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What I Learned from Cinderella


Do you remember the story of Cinderella? The girl whose stepmother and stepsisters did everything they could to keep her from attending the Prince's ball. The fairy tale is about the oppression and hardship of an orphaned girl (Disney Version) who lives with her deceased Father's second wife. Even her name is a sign of her hard luck. In some versions of the story, Cinderella slept on the floor by the fire to stay warm. She would awaken with ash (cinders) from the fireplace on her clothes. Her evil stepsisters would tease her with the name Cinderella.

The story tells us that when invited to the Prince's ball, Cinderella's Stepmother told her she could not come to the Royal Ball because she was a lowly maid. She attends anyway with the help of a Fairy Godmother, who turns a pumpkin into a coach and random animals into horses and coachmen. Cinderella must leave the ball before midnight because the spell weaved by the Fairy Godmother will wear off when the clock strikes twelve.

The Prince is smitten with Cinderella when she first appears at the ball. The two dance and speak to each other throughout the evening. The tale tells us that the couple falls in love. Cinderella is so enamored with the Prince that she loses track of time and has to race from the ball as midnight arrives. She loses a glass slipper as she runs from the palace.

The Prince is distraught. The woman of his dreams has disappeared. He has no way to find her. The story falls apart here for me. Yes, I may ruin Cinderella for some of you. Didn't he ask her what her name was? All the while they were dancing and talking, her name never came up. The tale tells us the only way the Prince could find Cinderella was to fit the slipper on every woman in the kingdom. You would think there may be more than one woman who wore size five glass slippers in a large kingdom.

There are so many holes in this story. The Prince wouldn't recognize Cinderella if he saw her again (sure, the little mask on a stick makes it impossible to tell who you are). I thought they fell in love. He doesn't know her name, he must not know what she looks like, and the Prince wants to check out every woman in the kingdom before he commits. Maybe Cinderella is better off if he never finds her.

Details matter. Pay attention. Asking simple questions may make your life a lot easier. These are the lessons I learned from the story of Cinderella. The Prince would have failed miserably as a customer service rep. When a customer has an inquiry, we should pay attention, ask the appropriate questions, and capture the details. We risk insulting our customer if our response does not address their question.

The Prince does have his redeeming qualities, however. Although a little creepy, he does refuse to give up in his pursuit of Cinderella. He is willing to scour the kingdom for a chance at finding her. That kind of dogged persistence may make a service rep out of him. A rep who sticks with the problem until he finds a solution is a customer's dream. The Prince does not let the evil stepsisters deter him. He does apply the tenacity needed to be a top-notch customer service agent.

Eventually, the Prince finds Cinderella, and the glass slipper fits. (Why didn't the slippers disappear when the coach turned back into a pumpkin?) I believe they lived happily ever after.

Our Customer service rests on our desire and ability to pay attention to our customers. We must focus on the details or risk offending our clients. We must do everything possible to ensure customer service that is more than a fairy tale.

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