I have worked in customer service for most of my life. As a high school and college teacher, I was among the first to realize that I had customers.
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I have worked in customer service for most of my life. As a high school and college teacher, I was among the first to realize that I had customers. Later as manager of training and then director of quality in training for Kaset International, an award winning Times Mirror company that focused solely on service quality, I designed customer service training, trained customer service trainers, and consulted regularly with senior managers who were initiating service cultures in their organizations. I have written books on customer service, and I am in demand as a speaker worldwide on the topic.
During that time I have come to three realizations about customer service:
1. You cannot mandate customer service. Management can threaten, punish, train, reward, cajole, and yet if an employee does not want to give good service, it simply will not happen. I have seen the very best skills training programs installed, performance reviews that reflect service attributes, reward and bonus programs that are extraordinary, and even threats of job loss, yet some employees simply choose NOT to give good service.
2. Customer service comes from the inside out. As I have watched people at all levels in organizations throughout the world, both public and private, it has become very clear that in order for employees to give good service, we must win their hearts and spirits to WANT to serve, not out of loyalty to the organization but simply because they want to make the world a little better place.
3. Giving good service involves creative, iout of the boxi thinking. Those who give the best service do so by offering options, alternatives, and new ways of doing things. They bend the rules for their customers, and they ALWAYS meet the customeris human need for kindness, respect, and understanding even if they cannot in some creative way meet his or her business need.
What does this mean to you as a manager? Training, rewards, threats, and policies are not enough. First, you must hire wisely, and second, you must model the qualities you desire in your employees as you interact with them. How are you treating YOUR customers?
Barbara Glanz, an author and motivational speaker who resides in Siesta Key, works with organizations to improve morale, retention, and service. Her personal motto: Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm. She can be reached at [email protected], and her Web site is www.barbaraglanz.com.