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Posted: December 22, 2012 12:38 p.m.

Yeah, I’m delighted

Congratulations! If you're reading this, it means you survived the Mayan calendar's alleged prediction of total world destruction. But, if the world has been destroyed, then you're not reading this, and I just wasted a perfectly good "congratulations" on a bunch of cosmic dust. Either way, let's move to today's topic: cloying customer service.

"Cloying" isn't a word that people use too often. When I first learned it many years ago, a friend accused me of making it up. I took that as flattery, but I was an egotist back then and took most everything short of a slap in the face as flattery. I could have referred to customer service as obsequious or pandering, but I like cloying. It's that mentality that says, "We exist to delight the customer." Delight! That's what I'm talking about, and that's why I'm calling it cloying.

Let's say you're a manufacturer, and I just used some of your toilet paper. Do you really think I'm going to walk around telling everyone how "delighted" I was with the experience? What kind of person would do that? Maybe you're a dentist. Am I supposed to be delighted that you drilled in my mouth and made me talk like a drunken Congressman?
Now, if you sell chocolate, coffee or those smelly little perfumed soaps, I'm happy to being delighted. That's something I can admit in mixed company, although I'm not likely to mention the little soaps while I'm down at the hardware store. Besides, I'm not interested in being delighted all day long. It's exhausting to be delighted. On some days, I just want to be "ignored," especially by the products I own. So, may I recommend some different slogans, please?

Maybe customers should just be "served." "We exist to serve the customer." Serving works for the military. If they can serve, why can't companies? Or maybe customers should just be "pleased." We used to be happy with just being pleased. That would sure be better than anyone saying, "We exist to enrapture, fascinate and enchant the customer." Look, I don't know what the proper infinitive is, but it's not "to delight." Heck, even marriage vows don't require anyone to "delight" the other. Do you expect more love and respect from your socks than you do from your spouse?
Don't answer that, or I might reconsider my delight about the world not ending. Assuming it didn't...

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at davmccoy@bellsouth.net.

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