There’s no doubt about it that the working world has shifted.
For better or for worse, every person in the workforce must now continuously add value, not only to the work they are doing but to the experience that customers have while interacting with them and their product.
Customers today want the whole package: stellar service from beginning to end. There is too much competition out there today to offer anything less than service excellence.
How well we do at creating and increasing this value makes all the difference, between future success and future failure.
Raising the bar.
In my blog post Redefining Service for the New World of Work, I describe how jobs are changing and why stepping up through exemplary service is the key to customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and business success.
“Good enough” isn’t good enough anymore.
In today’s competitive and quickly-changing market, everyone is responsible for stepping up and responding to problems that are not yet defined by precedence or even understood yet
Everyone has to look beyond current or past processes or efficiencies and start thinking creatively about successful innovation. Everyone is involved in taking a customer experience to the next level and not just fine-tuning the delivery process.
Everyone is responsible for service excellence.
If you think this service excellence talk only applies to top level managers, leaders or white-collar knowledge workers, think again. Take into account the hotel housekeeping employee who recently “jerry-rigged” my room to create a makeshift office with a standing desk using two empty boxes and a large room service tray. When I told him I needed somewhere to host an impromptu meeting, he created the space by replacing the couch in my room with two swivel chairs and extra power and lights.
Everyone, in every department and at every level, needs certain skills, tools and conditions to thrive and help propel your organization to success.
Do you know what they are? Do you possess the vital perspectives and sensitivities to find out? Do your people?
Read the following customer service skills list to find out.
The 10 Essential Abilities of a Service Excellence Workforce
- 1. Awareness.
Not only do I see my work from my own perspective, I can see it from that of others as well. I am mindful of my effect on others, and I pay attention to the experience my colleagues have when interacting with me. I am aware of how I contribute to the organization, as well as the impact of my actions.
- 2. Curiosity.
I’m not self-obsessed. I have a healthy interest in other people, as well as products, services, and processes I may not be familiar with. I take time to educate myself; I ask questions of myself and others to try to learn and understand. What do other people want, need, value and appreciate? Why are we doing things the way are doing them? What would happen if we changed one of our processes or core values?
- 3. Analysis.
I am always assessing what has worked and what needs to be improved. I work to gather information so I can better understand problems and opportunities. I compare my thoughts and ideas to others’. I am open minded and use this information constructively.
- 4. Empathy.
I try to understand the concerns and feelings of other people. I know that my own perspective isn’t the only one; if I don’t share the feelings of another, I seek to respect those feelings and to respond with genuine care.
- 5. Initiative.
I do not wait for opportunities to come to me. I proactively take actions to make offers, meet requests, solve problems, and create new possibilities. I go out of my way to invite others to collaborate with me when needed. Whenever possible, I do more than is required to create more value.
- 6. Collaboration.
I am not afraid to share work. I work well with others to get the job done and to creatively work towards solutions for problems. I maintain positive relationships with my colleagues, customers, and community. Interested in creating service excellence at your organization? Watch this Setting Effective Service Standards video and take the five challenges to achieve a service excellence culture at your company.
- 7. Flexibility.
I am adaptable. I use different styles of communication and behavior to create the most effective experience for everyone in each situation. I adjust my approach whenever possible to add more value to my interactions. This doesn’t mean I’m fake; it means I’m sensitive to my environment.
- 8. Resilience.
I am able to easily bounce back from problems, complaints and mistakes. I see breakdowns as opportunities to build strength and increase loyalty, through the interaction of effective problem solving. Whenever something goes wrong, I am excited for the chance to create something better.
- 9. Responsibility.
Service excellence is my livelihood, my job, what I hang my hat on. Therefore, I take personal responsibility for my words and actions. I look back to see what I can learn from past experiences, and lean forward into the future, to create what will be.
- 10. Communication.
Nothing is more vital to service excellence than clear communication. I listen to others with sincere attention. I ask questions in order to learn and understand. I share my views effectively in speaking and in writing. I make clear requests and promises, and always state my expectations without hesitation or ambiguity.
What is the result of these Ten Essential Abilities?
Trust. By developing these abilities, I earn the trust and respect of others in my promises and communications.
Which of these Ten Essential Abilities are strongest for you today? Which can you improve? Which are most prominent, or most in need of improvement, where you work?
This post has been updated from a previously published version.