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5 Strategies Great Leaders Understand About Customer Service

When it comes to serving Guests, there is no substitute for great leadership.  Leaders set the tone, show the way, and reinforce behaviors – even when they don’t mean to do so.

So that’s the thing you have to remember, people are watching you to learn how to behave.  We set examples – for better or for worse – with each decision we make.

So that is why leader are so critical to organizations that want to chart a great path to success.  Think about it – companies don’t lead and inspire teams to do great things – people do!

That means that as leaders we all have responsibility not only for serving Guests well, but serving those who serve Guests well.

Here are the 5 tactics that great leaders use to ensure quality service for their Guests:

  1. They understand that like it or not, they are a role model. This means that everything you do not only sets the tone but also sets an example.  If you show up late, treat Guests with indifference, and never wear your name badge, that will ripple through your team.  You have to embrace your role as a leader by understanding that first and foremost, your team is looking to you about how to behave.

  2. They reward great service – even the daily wins. I often hear leaders say the dumbest things such as “They get a paycheck.  That should be reward enough” or “That is a part of their job, why would I thank or recognize something so basic.” or  “I save it for the big stuff so it means more.”  Wow – that kind of thinking really did go out with very, very wide ties.  Keep in mind that everyone likes to hear they did a great job and what we take the time to recognize will likely get repeated.  So thank folks for doing well even with things that are at the core of their job.  It costs nothing to say “well done” and the impact is tremendous.

  3. They think “people first.”  They understand that teams which are treated well will very often turn that same care around to their Guests.  They know that well trained teams who are recognized for their amazing work will give better service.  They also embrace that when the right talent is selected, and they are trained to be great at their jobs, that phenomenal service is more easily achievable.  In short, its all about the people.

  4. They Communicate like Pros.  They understand that what they say has impact. This could be the recognition we mentioned earlier or it could be that off hand comment you said that cut someone down – it can go either way.  Great leaders embrace communication as a way to inspire an engaged workforce and to be sure that they have the latest skills.  This is also very much about training and continual development of the team.  None of this can happen in an information vacuum, so make sure that you have regular touch points and daily pre-shift meetings to keep everyone up to date on what’s happening

  5. They remember to serve themselves, too. Often really great leaders leave nothing in the tank for themselves.  It is so easy to forget to take a moment to breath that often great leaders end up feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.  This is natural for those who refuse to lose, but it is not a sustainable strategy.  Remember that taking your vacation, saying “no” judiciously, and making time for family are all ways to keep the pressures of work at bay.  Think about it this way, if you burn out who will lead your team and make sure your Guests are well tended?

So remember, the actions you take directly impact the Guest experience – whether you are serving them yourself or working with your team to deliver the very best service.

When you think about your actions each day and take a deliberate approach to leadership, you’ll find that you inspire your team to put the Guest at the center of everything they do.

And that leads to a culture that treats Guests as cherished friends.


Tony Johnson

-Guest Experience Leader-

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