Ensuring Your Customer Service Initiative Will Be Successful: The First Key


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Too often we hear about ini­tia­tives that start with a burst of energy and enthu­si­asm and quickly peter out becom­ing a dis­ap­point­ing “fla­vor of the month.” If that hap­pens often enough you lose cred­i­bil­ity and your work­force becomes harder and harder to rally behind ANY idea – never mind if it’s a change to the sta­tus quo.

So, here’s the first of five key ele­ments that, if imple­mented, will ensure your strat­egy takes hold and flour­ishes.

Lead and Inspire

The first key ele­ment is to Lead and Inspire. A cus­tomer ser­vice strat­egy, really any ini­tia­tive, is only as good as the per­son or peo­ple who cham­pion it. A strat­egy needs a leader, some­one who believes in it, some­one who believes in the dream of what COULD be.

Lead­ers inspire us because they com­mu­ni­cate with us on an emo­tional level. What they say “FEELS right.” They share their beliefs, their vision and if we believe the same things, it becomes an easy deci­sion to join them.

To get a strat­egy imple­mented, a leader needs to be able to mobi­lize peo­ple and inspire them so they want to make the dream real as much as the leader does.

I heard a TED Talk some time ago on “How Great Lead­ers Inspire Action.” It made a big impres­sion. In this talk, Simon Sinek said (and I para­phrase): “We fol­low peo­ple because they inspire us. We fol­low them because they believe what we believe… not because they have a 19 point plan for accom­plish­ing a cus­tomer ser­vice strategy.”

Sinek was very pas­sion­ate and talked about the fact that peo­ple don’t “buy” WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it. In his talk he spent a lot of time explain­ing some­thing he called The Golden Cir­cle, three con­cen­tric cir­cles labeled: What, How and Why.

His cen­tral premise is that inspir­ing peo­ple and com­pa­nies THINK, ACT, and COMMUNICATE in ways that are entirely dif­fer­ent from UNin­spir­ing com­pa­nies. He believes that inspi­ra­tion comes from the “WHY”, the pur­pose, the belief, the intent behind what you want to do.

Sinek gave sev­eral exam­ples of how the Golden Cir­cle works. For exam­ple, he said that most peo­ple can tell you WHAT their com­pany does. Most know the key dif­fer­en­tia­tors or the HOW the com­pany oper­ates. But it gets a lit­tle fuzzy when they get to the WHY they do what they do.

He used Apple as an exam­ple of com­pany that under­stands inspi­ra­tion. He said that if Apple was like most com­pa­nies their approach might sound like, We offer great com­put­ers that are ele­gantly designed, sim­ple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy one?” This state­ment is all about the “What” and not too inspiring.

Instead, Sinek sug­gested that Apple oper­ates from the “WHY.” So instead he said Apple might say, “In every­thing we do we believe in chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo. We believe in think­ing dif­fer­ently. The way we chal­lenge the sta­tus quo is by mak­ing things that are beau­ti­fully designed, sim­ple to use, and user friendly. We hap­pen to make com­put­ers… want to buy one?” Com­ing from the “Why” strikes me as much more com­pelling. What do you think?

So as you approach imple­ment­ing a cus­tomer ser­vice strat­egy, the first key element—the ele­ment that makes the strat­egy more than just talk—is to Lead and Inspire. It’s impor­tant to know the heart of the strat­egy, the WHY – the pur­pose for it, your INTENT. So here are some ques­tions to think about:

  • Are you clear WHY you have the strat­egy you have?
  • What would you say to describe what your team does? See if you can use the Golden Cir­cle for­mat of Why, How, and What?
  • Does your team know the WHY behind your strategy?
  • What can you do to demon­strate your intent?
  • How can you com­mu­ni­cate WHY to your team?”

Empower and Enable is the sec­ond key ele­ment and I’ll talk about its pow­er­ful con­tri­bu­tion in the Part 2 of this series.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Monica Postell
Customer Satisfaction Expert @ Impact Learning Systems | Instructional Designer | Performance Improvement Specialist | Call Center Consultant | Artist | Global citizen and world traveler making the world a better place once class at a time.


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