How can optimism make your service stand out?
Let’s say your customer isn’t happy with something. Perhaps the food wasn’t what they expected. Maybe parking was really horrible to even get to your place. Or maybe something they bought just didn’t measure up.
Whatever the issue, they complain, slightly, or a bit more. Whatever the complaint, optimism makes a very real difference for this simply reason: optimism means no need for hesitation. Let me explain.
Hesitation is very natural when you have to figure it out. But when your service policy is grounded in the idea of finding a way to say yes, the normal hesitation is replaced with a confident belief that every problem can, and indeed will, be solved, because solutions means several things:
1. You’ll do everything you can to say yes instead of no;
2. You’ll do everything possible to meet your customer’s needs and desires;
3. You’ll use your positive attitude and communication skills to convey your ownership of the situation.
When you hesitate, you’re pressing the pause button. All customers want to know is that they matter, you’ll fix it, and you’ll of course be fair about it. Your hesitation suggests thinking through options, which, of course you need to do, as soon as you assure the customer that yes, of course, you’ll be able to solve this problem for them.
It’s a great time to say, Yes, we will!
There's one thing I never heard in any of the nearly 100 customer focus groups and employee retreats I have conducted in my business. I have never heard a single person, ever, say they were thanked too much.
I have seen people feel underappreciated, and frankly, unappreciated. I have seen a woman stop supporting a nonprofit because she felt taken for granted. Her name was on one of the buildings downtown in that community.
And she was right. I volunteered alongside her and watched her knowledge of the market get used to make a huge difference. I saw her plan and execute a tremendously successful event to celebrate a milestone in the organization's history. And I heard her offer advice on how much to solicit from key people, because she knew who had money in that town.
And then she resigned. She had not heard thank you very much.
She didn't want a plaque for her wall or desk. She didn't want a huge public thank you. She simply wanted her work to be appreciated by staff and fellow board members
I have actually heard managers say they feared thanking employees would go to their heads and they'd expect more from them. Thankfully, they didn't last long in their jobs as managers.
Gratitude changes us. It helps us feel more joy in our work. Feeling appreciated changes us. Just read a few surveys by the Gallup organization. Gratitude is critical for feeling engaged in the workplace, and feeling engaged is critical to giving great service.
This month, remember the role of gratitude. Find ways to incorporate gratitude into your organization in ways that teach employees to express thanks to customers. And that will make the spirit of Thanksgiving something last beyond November 30.
In honor of National Customer Service Week, I first want to thank each and every one of my readers who delivers great service to customers and co-workers, as well as to all of you who INSPIRE great service every day. Thank you for making a very real difference in the world. We need it.
If, like me, you believe in the good stuff of life: harmony, profits, teamwork, having fun (OK, it’s a short list for today, but you get it, right?), then you can easily see how customer service impacts our lives.
When we serve with patience, we ARE patient! And have you ever heard anyone at a dinner table criticize their parent for being patient with them???
When we serve to help others, we ARE being a great team member. Have you ever seen someone criticize the teamwork that led to a great concert, a great football game, or even a great rummage sale?
OK…so you don’t go to rummage sales. That’s OK. I’ll bet you know a lot of people who do.
It always requires patience to deal with people who aren’t like us, because, well, WE ARE PEOPLE!!!! We’re complicated. OK? WE don’t always intend to be that way, we just are.
But your patience to another says something special: “You’re worth it!”
Isn’t that what you want your customers to feel? Your co-workers to believe? Your leadership team to know in their gut? Your customers are worth the effort, every day, to deliver your Service Brand Promise, an experience created by core values, like patience. Your Service Brand Promise is the reason you give them to keep coming back, to tell others how great you are, to decided to buy more from you. The magical three R’s of Customer Service: Retention, Referrals, Relationships, which help us with Redemption when we mess up, and absolutely build Revenue, which help us make a profit.
All of that from customer service.
A client wanted to build interaction and appreciation between departments to help his team sustain the quality service they provide. Here are three ideas I shared that you can use during Customer Service Week or any time. Even more than once a year!
First, thank your customers! Each employee ought to write at least one note to one customer, thanking them for being your customer. It connects your employees to service in a very nice way.
Second, have employees thank each other. My favorite way to do this is to have an employee gathering, like a meeting, and give each person three sticky notes and a pen. AFTER your inspirational talk on how they make a very real difference for customers by how they serve, create, etc., and how much you appreciate them, tell them it’s their turn. They get to write a thank you not to the person on their left, on their right, and one to anyone else in the organization. Post them all on a wall and let the reading begin!
Third, as much as is humanly possible, thank, in person, each of your team members. And for your bonus: send a thank you note to them at their home address so other members of their family can see the appreciation expressed.
They’re worth it. So are your customers, and so are you.
Happy Customer Service Week!
It is said that inner peace is the new success. Young leaders—and all of us were young once—seem to believe they can pay high prices for success without it really impacting their life.
Now we know better. However, that doesn’t mean we’re doing better. Stress is a killer. It actually releases cortisol that can lead to issues beyond heart disease. Taking care of yourself is not just a good idea, it’s critical.
I once asked a group of Baby Boomers what they most wish they’d known when they were in their 20’s and 30’s. They offered ideas related to simplifying, targeting and enjoying. Not one focused on making more money.
Making money is not bad. Making a life, however, is a great idea. You can do both. Here are three steps to get you started:
Self-awareness, self-care and self-love are critical for leaders who care about not only themselves and their families, but for your employees. Healthy employees cost less, perform better, and create better cultures. And healthy employees are happy employees. And that makes everyone’s journey better!
I am speaking next week to a national audience on the topic of self-care. This group is IT professionals whose service to their organizations makes it possible for them to succeed at what they do. Any pressure here?
It's hard to create a self-care practice when you're really busy. The irony is that being really busy creates many of the challenges that need to be overcome for self-care to be effective, to be real.
I'm sharing a Road MAP for self-care that anyone can use:
Mindset: Your self-care journey is your responsibility. You will succeed only if you own it. Ownership is a level higher than just being accountable for something. When you own it, you are in charge. Be in charge of your self-care.
Actions: Your self-care and mine may not be the same. I have to "walk my heart" and I have to "care for my brain" due to my family history of heart disease and my own traumatic brain injury. Events changed my life and forced me to take actions that will help me overcome and live my best life. Your positive mindset says you can choose actions good for your body, your mind, and your soul. Choose well!
People: Yes, you are doing this for you. But a wonderful "why" for this journey is the fact that you are not an island. You have people you love and work with and serve. Think of it as circles. You're the inner circle, and like ripples on a lake, your self-care practice goes out, affecting those you love, work with, serve, etc.
There are many great inspiring reasons to practice self-care. Perhaps the best is summed up in the message above: If you don't make time for your health and wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness. Be pro-active. Make the time for you and your self-care for another very simple reason: you're worth it!
Dee Dee has helped create and coach "customer care" programs and cultures for healthcare, government, travel, financial services, plumbing, retail, publishing, automotive and entire communities.