4 Leadership Characteristics for Customer Service.
4 Leadership Characteristics That Inspire a Spirit of Customer Service.
Written by: Robert Moran
Today’s consumer holds high expectations of the products and services they purchase. These ever-changing consumer demands put the pressure on companies to deliver excellent customer service. All. The. Time. Or they’ll go somewhere else.
As a leader within your organization, you understand the importance of uncompromising service at each customer contact point. You’ve expressed it in every memo, team meeting and off-site retreat. But how do you inspire a spirit of service excellence in your staff?
Extraordinary service doesn’t happen magically. Weaving a strong spirit of customer service into the fabric of your organizational culture requires great leadership. Here are four essential practices you can put to work right now to start building a service culture in your organization.
“All leaders lead by example, whether they intend to or not.” ~ Unknown
We’ve all known great leaders who have inspired us to reach higher throughout our lives. In demonstrating congruency between their words and their actions, those leaders have shown us how to behave in the workplace. As a leader, you are the living, breathing embodiment of your organization’s service vision. Every move you make is judged by your staff for good or ill. Let them know you care which way they mark your ledger by getting involved with service delivery. In your interactions with every individual,be positive, practice empathy, engage in active listening, follow-up and follow-through.
2. Embrace the spirit of inclusion.
Your team members are full of ideas on how to improve service to your customers. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re the ones most intimately involved with the customer every day. So how do you find the ideas that will work best? Ask them. A genuine interest in gathering feedback from the people you lead builds trust between the team. And when leaders include front-line employees in process improvement activities (ie: delivering better customer service) from the very beginning stages, they build buy-in. This higher level of engagement from step one commits each individual to the change the process and contributes to the overall success of every task.
3. Measure what matters.
What gets measured, gets done. Determine what matters to your customers by gathering feedback from all available channels. Then take that feedback to your team and brainstorm ways to modify internal processes and behaviors to deliver better customer service. Put measurements in place for processes that are critical to customer satisfaction.
4. Recognize excellence.
Leaders are quick to applaud their all-star players in public, but recognition and rewards can often ring hollow if they’re merely a fleeting repose from the daily grind of your office culture. A pizza party, a plaque on the wall, even cold, hard currency can be too little, too late if employees don’t enjoy coming to work for you. So find out what motivates each individual and do the little things that exceed their expectations. Write them a note. Talk to them in private with words of thanks and encouragement. Stand them up in front of the whole team and sing their praises. Recognizing excellent service will inspire your team to continue to deliver excellence to your customers.