In an earlier post I referenced the golden rule—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—and suggested when it comes to customer service, you need to move up to the platinum rule—“Do unto others as they would like to be done to.” As leaders, many of you told me you were going to share that idea with your staff. Good idea!
Now, I have a version of the golden rule I would like to share specifically with you in your role as a leader:
“Do unto your direct reports as you would have them do unto your customers.”
One of the primary drivers of customer devotion and retention is the quality of the relationship the frontline staff has with customers. As a leader, what’s the best way you can impact the service your customers receive from your staff? It’s simple. Model the behavior you want to see in your people. Our research has shown that employees’ willingness to create positive relationships with their customers is a direct reflection of the relationship they have with you, their leader.
If you want your staff to care for, and about, your customers, you have to care for, and about, your staff. If you want your people to be service-minded and work to create loyal, committed, Raving Fans customers, you have to be willing to do the same for them.
Creating a Personal Connection
How’s your current relationship with your people? Could it use a boost? Here are three ways to get started.
1. Take some relational risks. Find out what matters to your people—yes, each one of them. (People are different—that pesky DNA!) In this case, apply the platinum rule, or at least a version of it. “Care for your people the way they want to be cared for.”
2. See people differently. People are not a part, component, or even an asset of the organization. As Ken Blanchard says, “People are the organization—everything else is assets.” We may love automation, but somewhere along the line flesh and blood will get involved—whether it be to flip the switch the very first time, to write the initial code to be programmed, or to double-check the self-service receipt.
3. Make sure your people know the difference they make in the lives of others. Staff should have a direct line of sight from what they’re doing (no matter what it is) to the impact that job or activity has on the customer. Help your people make that connection.
Take Care of the People Who Take Care of Your Customers
People may get paid by the organization, but they work for you. Great customer service is a relationship—an emotional connection that is built between a customer and your company. The people who create and maintain that relationship on the organization’s behalf are your frontline people. The quality of that relationship is a direct reflection of the relationship your staff has with you.
If you want your people to care about your customers, you have to care about your people. Get started today!
About the author:
Ann Phillips is a Senior Consulting Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies where she specializes in consulting and keynoting on customer loyalty, employee engagement, leadership, organizational change, and team building.