There are three groups of people you need to take care of if you are going to create a customer-focused organization—but most companies only focus on one.
That’s a big mistake, say Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey, co-creators of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ new Legendary Service training program.
“Every organization knows they need to focus on the external customer—the person who buys their products or services—but they forget two other important groups of people who need care and attention,” says Cuff.
“Before you can care for your external customers, you need to take care of your own people,” says Halsey.
Taking care of your people means providing your frontline service personnel with the direction, support, and authority they need to serve your external customers.
“This starts with a clear service vision at both the organization and individual level—a vision that spells out who you serve, how you serve, and for what purpose. Surprisingly, 19 percent of the 500 people we recently surveyed told us their organization had only some degree of a defined service vision and an additional 14 percent said they had little or no published service vision to guide the actions of employees.”
“Once you have that vision in place, you need to train your people how to deliver on that vision. We teach the CARE model: being Committed to service, Attentive to customer needs, Responsive in providing service, and Empowered to take action.”
Halsey and Cuff also reinforce the importance of getting managers involved in a customer service initiative. Why? Because frontline service people usually care for customers the same way their managers care for them.
“We teach managers to use the same CARE principles in their approach to their people: to be Committed to serving their people, Attentive to their needs, and Responsive in providing direction and support, with a focus on Empowerment,” says Cuff.
“The final person you need to take care of to provide great service is yourself. We’ve all experienced service providers who didn’t have a service mindset. You can usually trace this back to something happening in their work environment. We teach frontline service personnel and managers how to speak up for themselves and take initiative to solve company problems and improve processes and policies instead of complaining about them.”
Halsey adds, “We also teach people the importance of self-care on a mental, physical, and motivational level to help them bring their best selves to work every day. It’s a holistic approach that brings out the best of everyone in the organization so that they can better serve the customer.”
Interested in learning more about Halsey and Cuff’s approach to improving service in your organization? Check out our customer service resource page at The Ken Blanchard Companies website where you will find eBooks, white papers, and interviews with both program authors. We also invite you to attend a complimentary webinar with Vicki Halsey on May 23: “Taking a Top-Down, Bottom-Up Approach to Service in Your Organization.” The event is free, courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies.
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