UNDERSTANDING the significance of this concept is critical especially as we traverse this pandemic. How we refocus our energies will become critical. We must be prepared for a new normal when businesses reopen and, consequently, we must start to chart a new way forward if our businesses are to survive.
The external perspective on Great Customer Service can be defined as the provision of exceptional care and exceeding the expectations of customers in such a way that customers feel content and gratified. This level of contentment taps into their psyche and how they feel, and thereby motivates them to return.
However, in our eagerness and ongoing quest to cultivate and execute on the above concept of great service, we have inadvertently forgotten a key component in ensuring competitive and sustainable great customer service in the workplace. In a world that has significantly morphed into higher customer demands and expectations, we can no longer preach great service without a formula to ensure a consistent and sustainable model of success.
The chief component in ensuring that we are able to serve our customers in such a way that they choose us every time depends on our human resource; our team members.
What this simply means is that your team members can only provide the best version of customer care to external customers if they understand and feel what it means to receive great service from their company (their leaders). Therefore, it is important to understand, that to excel at the art of providing outstanding customer service we must first nurture and coach this level of service internally. This in turn adds a substantial amount of value to how great service is executed. So often we hear the somewhat clichéd statement that a company’s goal is to provide great customer service, only to be approached by a member or members of staff who in no way embody this ideal. As customers ourselves, we tend to believe that this individual(s) is disgraceful and should not be serving customers and therefore reported, and whilst our perception might be correct, we have to allow our thinking to extend beyond what we see. As leaders when we receive these reports we tend to immediately think that the employee is not suitable, instead of analysing where we fell short, or how the internal environment and culture that we are responsible for could have led to this scenario.
Consequently, it is extremely important to ensure that what we wish to portray on the outside is what we portray on the inside. In the end, “there are no bad employees, only bad managers,” and we need to understand the significance of this statement as it pertains to our daily actions as leaders.
Therefore, in an effort to grow a culture that harnesses and perpetuates great service and care externally we must recondition our minds to accept that this reality can only find a place in our organization if we are able to nurture this reality internally. When this is achieved the great care and service provided is automatic. Simply, in order for a child to demonstrate love he or she must know what love is. This is the same as customer care. Our team members need to know what it feels like intrinsically to be cared for by their employers to then show this same care and concern to their customers.
In today’s world all customers expect high levels of service. Customers have more choices than ever before, and their choices have an immediate impact on the bottom line. Customers today know that you need them more than they need you and the most compelling differentiating factor in whether they choose another company over you is how well “you serve” them.
Over time, your employees naturally become your best marketing ambassadors. They sell your products and services because they want you to survive, because they want to continue to be part of your team. But the culture of this service starts with the leaders in that team. “A leader leads by example, not by force.”
Great Internal Service leads to Great External Service. There is a direct correlation.
— V. Kim Eugene, B.Sc in HRM, MBA (HRM)
Chief Human Resource Consultant
HRM Mapping Consulting Inc.