Envision, Act and Receive
There’s a famous story involving a group of visitors to Walt Disney World. While walking through the Magic Kingdom, the individuals watched a gray-haired man go out of his way to pick up a piece of litter. One member of the group approached the man and asked, “How many custodians are there here?” The man replied, “45,000.” The next day, the group attended a “Traditions” meeting and the same gray-haired man was present. His name was Michael Eisner, former chairman and CEO of the Disney Company.
There is a strong link between leadership and great customer service. During my 10 years of delivering customer service training, I’ve observed that companies with effective leaders are more likely to have employees who deliver great customer service. Great leaders simply don’t talk about customer service—they demonstrate it for their employees. To run a successful business, management must adhere to the following guidelines:
• Envision what needs to be achieved. Few employees will support a customer service initiative that isn’t clearly defined. They need to understand why they are being asked to do something. Communicate your vision and let employees see what’s in it for them if they follow you.
• Delegate and empower. This doesn’t mean leaders should unload on their employees. Create structure, allocate responsibility, provide support and offer training and resources. Empower your staff by letting them make decisions. This is part of what makes people feel significant.
• Show respect. Treat employees as your primary customers. Successful business leaders are masters at keeping their people informed. Questions to ask include: “How are we doing?”; “What are we doing?”; and “What’s new?”. Newsletters and other internal communication tools should also be used to keep employees up-to-date and informed of the big picture. Key performance indicators are set and explained clearly to employees. Targets are set, and success is celebrated. As a result, a sense of community is created.
• Maintain energy in the office. Demonstrate passion for the company, your vision and customer service through your actions. Use strength and energy to work against the odds to achieve your vision. Create a buzz within the organization that keeps your team excited about providing great service.
Research conducted by the Strategic Planning Institute found businesses that provided excellent service grew twice as fast as those with poor service. Great service starts at the top of the organization and needs to be frequently reinforced through training and leading by example.
BY DEBRA J. SCHMIDT
Debra J. Schmidt, a.k.a. the Loyalty Leader, is a professional speaker, corporate trainer and author. She helps companies boost their profits by leading them to greater customer, employee and brand loyalty. Subscribe to Debra’s free e-mail newsletter packed with loyalty building tips by visiting www.loyaltyleader.com.