Why are we surprised when a salesperson knows her stuff? A contractor honors his promises? Or a company lives up to its claims? Isn’t that the way it should be? It’s unfortunate that we get excited when someone does his or her job properly. Are you doing a good job?
Think about it. Are we asking too much for an airplane to leave on time, a restaurant to be clean, or a company’s product literature to tell us the whole story? I don’t think so. How about a receptionist who doesn’t have attitude, a merchant who returns calls promptly, or a website that doesn’t contain typos? You get the point.
Of course, apathetic people, who simply don’t care, cause some of these issues. Other times, it’s due to management that tolerates mediocrity –– an organization that lowers the bar so low you can trip over it. The result, however, is still the same…they’re going nowhere fast. The fact is, it’s not enough just to come to work, it’s about getting the job done right.
Job #1: Create a Culture of Excellence
Since superior client service is as much a philosophy as an activity, it’s important to discover just what kind of culture produces the mind-set necessary to exceed customer expectations. Ask yourself, do we:
- Strive for excellence or settle for mediocrity?
- Treat customers differently now than when we were courting them?
- Focus on getting things right or consider inaccuracies to be a way of life?
- Build long-term relationships or promote short-term sales?
- Make policy changes to benefit customers or for employee convenience?
- Spend our time adding customer value or filling out internal paperwork?
- Anticipate customer needs or scramble when relationships are in jeopardy?
- Make ourselves accessible when customers need us or only when it’s convenient for us?
- Discipline unethical behavior or turn our back on disgraceful conduct?
- Promote employee continuity or look like a turnstile?
- Spend time in front of customers or in staff meetings?
- Provide exceptional value or compensate for inadequacies by trying to be friendly?
- Solicit customer feedback or think that we know it all?
- Promote clear and transparent communication or use confusing technical jargon?
- Benchmark against the best in class or sweep our inadequacies under the rug?
- Protect customer privacy before or after issues arise?
- Challenge the status quo or rest on our laurels?
- Stimulate trust by being dependable or lose faith by being unpredictable?
- Address customer issues promptly or respond when time permits?
- Build trust by following through on promises made or by “talking a good game”?
- Value trust as much as we cherish profitability?
It Comes with the Job
If your entire business were dependent on one customer, would you treat that one customer better than all your other customers? If so, ask yourself why. Shouldn’t every customer be special? Sure…it’s not possible to give every customer your undivided attention. But it’s more than reasonable to meet or exceed their expectations every day. If that’s not happening, shame on you. Excellence should be the rule, not the exception.
Doing a great job is as much an attitude as it is an activity. As Jonas Salk, the medical researcher, said, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” So give it your best. Excellence is not a destination, but a way of life. Every time you hear “Thanks for doing a good job,” you’ll know you’re on the right course.