“You’re really good at customer service. Have you thought about entering into that field?”
My husband and I own a coffee shop and bakery, Morsels, in Traverse City, MI. On most weekends, I spend time working the register and talking with our guests because it brings me so much joy to meet people and hear their stories. On this particular morning, not only did I have a fun conversation with a customer, but he left me with a compliment and a great question: Have I thought about customer service?
In truth, I think about service all of the time. But his question was a great reminder to think, particularly, about customer service, which I did. It wasn’t hard to conclude that everyone, regardless of who or where you are, is in the customer service business.
It’s easy at times to feel like we’re isolated, as if the work we’re doing is lone-wolf style, so there’s no one to serve. I’ve even worked with teams that felt as if the whole organization is designed to serve them … that’s never the case. When we work, we work together for a common purpose. Everyone plays a part, everyone counts, and everyone is there to serve someone (whether you can see them or not).
As leaders, here are a few ways to keep the customer service mindset front and center in your life:
- Remind yourself that the better service you provide to both your internal and external customers, the better you’re going to feel about the contributions you bring to work.
- Customer service is expressed in the simplest of ways: manners, being considerate of others and their need for information, agendas for meetings, your positive attitude, and the occasional initiative to create a potluck or team building event at work.
- Constantly reflect on who you’re serving and why. As an example, I have a friend who works as a manager at John Deere. He makes it a habit to remind his team, which are primarily factory workers, that while they’re working hard on the manufacturing floor, they’re really building equipment that helps feed the world. With a little bit of imagination and visualization, we all can see how our work connects to someone.
- Don’t expect anything in return. This is the hard part. When you serve, serve without any expectation of reciprocity. Don’t keep a silent list of all that you’ve done for others … this type of scorekeeping can be dangerous in any relationship. Feel grateful, not self-righteous, that you can serve others and let your generosity be enough for you.
Our world desperately needs others to step up and serve. I promise you this: your smallest actions can make the world of difference to others. Make the commitment to do five small acts of service this week – this type of goal setting inspires habit building. A service mindset coupled with a service habit has the power to change your world and the world around you.