Obsessed or just Passionate about Customer Service?

Motivational speaker Marilyn Sherman is passionate about customer serviceI believe in doing over-the-top things to please your customer (see my post on the amazing story of customer service by an employee at the Ritz Carlton), but there is a line where you go from passionate to obsessed!  Case in point: a young man has some sort of business that has to do with electricity, cable, wires; I’m really not sure.  But, he is so obsessed with being there for his customers that he took his smart phone into a hot pilates class! The instructor was in the middle of an hour course that included mountain climbers, push-ups, stretching and sweating.  She was appalled that she had to tell the guy in the back row (during mountain climbers!) ‘No texting in class!’

After class, I sat on the bench outside of the studio regaining my heart rate (actually I was too tired to stand up) right across from the guy who wasn’t just obsessed with customer service, it was more like he was possessed by it.  I basically said, ‘what gives?’

He said that he loved his job so much; he wanted to be there for his customers.  I reminded him that this was one hour out of his day to completely dis-connect, but he said he loved his customers and wanted to respond to them. I didn't mention how disruptive it was to have his phone in class. I actually was concerned for him.

I told him he was a workaholic.

He corrected me and said he was passionate.

I asked him how old he was – and no surprise, he said ‘26’.  I told him to talk to me in 10 years!

By the way, he then tried to sell me on his hi-tech business.  I wasn’t interested.  I couldn’t get past the fact that he couldn’t take an hour out of his day to work on his physical and mental health without being obsessed about work. So, his being 'passionate' about customer service backfired, at least for this prospect who will not be his customer anytime soon. 

From your willing to take a time out on serving others to recharge her battery motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman


Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at http://www.MarilynSherman.com

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Wow, yes, Marilyn. A fine line – but one easily recognizable in this situation for sure!  Makes me want to rethink taking my cell phone to the ball game when I go with my son!  My excuse was "what if someone needs me." Hmmm. 

  2. Thank you, Marilyn, for bringing up a subject I tend to forget – the need to disconnect from the work every now and then. You are right – it is one thing to be there for your customers – and another to be there every second. That's asking a bit much. And you can be there for your customers when they need you, if you just establish some boundaries up front – with a statement as simple as "I am so looking forward to this new business relationship. The best hours for me to give you my full attention are between 8 and 5. What are the best times when you would like to hear from me?"   Too often our idea of good customer service isn't the same as their idea. Thanks for sharing Marilyn! I think there are probably a lot of motivational speakers out  there like me who never really stop working – and  need the reminder to hit the pause button and go work out. 

    • It's funny that when I posted this on FB, the comments were that people were more offended that he didn't leave the yoga room instead of the point of just turning off the phone for an hour.  I guess,  I could have stressed the need for more balance in our lives and one way to do that is through setting boundaries, just like you mentioned above Kelly.  And Linda, It's okay to disconnect too while at the ballgame and just enjoy being there with your son.  Of course, if my phone rang, I'd probably look first to see who it was before I chose to answer or not.  Wow, I should re-read my own stuff!

  3. You have all inspired me to go to the beach today without my cell phone! Talk to you LATER!

  4. Thanks Marilyn for the reminder of what we are doing and why! Love the topic of customer service and am passionate about helping others see the need to serve their customers, but we all have to know when "enough is enough." No, I don't take my phone to Zumba, and yes there is time for family and friends; even though I am actively running a company.  It is a "blending" thing, and also the motive has to be clear, or obsession can creep in!  Written by a "recovering workaholic!"  Thanks and have a great week-end!


  5. I can learn a thing or two from that obsessed 26 year old.  I tend to misplace it, let it run out of batteries, forget to turn the volume back up, geeze, I better get a little more passionate!

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