This guest post is from Ian Beeson, managing director of Blanchard International, Australia.
Every interaction we have with a service provider leaves us with some sort of emotional response, from neutral and bland to deep anger and frustration at one extreme, joy and delight at the other.
We’ve all felt the stress associated with a provider whose customer experience is unresponsive and sometimes downright antagonistic—and the health effects of stress are well documented.
So are you killing your customers with stress and hostility? What are some straightforward steps you can take to nurture their long-term well-being? And why should you care?
Much has been written on the profit impact of customer service. Ken Blanchard sometimes describes profit as “the applause you get for delivering Legendary Service to your customers.” But there is a more simple, subtle, and powerful aspect to customer care. Customers will naturally move toward experiences that meet…
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When you look at all of the stats pointing to the low levels of employee engagement in the US and around the world, you might start to believe that people are naturally lazy and disengaged—or that people wouldn’t work if they didn’t have to.
But that’s not true. In fact, that kind of misinterpretation of the research can lead to assumptions that actually perpetuate disengagement, such as the concept of organizations needing to use incentives, rewards, promotions, praising, perks, status building, pay raises, games, competition, or prizes to get anything accomplished.
Knowing the truth behind the nature of human motivation will not only help you reframe the research and rethink your basic beliefs, it will also allow you to embrace new practices that result in employee engagement and work passion. Let me explain.
People’s Basic Nature is to Thrive
In the 2014 movie Gravity, Sandra Bullock’s character goes into…
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Habits are a time saver. They function a bit like reading a large paper map and knowing where to go with a single glance instead of having to rotate the map and trace the route to the destination with your finger.
But sometimes there’s a downside to this kind of efficiency. Sometimes the fast way doesn’t work and we go off course. Such is the case with a great many approaches to motivating employees. Just when the situation calls for deliberation and a different approach, our habits kick in and we again head down the route that is fast and easy, but a bit off course.
One of my coaching clients recently worked through such a situation. He had been leading a team for five years and for that whole time, no matter what the task, goal, or situation, he attacked it—pushing, leaning in, and constantly pressing ahead as was…
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As Bob Farrell, founder of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant, said in his well-known and excellent Customer Service video “Give ‘Em The Pickle”: “How you think about the customer is how you will treat them.” With this in mind, “3 Ways to Create a Service Mindset in Your Organization—and how one person can make a difference!” by Kathy Cuff is an important article because mindset (and heart-set, for that matter) matters! Mindset is a key differentiator and one of the primary reasons that one team member goes above and beyond, expresses empathy and compassion, finds joy and meaning in what they do for your organization, etc. and why the team member standing right next to them may not.
Customer Service—it is found in every industry, every company, every person’s job, at every moment. If you don’t deal directly with the external customer, you interact with and serve your internal customers throughout the day. What I love the most is when people get it—when they take pride and ownership in what they do, and they do it with a smile. Let me share my latest experience with you.
I recently moved—only a few streets away, but a move nonetheless with all the hassle, packing, and work that goes with it. Well, being the “just in time” gal that I am, I didn’t turn in our change of address form to the U.S. Postal Service until the day after we moved, so our mail was delayed getting to us.
About a week or so after our move, I realized we had not received a very important piece of mail—my husband’s…
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Have you ever hibernated? Do you consider “hibernation” as an essential practice in your life? While the concept may seem strange or odd since humans don’t hibernate like others in the animal kingdom, the purpose behind hibernation is well worth our reflection and consideration. In his blog “Make Time for Personal Renewal — 4 Strategies for the New Year” John Hester makes the critical connection between rest and renewal and productivity: “When people don’t take time out, they stop being productive” (Carisa Bianchi). A few years ago after making a major life change, I found myself craving time out; it was during this several month period that I connected the practice of hibernation by some in the animal kingdom to our human need for rejuvenation and restoration. I have come to appreciate the cold, snowy, and sometimes brutal winter days here in the Upstate New York region precisely because it has helped me give myself permission to sit, reflect and regenerate. In fact, between December and the end of March, on weekends — when possible — I set as my intention to park my car inside the garage late Friday afternoon as I return from work and not move it again until Monday morning when I venture back out to start another work week. There’s something freeing, healing, and re-energizing about this practice! If you have a similar practice in your life or if you are interested in incorporating one, I encourage you to read John Hester’s brief blog highlighting four strategies for making time for personal renewal in this New Year.
I started experiencing back pain around the time I turned 50. When I went to the doctor she told me, “John, you are at that age where every morning you will wake up with pain somewhere.” Wow! Talk about a wake-up call. Luckily, she didn’t leave it at that. She also gave me some specific stretching and strengthening exercises to help with the pain—and when I take the time to do them, they do help.
The reality is that without care and attention, things break down – our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. As we start this new year, I suggest that we each increase our capacity by taking time to regularly renew ourselves in each of the four dimensions of life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
- Increasing or maintaining your physical capacity
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Ann Phillips, in her blog “Do you have a customer service mindset? 3 ways to find out,” offers a very engaging and simple approach to service and the importance of relating to our customers out of our own expectations, hopes, values, preferences and the like but rather through theirs. For example, using the Golden Rule that is held up as an universal standard for how to treat others provides a basic framework for empathy and compassion — shifting the locus focus from self to others — and yet falls short because our expectations, hopes, interests, values, etc. are still the guiding light. Phillips invites her readers to consider another, more customer-centric, framework and offers very practical examples that convincingly make her point. To read her article, click here.
- “Do unto others as you would have _____ ___ _____ ____.” (Yes, the Golden Rule)
- “Beauty is in the eyes of ____ _________.”
- “If it were me, this is what __ ______ ___.”
I trust you were able to complete these very common sayings. While well meaning and mostly true, these are not just sayings, they are mindsets. They are beliefs that determine behavior and how we act toward other people. This is all fine except when it comes to service.
Find your focus
In my last blog, I said that service was all about you: your willingness to serve, your decision to serve, your instinct to serve. But what you do—your actual behavior and how you approach a situation—has to be about the customer, if you are genuinely interested in wanting your customer to feel…
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The small/little things do really make a difference! In this blog, Kathy Cuff is one of the principal authors – together with Vicki Halsey – of The Ken Blanchard Companies Legendary Service training program share three simple (small/little) ways to make someone’s holiday a little brighter. In the end, and as I recently wrote in a blog published by Hospital Impact, the decision to SERVE others begins with the desire to see/look, hear, feel, etc. through the eyes, ears, heart, mind, etc. of others, the empathy that connects us to what we see, hear, and feel, and the choice to put the heart’s empathy into action. As I recently tweeted, “Compassion is our heart’s empathy in action” and is a core competency necessary for optimizing healing healthcare.
As we enter into the holiday season, I always remind myself to try and be on my best behavior and keep my patience while out doing my holiday shopping. So when I read the story about the New York City police officer who used his own money to buy a homeless man a pair of shoes and socks, it reminded me that in the busiest of times, we ALL need to take a moment and look around us and see where WE can provide a random act of kindness.
Customer service is just that—SERVING others to make their day a little brighter, a little better. Create a memory, a story, a moment that someone might tell someone else about.
Now, I am not suggesting that we all go out and try to do something for someone else just to get on YouTube—that certainly was never the intent of that…
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