Yesterday, I went to my favorite retail store to pick up a pair of silver hoop earrings for my friend’s birthday. While there, I saw a lot of little things that felt new and fresh. I asked my usual salesperson (who has been there forever), “What is different around here? It feels spacious and inviting!” She lit up and shared that there was a new manager and he was empowering store associates to take charge of their departments and share their best ideas for “wowing” customers.
We chatted about how the new direction had impacted her and she said that she now looked forward to coming to work. She proceeded to show me a new display of jewelry on the counter (as opposed to behind/under the counter where it had been before) that she had influenced. She also pointed to the new purse display that her friend had created. Wow!
Let’s dissect this interaction in terms of consistently delivering the Legendary Service you want your organization to be known for.
- It is important to remember that people thrive when they feel their work is meaningful, when they have a chance to grow, and when they feel autonomous and recognized for their contributions. The salesperson was very excited to share with me that she had a new manager who acknowledged her ideas and allowed her to implement them. The truth is, a new manager can bring a real sense of hope to a team. If you are a manager who has been with your team for a while, think about this and ask yourself: What outdated or ineffective patterns of management behavior could I freshen up in order to lift my team and inspire them anew?
- On a regular basis, whether they serve internal or external customers, ask your people for their ideas on how to improve customer service. This will keep them always thinking of new ways to create a better customer experience. This is the backbone of Legendary Service: creating a culture that inspires people to think: If I were in charge, what would I do to serve customers at the highest level?
- Because your frontline people interact with customers every day, they are at the forefront of knowing what your customers want. Take advantage of what they know! When they share their ideas with you, act on those ideas whenever possible. My service provider’s idea was that customers would be happier if they could actually touch the jewelry, instead of having to wait in line for her to show them different pieces. Her new manager empowered her to act on her idea—so she took lower priced, but still sparkly and beautiful earrings, necklaces, and bracelets and created six different displays on the counter. The result? Sales have increased and customers are happier—they can now have fun matching jewelry to their new outfits!
How can you update your management style? Can you promote a Legendary Service culture by asking front-liners for ideas, and accelerating those ideas into action? As we move into a new quarter, think about what you can do to inspire innovative, customer-centric ideas and let your people know they matter. They will appreciate the opportunity and you’ll be surprised at the great ideas they come up with to serve and delight customers!
Dr.Vicki Halsey is VP of Applied Learning and coauthor (together with Ken Blanchard and Kathy Cuff) of the new book, Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care now available in bookstores everywhere. You can read an excerpt from the book, download an online quiz, and learn more about Legendary Service at this book page.