Repetition With Purpose
By: Lamaretta Kelderman
3 years ago
“Please let us know if we may be of further assistance.”
I type this phrase into the closings of email responses dozens of times each day as I assist our newspaper clients with inquiries that run the gamut from simple text corrections to complex technical issues. The phrase is sometimes altered:
“If we may be of further assistance, please let us know.”
“If you have additional questions, or if we may be of further assistance, please let us know.”
“Please let us know if you have any questions or if we may be of further assistance.”
“Let us know if we may assist you further.”
And so on.
Yet the thing that strikes me is that no matter how often I write that phrase, how rote it has become, how boilerplate it might come across to a person on the receiving end, I absolutely mean it. My job, as a Newspaper Support client representative, is one of service. I am at the beck and call of the staff of our newspaper affiliates, to assist them in whatever capacity they may need … or at the very least, to find someone (if not myself) who can.
I support them so that they, in turn, can support their customers. I am a link in a strong chain of support.
When I first began working at Legacy.com, I was informed that our primary focus is to provide the absolute best customer service and user experience possible; after being here almost seven years, nothing has changed in that regard. In a world where the “service” portion of customer service seems to be falling steadily by the wayside, it is actually a very satisfying feeling to work at a company where client and customer service is not only a hallmark of what we do, but also something that is understood as impactful on a larger scale than simply, “Hey, I fixed an error today.” I know, just as the rest of the Client and Customer Service team members here at Legacy.com know, that when a newspaper staffer asks us to fix a missing image (or anything else), what they are really asking is, “Help me help my customer.”
This is no more crucial than when dealing with obituaries and Guest Books. Obituaries require a type of care and sensitivity all their own. Behind every death notice or obituary is a grieving family, friend and perhaps co-worker. So, when I get a request from a newspaper to add a missing letter to a name in an obituary, correct a punctuation mark, or make any other seemingly trivial correction, I realize that my correction, and the speed with which I make it, helps the newspaper support the family members as they support one another in a time of grief. I become a vital link in a chain of memorializing, grieving and, I hope, healing as survivors pay tribute to their loved ones who have died.
To be truthful, I have days when I wish I were on a beach in Belize (who doesn’t, right?) without an Internet connection for miles. Yet, even on those days, I remember the main lesson I have learned from doing my job: That it matters. It all matters. No matter how minuscule the request may be, or how involved or time consuming, the end result matters to someone: a user, a grieving family member, a friend, an advertiser – even me.
One of many synonyms for support is “comfort.” How fitting, as every day – each time I write, “May I assist you further?” – it is my hope that when I am taken up on the offer, my actions create a ripple effect that just might indeed provide comfort, provide support. And at the end of the day, whether slow or busy, I know that by providing the best customer service experience I can, I have held up my link in the chain that aids, assists, supports and comforts. As the author Og Mandino stated: “Always render more and better service than what is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.”
Now, if only I could explain that to my cable company.
An employee since 2003, Lamaretta spends her days providing top-notch support to our newspaper affiliates as a member of our Client Services team. When not at work she enjoys hanging with her husband and their two children, cooking, sampling new wines and pondering ... well, everything.