Creating a service culture in your organization is not a one-time, skills-training event. It’s an ongoing leadership commitment driven by effective leadership.
When I joined the hotel business back in the 90’s, I was lucky to begin my career with great mentors. They exemplified leadership qualities that made me want to emulate and become a manager one day. Customer service was part of their DNA and they took the time to develop more service leaders for their organization.
Imagine a culture where leaders are able to truly drive customer excellence through on-going employee engagement of empowerment and legendary service.
Why do so many companies fail at consistently achieving customer excellence? Think of a restaurant, a hotel, grocery store or even an on-line store.
The answer is leadership!
Many companies seek easy ways to fix their customer service challenges. If you are in the customer service business, you need more than a short-cut to create excellence.Service excellence does not happen by chance. Click To Tweet
It requires a hands-on approach to lead and create a sense of belonging to take care of the customer.
Service excellence is not a plaque on the wall or a philosophy out of a text book. You really need to live and breathe customer service if you are a leader. A company’s ability to achieve and sustain service excellence is linked to on-going leadership effectiveness.
As a leader, you have a personal obligation to ensure a service culture is in place. But what does it take to lead your organization to service excellence?
Set a Vision and Purpose for Your Organization
The best leaders articulate a compelling vision and purpose for their organization. Your role as leader is to inspire and mobilize people to action. Without a service vision and knowing why you exist to serve customers, your employees will simply not engage.
Be a Role Model
Communicating your vision and purpose is not enough. You have to lead by example. The best way to communicate is always by what people can see. You can’t ask someone to do something, unless you have done it yourself. At Amazon.com every new manager spends time in their call center to understand their customers and employees.
Provide On-going Coaching
As I mentioned leadership is not a one-time event. Successful leaders take the time to mentor and coach customer service every day. It doesn’t have to be a class room training, but simply daily engagement to bring the focus and purpose to life. The Ritz Carlton does a daily huddle to hone and reinforce their service standards.
Reward and Recognize Your Team
As a leader, you must be the cheerleader for your team. People want to know they matter and belong to a mission bigger than themselves. One of the things I learned through the years is that great leaders set the attitude and passion for their teams. The best way to do that is by cheering your employees to be the best they can be. Recognize and take the time to celebrate with them on their success!
Be Committed to Leaning and Improvement
Customer excellence requires us to stay humble. We need to learn from our customers’ feedback and make changes to exceed their expectations. When you look at organizations such as Disney, Amazon, Ritz Carlton, Apple and Marriott, you will notice a commitment to learning and on-going improvement.Leaders must stay sharp and learn new ways to improve their organization. Click To Tweet
They use innovation and try new ways to add value to sustain customer relationships beyond their competition.
Create a Legacy of Service Excellence
What do you want to be known for? How do you want to leave a legacy of service? Leaders like Walt Disney and Bill Marriott Jr. have created legendary customer service in their industry. So can you!
If your passion is to be known for customer excellence, it’s time to think about how you can leave a mark by making the world a better place through customer service.
Tal Shnall is a leadership and customer service mentor. His background consists of customer service and leadership training in the hotel industry for almost 20 years. Tal has put together award winning service programs by working with brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Starwood hotels.
Tal is passionate about helping leaders become better leaders and create a culture of customer excellence in every organization. His website is Leadership Hospitality.com
Connect with Tal on Twitter @tshnall or send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org for collaboration and conversation about customer service leadership.