Why are some people unaware of the impact their actions cause on others? Why do other people always come up with an excuse or blame for their actions when they really can control the outcome? Why do people not take responsibility? What do these questions have to do with communication?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”pFfd6″ via=”yes” ]Why do other people always come up an excuse or blame others for their actions?[/ctt]
Many years ago, I experienced one of the worst customer service examples I could possibly imagine. The Christmas vacation that had been booked for eight people had just been canceled, a mere three days before our scheduled departure. There were now four very upset children, four very angry adults, one very confused dog, and a completely invisible vacation management company—invisible because it refused to communicate.
The vacation management company did a lot of talking at us (not with us). They told us that the house we had booked to rent had been sold. They chose to ignore the fact that we signed a contract with them and not the owner. They chose to ignore the fact that they are responsible for ensuring good customer service; they chose to blame the owner. They did not want to engage in good communication with us because they absolutely did not want to take responsibility for what happened. They just kept blaming everyone else.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”x307Z” via=”yes” ]In our workplaces, we have a responsibility to help each other, work together as a team so that the customer is happy.[/ctt]
In our workplaces, we are not an island unto ourselves. We have a responsibility to help each other, work together as a team so that the customer— the end-user—is happy. When the customer is happy, you generally have a better chance of keeping your job, and to be able to do all that effectively, we have to be able to communicate with each other. It sounds like common sense, doesn’t it?
The first point I want to make about all of this: the common practice is, sadly, all about blaming others. When something goes wrong in the office, it’s someone else’s fault—too many people are too quick to take that road. Instead, think about taking the high road. Own up to what you’ve done and work to find a solution to what has happened.
Second point: if you think this doesn’t apply to you, think again. Why is it that some people are unaware of the impact their actions cause others? Why do other people always come up with an excuse or blame for their actions when they really can control the outcome? Why do people not take responsibility?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”n2Gx5″ via=”yes” ]All roads lead to the customer.[/ctt]
One of the quotes I use in my Customer Service program is “All Roads Lead to the Customer.” It amazes me how few people in an organization are aware of this fact. I find that the people who front customer-facing are aware they are in a customer service role. Anyone who does not speak to the customer directly feels that they have no impact on the customer. This is not true. Everyone in an organization has an impact on the customer, whether it is direct or indirect.
The person who processes the bills has a direct impact on the customer. The customer could be depending on that check to pay the mortgage. Should they decide not to process the payment, it could be an example of very poor customer service to the person expecting the check.
The person who answers the telephone and directs the phone calls has a major impact on customer service. If they make a habit of cutting off callers or being rude, you can be sure the customer feels it, which will affect the business.
I once heard a story I love and which I love to tell (I’m just not sure if it is true or an urban myth). When a reporter asked a man, who worked for NASA, what he did there, he responded: “I helped put the first man on the moon.” The man being interviewed was a janitor. Did he help put a man on the moon? Yes, by ensuring that the others could do their jobs. His actions had an indirect impact on the astronauts who landed on the moon.
Third point: good communication makes for good working relationships. Tom Peters, in his book In Search of Excellence, said, “96 percent of the labor force is involved in service positions, either internally or externally.” (Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies. New York: Harper & Row, 1982) and really, 96 percent seems low now because the point here is, you are in a service position whether you recognize it or not. If we’re in a service position, then that means we all have customers in some form or another.
When his book was released (back in 1982, a lifetime ago!), 96 percent was considered a very high and even controversial statistic. That was before what I call “the Customer Service Revolution.” Back then (almost 40 years ago, can you believe it?), the only people who had customers were in retail or a restaurant environment—certainly not government or monopolies!
Now, as we fast forward to today, the 96 percent seems to be a very low percentage. Doesn’t everyone have customers? And if we all have customers, shouldn’t we all maintain those good relationships to ensure that our job and life is made easier?
How do you ensure good customer relations? I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the golden rule. I remember every year in Sunday School, we discussed it: “treat other people the way you want to be treated.” Yet every day, I see others being rude, completely ignoring someone else, and generally not following the golden rule.
Why would I deliberately treat someone poorly just because I don’t have to work with them?
I joke about who our customers are. My company has many customers. My UPS delivery man is my customer. And yes, I’m his too. I am nice to him—he is nice to me. Stephen Covey would call that a win-win situation. I want to ensure that my packages are delivered in good condition the next day. He wants to ensure that I keep using UPS (job security for him). My team (Warren, Pooja, and Liz) are my customers too. It is in my best interest that we have a good working relationship!
It just amazes me how many people don’t get this concept. Having a good, happy, enjoyable life is all about relationships! If you want good service in a store, restaurant, government office, or anywhere, the easiest way to get good service is to be a good customer. Being a good customer means you have to communicate your needs and wants. If you are on the other side of the counter, the easiest way to get good customers is to provide good service, and that involves, you guessed it, good communication.
That doesn’t sound like rocket science, does it? Do me a favor—for the next seven days, walk around with your ears focused on hearing how other people are people treating others.