By Jeremy Koellish, COO
If I were to ask a room full of you and all your friends what the “golden rule” of customer service is undoubtedly the majority would shout out in unison, “the customer is always right”. I mean we were all given that directive from a boss at some point in time – whether it was waiting tables, answering phones or slinging burgers.
But if I were to ask you and your buddies if you guys really believed that philosophy, I guarantee you there would be hesitation and rumblings amongst the group because, for any of us who have spent time in customer service, we all recognize that something is missing from that model.
Here’s how to find that missing piece so you can empower your team to give exceptional customer service day in and day out:
Step 1: Eating Last
There is a leadership concept born out of the military that states ‘leaders eat last’. Intuitive, right? Of course, leaders eat last! This simple act demonstrates exactly what subordinates need to justify risking their lives: absolute and total loyalty and protection by their superiors. Flip this logic on its head and you’ll see that leaders who care only for themselves, their bottom-line or “outsiders” foster teams that are fractured, unhappy and, no surprise here, left without the internal resources to give to others. Clearly, most of us are not asking our teams to risk their lives on a daily basis, but if you are requiring them to provide great customer service then there is no denying that you are asking your teams to give a lot of themselves on a daily basis.
Step 2: Paying it Forward
It’s cliché, but there is truth to it, so I’ll roll with it here. We all know how hard it is to have patience and empathy when we’re worn out (parents are deeply acquainted with this truth), and providing excellent customer service requires a considerable amount of patience and empathy. Build your teams up by showing them that as a leader, you care about them, that you have their backs, that they come before anyone else and they will pay it forward to your clients I guarantee you, in a way that builds both employee and client loyalty.
Step 3: We are the Champions
Okay, okay, so many of us work in cozy offices where ‘eating last’ is not on the table (so to speak) as a legit way of proving your loyalty to your team…but bringing in lunch for your customer support champions is. And making yourself available to support your team through challenging client issues is, too. But don’t just take it from me, ask your customer service team what they need to feel supported and how they want to celebrate wins and then make it happen.