Customer Service—it is found in every industry, every company, every person’s job, at every moment. If you don’t deal directly with the external customer, you interact with and serve your internal customers throughout the day. What I love the most is when people get it—when they take pride and ownership in what they do, and they do it with a smile. Let me share my latest experience with you.
I recently moved—only a few streets away, but a move nonetheless with all the hassle, packing, and work that goes with it. Well, being the “just in time” gal that I am, I didn’t turn in our change of address form to the U.S. Postal Service until the day after we moved, so our mail was delayed getting to us.
About a week or so after our move, I realized we had not received a very important piece of mail—my husband’s paycheck! I was a bit anxious to get it since we had some bills on an automatic payment plan, so I waited for the postal carrier the next day to see if it was in the mail. To my dismay, it was not there, so I thanked the carrier and went inside.
Deciding I needed a Plan B, I got in my car and drove around the neighborhood, looking for the mail carrier again. I found her one street over, pulled up to the truck, and explained my situation. She pulled out a piece of paper, wrote her name down on it, and instructed me to go to the post office in town between 9:00 and 9:30 the next morning to check on the mail. She explained that the mail gets sorted first thing in the morning, so if I go in at that time I might be able to catch it as our mail usually doesn’t get delivered until around 3:30 p.m.
When I went to the post office the next morning and started explaining my situation to the woman at the counter, she said “Oh, Kristen told me about you. She set your mail aside for you and said you would be by to get it.”
Kristen, my mail carrier, had gone out of her way before her shift started for the day to check on my mail and have it ready for me that morning. This was not written in her job description, nor was it a task given to her by her manager—it was just her way of showing her customer that she cared enough to take that extra step. Another perfect example how one person can make a difference!
So leaders, my questions for you are very simple:
- Do your team members feel empowered to go “outside of the box” and check on something for a customer without asking for permission?
- Do they have the freedom to make things right if they are wrong?
- Do you praise them when they take this type of initiative?
Kristen made me a believer in our postal service again—not because I got the check (which I did, thank goodness), but because she went out of her way to help.
About the author:
Kathy Cuff is a senior consulting partner and one of the principal authors—together with Vicki Halsey—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Legendary Service training program.