In the fast-paced world of professional life, moments of reflection can sometimes spark unusual insights. Join us as we delve into one such intriguing incident from a bank manager’s career, where the discussion on customer service took an unexpected turn during a crucial conference.
Many years ago, during a pivotal managers’ conference, the agenda revolved around setting budgets, business strategies, and targets. The conference was a high-profile event, graced by the presence of the Chairman and Managing Director, along with regional heads, senior executives, and managers. Among the attendees was a bank manager known for his outspoken nature and his active involvement in the officers’ association. However, his candor had often earned him advice from friends to exercise caution in expressing his views, particularly for the sake of his career.
The conference discussions eventually turned to the topic of customer service, and the Chairman and Managing Director took the stage. To emphasize the importance of customer service, he projected a quote from Mahatma Gandhi onto the screen, a quote that would leave a lasting impact on the attendees:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption to our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
The audience responded with unanimous enthusiasm, embracing the profound wisdom behind Gandhi’s words. However, one individual, the outspoken bank manager, did not wholeheartedly endorse the sentiment.
Curious, the Chairman and Managing Director turned to him and inquired, “Mr. Radhakrishnan, it seems you have a different perspective on this matter. Could you please share your views?”
With confidence, Mr. Radhakrishnan replied, “Sir, it’s not that I have a different view on customer service. I have two distinct perspectives on the same matter.”
Intrigued, the CMD urged him to elaborate, saying, “Please, enlighten us about these two different perspectives.”
Mr. Radhakrishnan explained, “I wholeheartedly agree with what Gandhiji said about customer service from my first perspective, which pertains to business development. However, my second perspective is related to career progression. In this modified version of the quote, only the first two words ‘A CUSTOMER’ need to be changed to reflect this perspective:
‘THE BOSS is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption to our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.'”
To Mr. Radhakrishnan’s surprise, his response evoked spontaneous laughter and applause from the conference attendees. The gravity of the moment gave way to a lighter, more jovial atmosphere.
In the world of customer service, there can be different perspectives, each with its unique importance. While Mahatma Gandhi’s words emphasize the significance of customers in business, the humorous twist offered by Mr. Radhakrishnan reminds us that, in the realm of professional life, superiors also play a pivotal role. This conference serves as a reminder that sometimes, a touch of humor can break the seriousness of the moment and bring people together in shared laughter and understanding.