(Reprinted with Permission from The Customer Service Champions Blog)
When you look closely at truly outstanding customer service leaders, you will find that there are two common and powerful practices they all share. These are absolute must-haves if you want to create a high-functioning team that is inspired, engaged and absolutely focused on creating the best possible experience for your customers. The first of these practices is being a Relentless Champion.
It’s not just that high-performing customer service leaders consistently and relentlessly champion their teams’ successes, it’s the manner in which they do it that sets them apart. Here are the four things they do and why they work:
1. Outstanding Customer Service Leaders Champion Specific Accomplishments
While people appreciate knowing that you think they’re awesome, it has far greater meaning when they know your words have substance. This means making sure that your praise is not general, but instead tied to specific actions or outcomes.
So, for example, instead of saying, “Bob is awesome at dealing with upset customers,” identify a real situation and say something like, “Did you see how Bob dealt with that last angry customer? He actually had her laughing at the end! Bob, you rock!”
Taking this approach serves two purposes. It gives real meaning to your praise, and it also provides a real-life example for others to follow.
2. Tell EVERYBODY About Their Awesome Team
Don’t just wait around hoping that others will notice how good your team is. Brag about them. Make sure everybody who will listen knows how absolutely amazing they are. This helps to instil confidence, provides well-deserved recognition, and sets them up for future success. When you are doing this, make sure to use the approach outline in #1 above. You want people to know that you’re not just cheerleading for cheerleading sake.
3. Give Their Team ALL The Credit
When things go right, even when you were directly involved, give your team all of the credit. They will appreciate it and you don’t really need it. As part of this, resist the temptation to imply that the reason the team is awesome is because you, of course, are its leader. It’s unnecessary, and every time you do this you will actually lose the very credibility you are hoping to achieve.
4. Always Have Employees’ Backs
Never, ever, ever throw a team member under the bus with a customer – even if they’ve made a mistake. Yes, we should admit to mistakes, and yes, we need to use them for teaching moments. But there is no payoff to telling a customer that you think one of your employees is an idiot.
For example, instead of simply saying to a customer, “Yes you’re right, Bob was wrong about that,” make the effort to acknowledge the error without compromising Bob’s credibility. You could instead say something like, “You’re right, this shouldn’t have happened. Bob is normally very diligent about these things, but in this case I think he missed something.” In this approach, you have owned the error and at the same time shown your support for a team member.
When your employees know that you genuinely appreciate their efforts, know that you’re proud of their efforts, and trust that you are always there for them, you have the foundation for a truly outstanding customer service team.
Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of What Outstanding Service Leaders Do Differently!
“Being told that you’re great isn’t nearly as meaningful as overhearing someone tell somebody else that you’re great.”
Excellent article! For those of us for whom Customer Service is more than just a job but a callin, it helps to define the differences between “Managment” and “Leadership”.
Thank You Shaun!