised to concentrate on your needs and to pursue them, the occasional want being satisfied feels good, is motivating and probably worth the effort it took to accomplish, so don't discount the occasional pursuit of a want.

Once you have identified your primary need, set a plan to achieve it. It may require changing some things in your life, but if the need is important enough to be No. 1, pursuing your plan is critical not just to your career, livelihood and family, but to your mental and emotional health.  See the plan through to its fruition.

Remember to involve others who will be impacted by the pursuit of meeting your need. Communication and cooperation with key partners is critical to your accomplishing that need and allows others to celebrate in the achievement.

You can find greater detail on any of the concepts within this article in C. William Crutcher's book, Managing Service Excellence, as well as in past NCSA articles. 

The important message in closing is: You can't take care of others any better than you take care of yourself.

Make yourself a priority. Identify a personal need; vet it with key partners in your life; pursue it appropriately, setting a plan in place to achieve it and activating the plan. 

None of this gives us permission to relinquish our other responsibilities while we pay some attention to ourselves.  We are perfectly capable of running dual tracks of responsibility. The only difference is that we are now one of those tracks.

Make the rest of your life the best of your life.