Customer Service - It’s Not Just for Downtown

  • Published
  • By Col. Lee Rosen
  • Commander, 45th SW Launch Group
So, sir, you'd like a half-caf-decaf, latte, mocha, caramel, frappacino, tall, skinny?

You've got it sir, whatever you'd like. No, I'm not just practicing for my post-Air Force career, I'm reminding us that customer support is everywhere, including in our Air Force. As military members, we don't normally think of ourselves in the customer service business. The fact is, we all have customers that rely on the work we do every day.

Have you thought about who your customers might be? A customer is anyone that uses the products or services we provide; some general customers could be your boss, subordinates, fellow Airmen, your contractor, friends and/or family. We also have several VIP customers; the President, American people and each other.

When your supervisor asks you to work on a project; he/she becomes your customer. When a company wants to fly a new rocket from the Cape, they become our customer. In order to do a good job, you have to determine what it is that your customer wants or needs, and do your very best to exceed their expectations every single time.

You may be saying--what's my motivation? We're not driven by profit like Starbucks. We're the military; we're the only game in town, the only one who provides warfighting, mission support, and rocket launching services.

Oh yeah? Go ask Sirius/XM satellite radio where they're launching their US-built satellite from - Russia.

It's a brave new world out there and we're competing all the time. And frankly, right now, we're losing market share. But don't despair, we have a chance to turn this ship around, and it all starts with customer support. It's not always a simple matter to determine what the customer wants (sometimes they don't know, so we have to show them the "realm of the possible"). You have to practice "empathy." Walk a mile in their shoes--we're all customers for something, and we sure know good customer service when we see it in a restaurant or a car dealership.

Your customer sees it in you. To Success!