Service: What if it's not about ..."them"?
Service trainers and coaches most often make the point that service is about the customer. Listening to customer needs, responding with care, action and of course ... a smile. Then what happens, of course, is that everyone wants to hire the best "people persons", those that are attractive, comfortable with others and smile easily. Unfortunately the reality is that there are not enough of "those people" to go around. So what's a company to do?
I suggest changing the paradigm. What if it's not about customers and their needs? What if instead we approach the opportunity from another perspective - yours?
"How do we meet customer service needs?" is the wrong question. The right question that leaders need to ask of their teams is,"What do you like to do?" Let me be clear. Asking this question doesn't mean tasks don't get done. This one on one approach simply tackles business needs from a different angle.
I'm a believer that the real answer to service and business performance lies with individuals looking for, recognizing and taking responsibility for their development. If the search begins and ends with finding your talents and developing those into strengths, pursuing your passions and creating your story, then customers will find they are greeted with enthusiasm, smiles, care and concern. You see, it doesn't really matter if everyone is a "people person", those that are, are low hanging fruit. They are the obvious first choice.
The ones we call 'naturals' are building their talents into strengths, pursuing their passion and creating their story. But really that's just one category of a 'people person'.
For instance, my dry cleaner is Korean and speaks very little English, is not a natural smiler and isn't particularly talkative. BUT, he has a talent for faces and a passion for being precise. So even though I only go in about once a month (or less), he can go right to the clothes rack and find my clothes without any information from me. The work is always correct. He is very polite. The result of this customer care is that I don't use coupons, I don't go anywhere else and I have the rest of my family drive out of their way to take them business.
Or how about the dog groomer I just met? Not a smile on his lips and he didn't leave the dog he was working on to greet me. BUT he has a talent for observation and a passion for jeeps. He saw me drive up in my jeep and he enthusiastically launched into a jeep conversation that ended up with me bringing back a jeep parts catalog for his use in restoring his. So where am I most likely to take the dog to be groomed next time?
Find your talents, develop them into strengths. Recognize your passions and embrace them. This is not necessarily easy work for individuals or leaders - but only because it involves changing the way we interact with ourselves and others. But once started, the process works and the result is that we are happier, more productive, calmer and better service "naturals".
To your success,
"Create an environment where you can be significant as well as successful".