I was reminded recently of the Five Rules of Customer Service:

  1. Listen
  2. Apologize as needed
  3. Offer remedy
  4. Follow through
  5. Thank the customer.

Unfortunately, my wife sent me the list because a bank I have to deal with violated every item on the list. My desire for competent assistance got me labeled by one of their officers as “demanding” and “negative.” Never once have I received an apology for their myriad mistakes and the misery they have caused me. In order to get anything done, I had to be persistent. No one has ever said a word of thanks for my putting up with their less-than-stellar service.

When you think about it, the Five Rules apply to more than business. They are really just good practices for human interaction, the sort of thing we learn or should learn growing up: regard others as important (listen); admit you’re not perfect and can hurt someone’s feelings (apologize); offer restitution, make it right (offer remedy); keep your promises (follow through); and be grateful (say “thank you”).

If we did these five simple things, every day, by habit, with everyone, how different would our lives be? What conflicts would be prevented or resolved?

Maybe instead of arguing over hot button issues or esoteric doctrines, the church, which is to be the demonstration of what God intends for all humanity, could lead the way in living and teaching the Five Rules. Maybe they really just boil down to one Rule, which we traditionally have called “Golden”: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).

© 2013 Tom Cheatham. All rights reserved.