Five Things Mr. Spock Taught Me About Customer Service

With the death of Leonard Nimoy this week, Star Trek, and his signature character Mr. Spock, was on my mind. I am a self-confessed sci-fi geek, so I grew up loving the Star Trek Universe – from series to movies to references on the Big Bang Theory.

Now that is all by way of saying that this was a terrible loss to his family and all those who loved him. But his legacy will endure for many years to come and those who invented items such as the iPad and cell phones credit Star Trek with inspiring them. Star Trek inspired many of us in many ways.

And I can tell you that Nimoy’s Mr. Spock taught me much about how to treat people – both as a Leader and as someone in the service universe.

This is what Mr. Spock taught me about Customer Service:

THE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW

This was definitely the phrase that pays from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. The message here is that you have to often play to the masses. This is relevant in the service business in that many folks have their own take on how you should be providing your service. It’s great that people are so willing to share their knowledge but you can’t please everyone. Often if you push to please everyone, you’ll please no one. So the message here is don’t be reactionary. If you hear about an issue from one person, certainly investigate, but don’t think that you have to make wholesale changes for a single Guest. If you get multiple suggestions that have a common motif, then you may want to make adjustments.

THE FUTURE IS YOURS TO CONTROL

Mr. Spock kept a painting of Paradise Lost in his cabin on the Enterprise, which depicted Adam and Eve being cast out of paradise. He explained to one of his protégés that this was a reminder that all things end – and that you have to be ready for it. Change is inevitable – to put it another way – and that is something from which we can all learn. Today’s marketplace is constantly changing and becoming more demanding, so we all have to make our peace with moving quickly for the good of our Customers. Guests don’t have a ton of patience for those who are mired in the past, so keep one eye on what’s working and another fixed on what needs to work next.

LOGIC IS EFFICIENT, BUT LEADERSHIP COMES FROM THE HEART

Mr. Spock is the poster child of logic. We all have that side that measures numbers and quotas and billables – and you certainly cannot run a business without them. There have to be rules and policies that drive our daily work, or things just fall apart. But that doesn’t mean you have to be heartless. You can enforce the rules and still show compassion. It’s okay to be firm, but you don’t have to beat people over the head with it. Spock would often bring a “softer” approach to his style when needed – It made no logical sense for him to let Saavik take the Enterprise out of space dock or to deepen his friendship with Kirk, but yet he did it anyway. And he was better for it.

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BEND THE RULES:

There is no doubt that logic means rules but sometimes you have to bend them a little for the good of the Customer. When your Guests have complaints or special requests, it makes sense to find a way to say YES or at least meet them half way. To say no just because it is against a policy isn’t very logical to be sure; even if you can’t give the Customer everything they want, you should absolutely find a compromise that everyone can accept. It sure beats saying no, afterall. If Spock can go to all that trouble to save Captain Pike or participate in a whale-jacking, then you can certainly meet your Customers and team half-way when it makes sense.

KEEP DEVELOPING YOURSELF CONSTANTLY:

Never stop learning. Never stop dreaming. Never stop looking to the horizon. You have to concentrate on your job at hand and ensure that you are excelling in your current role – but don’t get stagnant. Spock moved from Science Officer to Captain to Ambassador across his Starfleet career. He changed with the times and dedicated himself to causes that he found important and necessary. I’m not saying that you need to become and interstellar diplomat but you can certainly pick up a book. There are audiobooks that you can listen to in the car, seminars you can attend for development, and a myriad of E-Learnings that can improve your skills. Take advantage of every channel available to keep learning and growing.

So there it is – the ways that being more like Mr. Spock can help you improve your Leadership, Development, and Customer service.

I know I speak for all Sci Fi lovers when I say that Leonard Nimoy, you will be missed.

Live long and prosper.

Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker

Check out my FREE Resources and Training Tools: Web: http://thetonyjohnson.com/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/RecipeforserviceNet Twitter: https://twitter.com/ServiceRecipe

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Photo: CBS Photo Archive CBS Via Getty Images and Seattle Post-Intelligencer

About The Author

Tony Johnson

I’m a 22 year veteran of delivering terrific Guest experiences. I believe in putting the Customer at the center of what we do everyday. . .Let’s face it, if we take great care of our Guests, the rest just falls into place.