5 Lessons from the 2012 Olympics to Inspire a Gold-Standard of Customer Service


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Every four years, the world is treated to an inspiring showcase of personal and team excellence. The Olympics serve to motivate us all in many ways. Here are five takeaways that can be applied to achieving a gold-standard of customer service.

1. One Person Represents the Whole.
My son and I were watching the men’s gymnastics competition and he asked, “Why is everyone so excited about a guy doing a bunch of flips?”

I said, “It’s a lot more than a guy just doing flips, honey. When he wears that uniform, that guy is representing his team and the entire country. He has an incredible amount of pressure on him because he is being judged for his performance and the whole world is expecting him to do well; it’s a lot bigger than just that one guy.

Jan Carlzon puts this in the customer service perspective with her quote, “During each moment you are in contact with a customer, you are the organization.” This greater perception beyond the individual is always important to keep in mind when interacting with customers, or any time you’re representing the business or organization for which you work.

2. When You Don’t Give Your Best, People Quickly Take Notice. Just like the women’s badminton teams that were disqualified after their questionable serves into the net and returns that sailed far wide, people don’t appreciate half-hearted efforts, and if they feel you should be performing at a higher level, they’ll quickly call you out on it. Whether it’s an interaction with the smallest customer or the biggest one, always give your best.

3. Team Success Involves Dedicated Individual Efforts. When the U.S. men’s swimming team won the gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle, it wasn’t carried by just Michael Phelps. Teammates Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens had all issued peak performances to give Phelps an almost four-second lead as he entered the water.

“I thanked those guys for helping me get to this moment,” Phelps said. “I told those guys I wanted a big lead, and they gave it to me. I thanked them for being able to allow me to have this moment.”

For an overall brand to achieve success in customer service and the customer experience, everyone needs to give their very best individual effort. A dedicated customer service department with top-performing CSRs can give a brand a huge advantage, but in the words of Zappos CEO Tony Tony Hsieh, “Customer service isn’t just a department, it’s the whole company.” Appreciate those who give your company the lead in customer service excellence, and be sure to be a value-added contributor yourself.

4. Don’t Let a Poor Performance Get You Down. US women’s gymnast Jordyn Wieber had a truly disappointing moment early in the Olympic Games when she failed to qualify for the individual all-around finals. But just days later, she ended up leading her team to the gold medal with a performance that motivated the actions of every team member who followed.

Customer service takeaway? We’re all going to make mistakes and have some disappointing moments. Don’t let a poor service performance bring down your customer service efforts that follow. Bounce back and inspire others with your best practices.

5. Continued Excellence Creates Legendary Status. “Michael Phelps” didn’t become a household name with just a single phenomenal performance. He has become an Olympic legend and an inspiration to others through a continued dedication to his sport and personal performance that has now spanned four Olympic games.

The same continuing commitment applies in customer service. Companies that have been dedicated to performance excellence and a superior customer experience for years have earned a legendary status – Zappos, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Apple – they’re all inspirations for the gold standard of customer service that any individual, team and brand can work together to achieve.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


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