National Customer Service Week: The HEART Model, Principle #3

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“Peo­ple may doubt what you say but will always believe what you do” goes a famous quote about integrity.

It is no small coin­ci­dence that in the mid­dle of our H-E-A-R-T series of five core val­ues in cus­tomer ser­vice is the let­ter A, which stands for ACT with integrity. Integrity is the core within the core of val­ues, it is what lies within us, what we hold impor­tant, what defines our dealings–as cus­tomer ser­vice agents, as man­agers, as work­ers, and as persons.

To have integrity is to pos­sess the courage and self-discipline to adhere to your set of val­ues and ethics. Given a choice between doing what you want to do and doing what you need to do, or doing what is easy ver­sus doing the right thing, which one is it going to be?

The Used Car Salesman

The mere men­tion of the phrase “used car sales­man” eas­ily con­jures images of a smooth-talking, up-to-no-good trick­ster who’s out to make a quick buck out of an unsus­pect­ing client. While not always fair and jus­ti­fied, such an image is not with­out basis. Some sales­peo­ple have been, still are, and can be dis­hon­est with their dealings.

But the oppo­site is also true. There are hon­est used car sales­men out there. There are a num­ber of family-run used car busi­nesses that have ran for gen­er­a­tions with a long list of happy and sat­is­fied customers.

What sep­a­rates the good and the bad? Integrity.

Integrity is a big word, built out of small things. In our daily deal­ings with our cus­tomers and our stake­hold­ers, cer­tain val­ues and traits are desired and expected:

Hon­esty.

Being truth­ful with our prod­ucts and ser­vices – and com­mu­ni­cat­ing about them clearly and accu­rately is a good start. Make sure cus­tomers know what they’re buy­ing and let them know how the prod­uct or ser­vice can address their wants and needs. Dif­fer­ent peo­ple are dri­ven by dif­fer­ent buy­ing deci­sions. Mis­rep­re­sent a car, for exam­ple, for any­thing more than it actu­ally is and you drive the cus­tomer out the door and into the competition.

Hon­or­ing Com­mit­ments, Keep­ing Promises.

When com­pa­nies make war­ranties on prod­ucts, we expect them to ful­fill it. A war­ranty, on a per­sonal level, is not much dif­fer­ent from a promise we make to cus­tomers. When we make promises to our cus­tomers, they expect us to make good on our word. If a call cen­ter agent promises a call back, he or she must call back. When we set expec­ta­tions, we should always make sure they are met.

Should things turn out less than per­fectly, as in the case of a defect in the design, com­po­nents, or work­man­ship, a prod­uct recall may be in order. Prod­uct recalls cost com­pa­nies mil­lions of dol­lars in actual losses and sev­eral mil­lions more in future losses due to adverse pub­lic­ity. Hon­esty may come at a steep price, but noth­ing worth­while, like stay­ing in busi­ness, comes easy.

Con­sis­tency

We are what we repeat­edly do. Cer­tain rules can’t be bent to suit cer­tain par­ties and indi­vid­u­als or because it is con­ve­nient for a par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. In an orga­ni­za­tional set­ting, the poli­cies we set become our norm, our rules, and it is how we will be known to our cus­tomers in the long run.

We go back to the quote at the begin­ning of this arti­cle: We can extol our virtues, harp on our strengths, using big words in glossy ads, or in our daily spiels. But in the end, it is how we do the lit­tle things, and how we delight every sin­gle one of our cus­tomers that will decide how good and desir­able we really are.

Jodi Beuder, Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence Advo­cate at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, believes cus­tomer ser­vice exists not just out­side the com­pany, but inside, too.. “Hav­ing excel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice skills and knowl­edge are para­mount to cre­at­ing strong work­ing rela­tion­ships, whether you are in an office or out in the field.” With over 17 years in Mar­ket­ing Exec­u­tive roles, Jodi has ded­i­cated her career to assist­ing com­pa­nies grow their brand pres­ence and sales, and most impor­tantly, their cus­tomer reten­tion and satisfaction.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.

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