Funny thing. Joan Fox started out her career playing with bacteria. Now, the former clinical microbiologist focuses on challenging companies to think creatively in how they improve customer service.
The Cincinnati consultant —  who describes the service that most consumers endure as “surly and slow” — is even the author of a new book, The Chronicles of Sir Vival: Customer Service Under Siege. It’s a somewhat tongue-firmly-in-cheek comparison of today’s service industry woes to life in a medieval village.
Fox puts it this way: “Sir Vival is the knight who fights for service. … I created a story where the villagers are leaving ‘Celelot.’ The quest to get them back is championed by Sir Vival and chronicled by a scribe who is less than excited by his job.”
At the heart of the “sell-a-lot” parables is that there is a distinct difference between customers “being served” and “feeling served.” The arrogance or indifference of today’s servers, like the ancient royalty living high atop the castle, drives customers/villagers to revolt or simply flee. “I had fun with the metaphors and the medieval imagery. I believe the reader will have fun, too.”
Among Fox’s suggestions? Make the villager feel important; listen attentively. Welcome complaints; don’t shoot the messenger. Reward good service. Don’t accidentally punish loyal customers in your search for new ones. And remember that what is simple to understand is not always easy to do.

Cincy magazine will throw in its own observation: City of Cincinnati managers should read this one. We avoid surly public servants like, well, the Black Plague.