Making it our own

In the following post, Jenny and Jeremy discuss all of the awesome customer service philosophies and resources out there and specifically ways people advocate creating customer-centric organizations.  We have been seeking to be that for a long time and seem to be closer in the journey toward achieving that.  Enjoy our discussion!

Jenny: Hi Jeremy! I hope you’re having an awesome Thursday! We were just talking over IM about how the FISH! Philosophy really ties in with what we’re doing these days. It sounds like we have been on this path all along but are really finding our way now with putting more focus on this topic and having so many great resources on Twitter. Amazing! You also brought up a good point,

“…I think we really need to make something our own in order for it to stick.”

So, how can we make this our own? And, how can we make it not be a passing phase and actually become part of the every day service we provide?

Jeremy: Hey Jenny, thanks for getting us started.  Yeah as we were talking I was thinking about how we’ve read tons of books about great ways to build a customer centric culture within an organization and so often we have read these books hoping they would be a magic potion that would change the way we serve our customers.  More or less a Hollywood type culture of getting results without putting in the work.  Just to give you an idea, here’s a laundry list of the great books we have read over the years:

Fish! A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results
Be Our Guest (Revised and Updated Edition): Perfecting the Art of Customer Service
Call Centers For Dummies (For Dummies)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
StrengthsFinder 2.0

I know there are others that I’m forgetting here, not to mention the myriad resources online.  How many times have we shown our staff a Powerpoint presentation or told them about a cool customer service philosophy with no real change in how we do things?

So, to answer your question, how do we make this our own?  While all of these books are cool, I’m not sure we can ever take a solution out of a box and implement it at our company.  I think these resources have helped us gain self-awareness to understand that we do in fact have the power to offer amazing customer service.  Now that we believe it, are we going to live and breath it.  If we as leaders live and breathe it and serve our staff will that infect our entire team or even our organization?  What are some practical ways we move forward?

 Jenny: Yeah, that’s the thing–we’ll do the work to present the ideas to others, it sounds cool and then it fizzles. No more fizzling! We have too much motivation and passion at this level to let this crash. It’s time to be proactive about developing a belief system for the customer service we strive to provide. I guess we need to set our vision for starters (something similar to what we already have here: http://communicatebetterblog.com/why-we-exist/) and then follow it day in and day out. We have a great team of reps who will learn from us the more we do it. As we discussed in today’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” book club, being proactive isn’t easy. It’s a great challenge that we need to take head on. Imagine where we’ll be in 6 months with this? 1 year?

Jeremy: Totally!  I was talking to a couple people at work today about how we have tried a “program” in the past and it comes off as canned and cheesy and employees just see it as a gimmick.  Let me use eating as an example.  In my younger days, I ate whatever I wanted.  Fast food, carne asada burritos at midnight, you name it.  Don’t get me started on my ability to eat weird stuff for money.  Anyway, at some point I became aware of the fact that I had high cholesterol and constant acid reflux and my diet was a huge contributor to this.  I was reflecting on this as I ate my steamed broccoli for lunch.  Yes I still often crave junk food but I know how good I feel when I eat natural healthy food.

The same was with customer service, we all know it’s very natural to be selfish and not focus on serving others but how awesome is the byproduct of making someone’s day?  I guarantee any time I sacrifice a but of myself and my effort on behalf of someone else it is very rewarding.  Sometimes tiring yes but always rewarding.  If we can give our staff a taste of that  I think they will get addicted.  Of course we have to buy in first.  I’m in if you are!

Jenny: Oh, memories of watching you eat that jar of green olives then drink the juice are flying back to me! Your example about the food hits the nail right on—what’s easier and convenient (junk food) versus what takes more work and effort (healthy food). The same goes for exercise (sooooo much easier to stay in bed in the morning). But, we’ve proven to ourselves over and over that we CAN challenge ourselves and make changes. Not only eating healthier, but look at how far you’ve come with your running! When you first began to run long distance, did you think that you’d be where you are right now with running marathons? I remember back when I was a vegetarian and how challenging it was to find the right proteins to eat. I had to be very creative with my food selections to make sure I had the right nutrients. It wasn’t easy but I felt great doing it (until 6 years later I had a chicken burrito at Chipotle and the rest is history…). Ok, now I’m going off on a tangent. But, what I really mean here is this:

Amazing customer support takes effort, passion, patience and creativity. You have to be dedicated to the cause or else it will fizzle.

I’m TOTALLY in for this and I think the more we lead the CSE (Customer Service Express) train (choo chooooo), the more others will jump on board.

Jeremy: I couldn’t have said it better myself!  The key as leaders is to believe it, talk about it and most importantly embody it religiously.  That’s about all I have to say on that topic.  Enjoy the rest of National Gumbo Day!

Jenny: YES! And, thanks. I guess I should try Gumbo one of these days!

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