Leadership for Life – Customer Service

By on September 16, 2013
Leadership for Life - Customer Service

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

Is it a leader’s responsibility to personally monitor customer service? I think it is.

As a leader, you set the example for your employees, and model the behaviors you want them to emulate. Are there any behaviors more important than those dealing with taking care of customers? Probably not. After all, your customers keep you in business, and if they’re not taken care of, they do business elsewhere. Elementary, my dear (you know who).

There are two ways a leader can improve the customer experience. First is to interact directly with customers. You can wander the sales floor or call customers directly and have a chat.

  • Are you pleased with our products/services? Why? Why not?
  • Have we met all your expectations?
  • Is there anything else we can do?
  • How can we improve your experience?
  • Feel free to call me any time. My direct line is _____________.

You’re too busy? What, you can’t spare 30 minutes a week for a call or two? You can’t say hello to a customer on the sales floor and thank them for coming into the store?

Another way to improve the customer experience is to improve the employee experience. Have you seen “The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch ’em Kick Butt” by Hal Rosenbluth and Diane McFerrin Peters? The premise of this interesting book is that when you treat your employees well, they treat the customers well. You want details? Read the book. (Hint: Paying employees more money is not the #1 priority.)

Achieve-Global, the big training vendor, surveyed several thousand people world-wide, and discovered:

“Survey respondents were extremely clear about what matters, and the priority of what matters, to them. What matters most is the emotional impact of their interactions with front-line employees:

  • In every country surveyed, respondents told us that being heard and respected are more important than having their issue resolved.
  • Forty-six percent of all respondents identified ‘rudeness or indifference,’ and 50 percent identified ‘no concern for my problem’ among their top three negative in-person behaviors.
  • Only 25 percent of respondents worldwide said that employees ‘make me feel they are on my side.’”

Sounds suspiciously like soft skills problems, doesn’t it? Don’t get me started.

So, is it the leader’s job to take care of customers? What do you think? No really – what do you think? Feel free to call me any time. My direct line is (314) 539-5329. Or send email (bschapiro@stlcc.edu).

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

One Comment

  1. Audace Machado

    September 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Dear Schapiro,
    I am a Humphrey Fellow at University of Maryland, and being taking some communication
    and educational/leadership classes,
    I was so happy to read about your blog, article entitled ” Leadership for Life – Customer Service ”
    I just wanted to ask why you don’t take in consideration the context and kinds of works,
    though, as a journalist, I totally agree that money itself is not enough : in my country (Burundi) and in other
    some places, I wonder if endangered journalists may just rely to the money they are paid to feel
    satisfaction. It also maybe some other kinds of careers or works.
    Although I have never taken an employer’s position (in any enterprise, except my small family ),
    as employee and independent -some times- “world citizen”, I am so happy to read you when you “demystify ”
    the money in some contexts, even if, “Money Talks”.

    Thanks again for the thought.

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