Editor’s Note: This guest post is by Hunter Young.
Think about this past week. Did you go to a business where you received below average customer service? Did it make you feel unwanted? Did you feel like leaving right then? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re not alone. Thousands if not millions of customers receive poor customer service every day.
Customers should always be the top priority for every business. Whether you are selling cheeseburgers or Louis Vuitton purses, your main focus should be your customer. Why? Because customers fuel your business—in fact, without them, there is no business.
In her webinar Taking a Top-Down, Bottom-Up Approach to Service in Your Organization, Vicki Halsey explains the importance of Legendary Service®—the title of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ customer service training program as well as the book coauthored by Halsey, Kathy Cuff, and Ken Blanchard. The focus of the webinar is the importance of caring for your customers. Halsey and Cuff use the acronym CARE for qualities needed in a service provider: Committed, Attentive, Responsive, and Empowered. These four elements of Legendary Service® are the core values everyone should follow when dealing with customers—whether you are a manager behind the scenes or a customer-facing service provider on the front lines.
First, you must have a clear goal in mind, Halsey explains. “All good performance starts with clear goals.” Your goals give you a service vision that sets the stage for how you will treat your customers. And remember: you must Commit to serving both your internal and external customers.
Although it is extremely important to give your external customer the best experience possible, serving your internal customers—your peers and direct reports—is just as crucial. Because as a manager, if you don’t demonstrate a sense of caring for your employees, how can you expect your employees to care about your customers? “You have to treat your people the way you want them to treat your customers,” says Halsey. It starts with the top leaders and goes all the way to the front line.
Attentive is the next element in the Legendary Service® model. Once you have clear goals in mind for your service vision, you must identify your customers’ wants and needs. Attentive service providers ask questions, actively listen, and then confirm that they understand.
The next step is to be Responsive. Actions speak louder than words. Doing what you say you’ll do will exceed a customer’s expectations and increase the chance they will return. And don’t forget to express your appreciation to the customer. After all, they could have easily gone to one of your competitors instead of to your business.
The last element in the Legendary Service® CARE model is Empowerment. As a manager, you should empower people to take initiative, ask for the help they need to succeed, and share innovative ideas. You will unleash the full extent of your power when you empower others. Even when it seems impossible, turn that “I can’t” into “How can I…?”
Halsey explains that the best leaders are situational. The Situational Leadership® II model can help a manager identify the amount of direction and support an employee needs at their current development level on a particular task or goal.
Here are some takeaways from Halsey’s webinar:
- The most effective leadership is a partnership.
- Work together with your employees to set a service vision.
- Teaching is very different from telling.
- Set goals, stay connected, and give feedback.
- If your employee does not know the most effective way to complete a task, first work with them to find the best way to do it effectively and then build a platform for them to be able to work through the task in the future.
Following these simple guidelines with your employees will go a long way for individuals, customers, and the business as a whole. Providing Legendary Service will have a more positive impact than you can imagine.
If you would like to learn more about Legendary Service® and Situational Leadership® II, follow this link to view Halsey’s webinar presentation.
About the Author
David Witt is a Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.More Content by David Witt