THE GREATEST CUSTOMER SERVICE STRATEGY
Smiling is important. Eye contact
matters. Patience is essential. Being warm and friendly is a must. And
providing a positive emotional experience for your customers is a
But these are not the greatest of
customer service strategies. Ironically the greatest of all strategies
has nothing to do with customers and everything to do with employees.
The Greatest Strategy is this: Great customer service begins with being employee focused first and
customer focused second. If you treat your employees well, they will
treat their customers well.
Too often businesses, hospitals,
restaurants and organizations focus all their energy on the customer
while ignoring the very employees that serve their customers. This may
work in the short run but eventually employees become tired, burned out,
negative and resentful.
One time I was speaking to leaders of a
hospital and was told that they were doing patient satisfaction surveys
as a way to improve nurse performance. "What about nurse satisfaction
surveys," I asked. "No we're not doing that," they said. The problem was
clear. Measuring patient satisfaction will not make nurses more
energized, positive and attentive.
Patient satisfaction will go up when nurse satisfaction goes up.
I have found that organizations who
deliver the best service also have the best culture where employees are
valued, listened to and cared for and in turn these employees value,
care for and serve their customers.
For example, a number of my banking,
retail and restaurant clients have significantly improved revenue and
service by focusing on and measuring employee engagement. You can
literally track their growth and improved performance with their
improvement in engagement. And companies such as Southwest Airlines
have built their success on the foundation of an employee-first culture.
Of course we need to train our
employees to do all the things that make for a great customer
experience. There are great books on the essentials of creating a great
customer experience. But most of all remember that if you model great
service, your people will share it.
So, if you want your team to serve, serve them.
If you want your people to care, care about them.
If you want your team to love their work, love them.
If you want your employees to be their best, give them your best.
If you take care of your people they will take care of your customers.
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