The 3 Secrets of Customer Service Champions
Have you ever had to wait for hours in the tax office queuing up to pay your well-earned money only to be met with an unhappy face that makes you feel as though you’re to blame for his unfortunate sacrifice that he refers to as employment? On the other hand, how many times did an angry customer leave you feeling stressed out and nearly on the edge?
Service jobs can be very stressful, and keeping your motivation is probably the largest challenge you will face. Still, there are those people that always manage to stay friendly, that always stay motivated: the so-called customer service champions. In our 3 years of interacting with service teams we noticed that these ‘champions’ did not differ from the others, they were not by nature more cheerful persons. Instead, we found that what separated the miserable, burnt-out group from the sun-is-always-shining service champions were 3 ways of how they perceived their jobs. Today we would like to share the 3 secrets in work philosophy that we think separate the miserable face at the tax office from a customer service champion.
1. Don’t Work For Your Boss
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairmanon down, simply by spending his money somewhere else” (Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart).
The first thing we found was that the happiest service employees did not care so much about the targets their bosses had set. Instead, they focused on the intrinsic values of their job. This doesn’t only count for service jobs, but was shown in a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, to hold true for every aspect in our lives: true happiness only comes through the pursuit of intrisincal-motivated goals. Working for your boss might keep you away from punishment, but the excelling champions set their own goals based on their values.
If you work in a hierarchical structure you may end up feeling like more of a working bee than an autonomous being, which may lead you to lose focus and passion for what you are doing. Part of placing the customer in the centre is doing it not only to satisfy your managers, but as a proactive will to defend consumer needs. Once you understand how your job impacts the satisfaction of your customers, you are prepared to think about how you can improve, starting from the basic tasks and routines.
Developing your personal happiness is very important when you are looking to improve your work performance, especially within customer service. As Shawn Anchor (the happiness researcher) talks about, a positive mind presents the so-called happiness advantage - your positive brain performs significantly better and your intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise
2. Align Your Company Strategy With Your Own
Our commitment and effort to develop something that we see as ours is much more consistent than the one we offer to stuff that we don’t profit from. We noticed that the most motivated employees saw the company they worked for almost as if it were their own. They knew and believed in the strategy, and through that had a very good idea of how they fitted in.
The first step is to align your own goals with company’s strategy. Many people don’t even know what the strategy of their company is. By taking the extra effort to dig for your company’s vision, values, strategy, and goals, you will understand why it is that your company does what it does, instead of just know what it does.
When you do so you’ll be able to free yourself from your cage, from your enclosed cubicle and open your mind to discover what your colleagues are doing. Seeing the bigger picture is what it takes for you to support your customers in a more holistic way, taking care of their needs with a broader notion and knowledge. The effort of seeing the company as your own will allow you to become more innovative and reach out for the overall company goals.
3. Develop Through Your Company
The final point that distinguished the motivated members of the service teams was that they saw the place they were in now as a point in their journey. Many times people are so concerned about our daily tasks that they forget to think about where it is leading them. Many people live their lives adhering to the standards of their jobs, and then complain when others are being promoted and moving on with their careers while they stay in the same position.
All the service champions on the other hand dedicated themselves to a life-long path of self-development. Leading your career includes developing yourself in different areas that can benefit your job performance and the company you work for.
A good way to look at it is by taking top athletes as an example, like Red Bull’s sponsored athletes. Winning is not only part of their personal desires, it’s also what gives them a paycheck at the end of the month and gives Red Bull the notoriety they look for when start sponsoring someone. However, what are these athletes thinking about when waking up at 5am to go out and practice? They are not thinking about Red Bull’s sales or about what their bosses expect them to do. They think about how can they overpass themselves, how can jump even higher than the day before or go a little further (their intrinsic goals).
What It Comes Down To
Sharpen yourself to be better in every little thing you do from professional and technical skills to simply trying to know better who your customers are and what are they getting with your service.
Every little thing you do in life should aim at allowing you to be happier. While you are at work many challenges might come to your desk, see them as an opportunity to defy yourself, to excel your own goals, to learn and to satisfy your customers. Actually, making customers happy is part of your job and doing it continuously will make you even happier (what a great cycle!), more productive and meaningful.
To be a champion, make sure you add value to everything you do for the company you work for. Challenge yourself and then be the first to praise your own results. Re-discover what makes you happy, small things or big deals, and follow them everyday.
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