Thursday, March 16, 2017

What we can learn about customer support from St. Patrick

With less than 24hrs to go to St. Patrick's Day, every man, woman, and child around the world are gearing to proudly celebrate their  Irish heritage, even those who are not Irish often joining in the celebrations. Yet, when most people think of St. Patrick's Day they could easily be forgiven for thinking it is just a day for wearing every item of green clothing you have, heading to the parade and ending the day by drowning the shamrock in your local pub, with your family and friends.

However, while all this seems like a barrel of laughs, there so much more to St. Patrick than these traditions.

Born into a wealthy British family near Somerset, Patrick lived with his mother and father who was deacon until he was 16. When a raid took place on his family's estate and he was kidnapped. Shortly afterwards, he was sold into slavery in Dalriada and brought Ireland. Where he spent the next 6 years tending to sheep. One night he a dream he heard God telling him to escape. After walking over 200 miles St. Patrick came across a ship where he convinced the crew to grant him safe passage home.

Returning home in Patrick was now in his early 20's. He spent the next 7 years studying to become a priest. After practising as a priest for a number of years, Patrick travelled to France where he became a bishop. Soon after he became a bishop, Patrick began to dream of Ireland and its people. In these dreams, they were crying out to him to come back to Ireland.

Soon afterwards, he left France and returned to Ireland where he spread Christianity far and wide. During his time in Ireland, he is believed to have carried out a number of miracles, including driving all the snakes out of the country and once giving a sermon so long that his staff grew roots and became a living tree. Patrick is also believed to have invented the Celtic Cross.

However long before he became a saint and behind all the myths and legends, Patrick displayed some imitable qualities that extend well beyond religion. Through those qualities, we can learn how to improve support for our customers.

Be Adaptable

When Patrick first came to Ireland, it would be safe to say he had never looked after sheep before. Despite this, he worked for the next 6 years as a shepherd. Often in supporting customers, it will be their first time using the software or service you provide. At times like this, you must adapt the support you provide to ensure that both you and the customer is successful during their time with your company.

Some days bring out the thorns in roses; others bring out the aroma. You have to have both in order to have a balanced perspective.

Be Relentless 

Undeterred by all he had been through, Patrick found a way to return back to Ireland on a mission to convert pagans to Christianity. This wasn’t a short mission – he spent years and years just covering the north of Ireland.

By creating exceptional messaging, from the first moment a customer interacts with your brand, you will have taken the first step in making them feel so valued that they can’t help share that message. However, if you don’t live up to your brand’s promises, you will lose trust with potential ambassadors.

Forrester reports that leaders in customer experience outperform their peers by 22.6%. If your clients and customers require real-time responses and online presence, you need to have a social plan in place for reaction 24/7/365.

Reach out to people

Though St. Patrick’s Day is often lauded with green beer, bacon and cabbage and plenty of green attire, his legend goes far beyond the superficial tokens. For example, St. Patrick is credited with introducing the shamrock as a symbol of the Holy Trinity in order to illustrate three beings in one to the Irish people.

Though the true legend St.Patrick left behind, was a day where everyone around the world celebrates, a day where you don't have to be Irish to be Irish.

In supporting you customers, relationships with people will be the greatest asset you can ever have. You never know when someone will be inspired by your dream and eager to assist you. Reaching out to customers on a regular basis, whether or not they have any issues will only help you build this kind of relationship.

Celebrate your victory's

Each year, millions of pints of beer are consumed. In fact, in the U.S alone over $4.8 billion dollars was spent last year with 30.5% of Americans choosing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a bar or restaurant.

In any career, you have to take the time to step back, reflect on what you’ve done and celebrate. Even if it’s only baby steps.

However, you choose to celebrate this weekend be it wearing, eating and drinking anything and everything green, heading to the parade, giving the Blarney Stone a great big kiss, or simply wearing some shamrock. emulating the qualities of St. Patrick is something we should all look to aspire to. So wherever you go and whatever you do.

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d'aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.