Stop Serving Like You’ve Given Up

Guest post from Tony Johnson - Customer Service Speaker & Author

Today’s guest post is from Tony Johnson, named one of the top 10 customer service influencers. Thanks Tony.

Ever feel like those serving you are just mailing it in?  I feel like that fairly often – and having worked in the service industry for two decades, I tend to grade on a curve since I know how hard it is. I know five hundred things that can go wrong before the doors open and the pitfalls of dealing with labor issues, productivity targets, and supply chain difficulties.

Never Give Up

The worrisome part for most businesses is that guests don’t know how hard it is to serve them, and they honestly don’t care. They want to feel good about their decision to give you their hard earned money and they want the service for which they are paying.

For that they have to feel good about the people serving them.

Unless you are running a robot company with robot cashiers and robot workers, you will need to take ownership of what is likely your single biggest line item on the balance sheet – as well as one of the biggest differentiators in the market place – your people.

But you have to start with meaning that. You can’t blather on that your team is the most important thing to you then ignore them, under-train them, or

mistreat them. Doing that inspires all the confidence of a toothless dentist. There is no impact and definitely no honesty.

Employees are a pretty forgiving lot. They take a lot of guff from terrible leaders. And that is made even more terrible by the fact that front line associates will do most anything they can to get the doors open every day. You could fall off a cliff and likely they’ll spin the door sign from “closed” to “open” every morning. Now they may not be on time; they may not deliver the way you’d like; and they may make lots of mistakes. But they will give it their best efforts.

Honestly, I bet many of them feel like they are doing that already. They probably feel like they are working without leadership even they their bosses are in the office.

Imagine what would be possible if we lead them better. Just imagine. The true winners would be your guests and your bottom line.

Your teams are asking for three things, and if you can deliver upon them, you’ll find yourself with a flywheel ready to spin.

1. Communicate With Me

Folks hate to be kept in the dark, so stop doing it. Take the time to discuss upcoming initiatives with your team and make sure they are all on the same page.

Those in the retail or restaurant business are familiar with the idea of the Preshift Huddle. These are 5-7 minute meetings where the day is laid out for the team. It is a chance to share the daily specials, big sales, or large parties coming in for a meal. This is also a great time to discuss what went well and what didn’t on the last shift. It is also an excellent time to discuss safety and to give out kudos for jobs well done.

When lead properly, this will have tangible application in every business and serves to keep the team on the same page. The key here is not to just stop with the “what” and “when” – go beyond and give the “why” and “how.” Your team will love that!

2. Treat Me With Respect

It is crushing to see how some leaders treat their teams.

You know the type – still hung up on the top-down style that has little application in today’s business world. Most front line associates are just looking to be treated with the kind of respect everyone deserves. They want to be asked, not told.

Your employees must be rewarded for a job well done. Click To Tweet

And finally they want to know that they make a difference. The summary here is easy: be nice to your team!

They are so reflective in nature that not only is treating them well the right thing to do, but they will pass those good feeling along to your guests. Focus on treating your team the way they want to be treated – and how you’d like them to treat your customers – and you’ll find you are on to something amazing. Finally, don’t skimp on the recognition. Giving it out doesn’t weaken its impact – rather it strengthens your entire team!

3. Teach Me

Your team is hungry for training and development. At every level of the organization, your team wants to be made knowledgeable and valuable.

Too often the last meaningful training team members receive happens during onboarding. In some businesses, even onboarding is less than stellar, which begins discouraging newly-hired team members almost right away. Be the organization that starts training during the hiring process. Make sure your values are crystal clear, and as you choose the best candidates, don’t ever let them feel less than important.

Take the time to engage your associates regularly with all kinds of different training (meaning that you understand that folks learn differently). Make sure you utilize audio, visual, and activity based learning to get your team firing across all learning types. Be sure you make learning a lifelong endeavor in your business and encourage your team to stay engaged.

Remember, well trained, well treated, and well informed teams deliver AMAZING Customer service.

So until next time, commit to treat your Team – your internal Customers – as cherished friends.   Thanks,


Tony JohnsonAbout the Author

I’m very happy to share this 1st guest post from Tony Johnson.  He is a 25 year veteran of the retail world and has been training managers for over a decade to provide excellence in Customer service.

Tony has been named one of the TOP TEN CUSTOMER SERVICE INFLUENCERS to follow and regular consults with organizations large and small to improve the Guest experience.  Visit Tony’s website here

Improve Your Customer Service with Tony’s new Book:
RECIPE FOR SERVICE: How to Deliver and Inspire Great Customer Service
Click to Purchase on

Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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2 thoughts on “Stop Serving Like You’ve Given Up

  1. Marlowie,

    Tony’s guest post article rightly points out, and so do you, that it doesn’t take much to show our appreciation to our staff but it doesn’t happen by itself.

    Showing appreciation must be an intentional act that comes naturally for those in supervisory positions. If not, your position may change sooner than you think…


  2. Such a great read specially for us who are faced with the same working scenario. And I’m truly grateful for this article’s since it has captured the major perception about working in a team.
    It’s really disappointing to witness the place that you usually working in / with is turning out to be a negative environment and you are not there all the time to resolve their carreer and personal matters.
    Though it’s not enough to compensate hardwork, SIMPLY complimenting our colleauges presence can make a difference.

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