How parenting skills (or lack of) affect customer relationship building

This post was not on my editorial calendar, but came to me as I was sipping my Apple Chai from Starbucks. I started to toss the cup, when The Way I See It #198 message caught my eye.

“You can shower a child with presents or money, but what do they really mean, compared to the most valuable gift of all – your time? Vacations and special events are nice, but so often the best moments are the spontaneous ones. Being there. Every moment you spend with your child could be the one that really matters.” — Tim Russert, Host of NBC’s Meet the Press and author of Wisdom of Our Fathers Timeout.

2800860917_385a89523aI cannot afford to bribe my five year-old kidlette to do as I please. Even if I were rich enough, the end result would be a spoiled kid who has no realistic expectations of life. It is the little things that matter. Going outside and running around with her as if I had not care in the world is priceless to her. My time. Active time. My undivided attention. The time spent plunking her down in front of the TV while I tap away on my laptop is not an example quality time Russert claims is most valuable. What does a kid remember? The number of toys bought for her or the memories created?

You may say…Lauren, this is common sense! So what do my personal parenting skills have to do with public relations, communications and this blog?

Relationship building.

Companies and media relations types throw sweepstakes and various other incentives to customers all day long. When do companies give their time? An extra couple of seconds on the phone to a concerned customer? A friendly hello from a cashier to a customer in line? When does someone pitching a blogger or journalist take a couple minutes to find out who they are pitching to?

Customer service is not just the new (or fashionable) job description of public relations practitioners…it should be the job description of every person in your company, at every level. This year, set the goal of giving more of your undivided attention. You may find that doing so alleviates the fire fighting that has consumed your time.

(Photo courtesy Miss Rainbow Lollipop.)

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  • Richie Escovedo

    Insightful post. We recently hosted a customer service training in our school district.
    Best take-away for me were the fundamental needs of a customer: To feel welcome; To be understood; To retain dignity; To obtain assistance; and To be valued.
    I think my kids need the same things.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Valeria Maltoni

    Funny, when I read your lines about engineering sweepstakes I thought of the equivalent of telling your child to please go play outside… how did it get to delaying the moment when we could actually spend time with our customers?

  • Lauren Vargas

    Good question! I don’t think we should blame technology…I think it is the human desire and greed for instant gratification that metastasized into this issue.

  • donnam

    It’s nice to know that you as a parent can still find time to spend with your kid, so many of us burn the candle at both ends, forgetting what is really important.

  • Lauren Vargas

    Oh, I burn the candle at both ends…trust me! Still trying to figure out the elusive work/life balance.