Recently we had a manufacturing business gathering at our hotel for a big training conference that would enlist more customers for years to come. The hotel team was laser-focused on exceeding the client expectations from audio visual requirements, registration support and creating memorable service in every customer touch-point. We went the extra mile to show case our level of service by building new relationships.
Who decides if your company’s products and customer service is superior to another company? The customer! Who decides if a company leader is providing great service to their followers? The answer is likely to be the same-“the customer”, the employees and managers who follow.
Leadership is a service. Great Leaders serve the people who have made it possible for them to lead-their employees. They are servant leaders-not self serving! When a customer makes a decision about your company product or service, they enter a relationship with your business.
Customers want to know if your service exceeds their expectations, helps solve their problems and anticipates their needs. The same is true for servant leadership. If your employees come to the same conclusions about your leadership, they are much more likely to follow and continue to do “business” with you.
Being a customer service evangelist in the hotel business for almost 20 years, I could not agree more that there are several connections between excellent service and great leadership.
Leadership is measured by the leader’s ability to connect and serve the relationships they engage with stockholders, vendors, customers and employees. Your company competitive advantage in the market place will always be reflected by the value you create on these relationships.
I wanted to share three key lessons I have personally learned from customer service relationships and how they translate to servant leadership. You can apply them with anyone in your business. These strategies can add value to your company and the people who serve the mission and values of your business.
Lesson #1-Anticipate their needs.
Understanding and anticipating customers’ needs is extremely critical in leading the volatile business environment. Customers rely on anticipatory service to ensure their preferences and personal likes are met in every transaction. Same holds true for your employees. As a leader, you need to learn how you can anticipate your employees needs to set them up for success. Do they need more resources? Do they need more training? Do they need more coaching?
Lesson #2-Create a dialogue, not a monologue.
More than any other time, we seem to be more connected and engage in constant dialogue with customers. Whether it’s through social medial channels or just a conversation on the phone or in person with the customer. By listening and engaging, we set time for a meaningful dialogue that goes beyond the tangibles of our business. Employees just as well customers want to be heard and validated for their concerns and feedback.
Lesson #3-Be the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) in your business.
Customers and employees love being part of something bigger than themselves. It’s all about creating memorable experiences that doesn’t settle for average. Customers will always remember you by the experiences they had with your business. Were the employees friendly and positive? Did the product exceeded their expectations? Was the service helpful and added value to their life? Now think about these questions for your employees. How would you create memorable experiences for your internal customers?