I woke up at 4:45 this morning with too many thoughts and a two-part question in my mind: What creates great customer service, and why has this diminished so much over the years?
The answer, I think, is not so apparent, and one that we as employers and employees must reflect upon. Especially because the business world has become so unfortunately corporate and impersonal, and metrics have been created to measure “customer service.” Managing toward those metrics has caused businesses to lose sight of the human beings on the receiving end.
That being said, there are two viewpoints I would like to discuss: 1) that from the standpoint of the employee, and 2) that from the standpoint of the employer.
First and foremost, as an employee, we need to take personal responsibility for our jobs and our actions. With that in mind, we consider the employee and the question of what creates great customer service. This higher calling should include something other than simply collecting a paycheck.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said this: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” And in the words of the Apostle Paul of the early Christian church: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working unto God, not for human masters.” You see, regardless of the work we do, we have the opportunity to impact those around us simply by the quality of our work, and our attitude about the work we do.
As employers, it is our job to “paint the picture” for the team; to give them a reason for the work they are doing. For instance, do you sell insurance? If so, why? And please don’t answer, “it’s for the money” or “because everyone needs it.” You should also have a “higher calling” as a reason for owning a business, or leading employees. And then, you should be able to communicate that to your employees and inspire them to do their jobs well.
Do you have a purpose and a meaning behind what you do? If the answer is “yes” then you will have the drive and endurance necessary to lead and manage during the tough times, regardless of what that proverbial “tough” time is.
Whether you are an employee or employer, we all need to recognize the fact that regardless of our title or position, we are all influencers. Our actions and attitudes affect everyone we come in contact with (co-workers, customers, family, friends, etc.), and based on those two variables, we give an impression about who and what our company is, and who we are as well. This in turn translates into either a good customer experience or a bad one.
Unfortunately, the views above are countercultural these days, and I believe, a reason for why good customer service has diminished. A large majority of people simply does not take pride in what they do anymore. We see almost daily talk about raising the minimum wage because it will “help with employee engagement.” I hate to say this, but no it won’t. We will just have higher paid, unmotivated employees.
And I blame this on employers AND employees. As an employer, we need to give our team something to work for. And as employees, it is our job to find a reason for working other than a paycheck. Because if we simply work for money, we will never be consistent- our attitudes will ebb and flow constantly according to what we make.
So, in closing, I urge employers and employees to find a “higher calling” in what you’re doing today. Let that higher calling motivate you to have a good attitude and a quality work ethic. In so doing, you will create great customer service and have a positive impact on the world around you.
– Written by Aaron Getty