Although much has been written about how customer service benefits businesses, writers have not paid much attention to how providing customer service also benefits the providers. I’ve read 453 books, papers, and articles on customer service to date, and not one of them is focused on how taking care of customers is good for the people in the front line.
Which is strange when you think about it. The conventional wisdom seems to be that customer service flows from the top. That’s backwards. It would be nice if business leaders really cared about their customers. But most of them don’t. If they did, customer service on this planet would not be nearly as bad as it is today. Furthermore, even if they did care, they don’t really have the power to make customer service happen. The best that leaders can do is set the tone, hire the right people, and support them. No amount of pleading, preaching, kicking, and screaming can ever deliver great service to a customer.
Great service is delivered by the deliverer. Customer service flows from the front.
So what's in it for me?
Perhaps part of the problem is that it's a dumb question. If you have to ask it, you’re probably in the wrong profession. People who are great at customer service do not even think about what they get in return. The reward is in the service itself.
But back here on Earth, people do ask the question, at least subconsciously, and it ought to be answered. Suppose you’re a manager, and you tell someone who works for you that her primary responsibility is to make each customer go "Wow you guys are great!". Suppose she asks you, “What’s in it for me?”. What would your answer be?
Or suppose word got around that you're the best customer service person in town, so Oprah has you over and asks you why you do it? What would you say?