A customer is someone with whom you have dealings. Anytime there is an agreement entered into with two or more people for their mutual benefit, one of them is in the role of the customer. Customers run an entire gamut; For example, I can be a customer staying at a hotel and I can be a customer of my manager’s leadership. Loyalty is built through how we are with customer touch points. If there is no thought to how we are with others, then it is perceived only as a transaction.
The fundamentals of customer service are:
- Positive Regard, a service presence where customers believe we wantto serve them.
- Commitment, being dedicated to delivering the service the customer wants.
- Effective Action, where the good or service is delivered to high standards.
- Follow-Through, where we ensure the outcome and attend to the relationship.
Leadership to deliver on the fundamentals of customer service requires two qualities. The first is familiar to everyone: Action, where a good or service is delivered through the activities of another (or team or an entire organization). The customer wants the steak cook just so, or the computer operating system stable and easy to use. Fixing a car, stitching a cut, flying the airliner are all examples of the doing side of performance. These either happen to satisfaction or do not; they are easy to spot when there is a lapse in performance.
The other aspect of leadership in customer service is the quality of being that is brought to the relationship. An open and present quality feels as if it supports the action. A centered presence that projects the right blend of confidence, humility, and optimism, creates a connection with the customer. This is doubly important when managing a dissatisfied customer. When the being quality aligns with the actions to deliver, the customer service experience is deemed as authentic.
Customers arrive to us frustrated, disappointed, rushed, and moody. Before we can serve these people, we need to effectively be with them. A grounded, calm demeanor that also is ready for conversation and action provides the groundwork for outstanding service. As in martial arts emergency medicine, or an irate customer, the more centered we are, the
greater the ability to manage the moods and the more options we have available to be of service. Manage the moods, and the customer will return and speak well of your organization.
-Mark Haeussler, CEO