One of a leader's most important customers is his or her own employees. Outstanding customer service should extend not just to consumers, but to people within the organization.
Imagine these two scenarios with two very different leaders:
Manager A does not ask your opinion on projects. She has a tendency to hang out in the break room and gossip about coworkers. She makes sure she is the only person who knows how to complete certain tasks and procedures, not trusting anyone with her knowledge. She thinks this will lead to job security for her and feels threatened when her employees are successful on tasks or projects.
Manager B is the opposite of Manager A. She seeks out and values her coworkers and subordinates opinions. She maintains confidences and instead of gossiping about the failures of others, she tries to help solve problems. She lifts up her people and encourages them to take greater responsibility on projects. She gives them the opportunity to test their abilities, celebrating their triumphs and keeping their failures from discouraging them.
Would the team work harder for Manager A or Manager B? Which manager would bring the company more success, more profits? Which manager would create happy employees who then turn that same treatment to outward facing customers?
Manager B obviously provides better service to her employees, creating a culture and expectation for those employees to treat each other and customers with respect and to celebrate successes. Great customer service comes easily to this team since they are already reacting responsibly and supportively.
Creating a culture of outstanding customer service starts from the top. Leaders should cultivate growth and support in the manager/employee relationship. This approach to leadership seeks to enrich the lives of those who practice it. Employees who feel valued and genuinely cared about by their superiors are more likely to be highly engaged, more trusting, and build stronger relationships within their team.
As a leader, remember to focus on the needs of employees instead of focusing on their feelings. Leaders must sometimes make tough and unpopular decisions, which can be difficult. The key is to maintain that supportive, transparent, and uplifting communication through difficult changes or situations.
For human resource guidance on providing outstanding customer service from your own company, please contact Nextep's HR team.