In most cases, you can’t serve your Customers alone.
It takes a team.
And a team takes Teamwork!
If you work in a large organization, chances are you will have to fight silos every single day. It’s the reality of how humans work that we tend to group ourselves with those with whom we identify – folks who share our values and those who do like work. It’s no wonder that work groups, teams, lines of business, and divisions tend to get stuck in silos. In fact, it feels to natural to do so that it makes fighting those lines of demarcation all the more difficult.
But it must be done. The agility needed by today’s Customer requires it because silos make us sluggish, resistant to change, and destroys teamwork.
Which is why teamwork is one of the best ways to bust down these walls. Keep an eye out for team members in need and really strive to get into the mix. This can take many forms, but I recommend starting at the most basic level – lend folks a hand. If you work in a large office building or location strive for acts of kindness to strangers or colleagues you only know perfunctorily. This could be assisting someone who is carrying a heavy box or a stack of files, holding the elevator, or opening a door. It may seem basic, but you’d be surprised how quickly this leads to more meaningful interactions.
You should be looking for ways to reach out – learn about a colleague and what their group is working on or offer to help out another division on a project. Often large organizations have cross functional projects or teams that participate in community outreach. If you can bolster relationships and help make your community a better place, then you really doubled down. It could be a food drive, Habitat for Humanity, or a community garden.
But the important thing is to jump at whatever drives interaction and communication. Learn people’s names, help where you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for help in return. You would be surprised how helpful folks can be when you take the time to let them know you need help. That is one of the biggest opportunities most leaders have – letting go of the notion that asking for assistance makes you weak. That’s minor league thinking for sure, and I can say that knowing that I was once guilty of it as well. It take a certain level of maturity to ask for help. Certainly it does make you vulnerable – but it’s a kind of vulnerability that people respect. You can’t possibly utilize your team to its fullest potential if you shy away from asking for help. That could mean reaching out to a colleague, someone in another division, your boss, or even those who report to you.
Leave nothing to chance when it comes to delivering amazing Customer service. That all starts with the amazing communication you can achieve when the lines are wide open and the barriers are knocked down. It also means being confident and aware enough to ask for help well in time to avoid a service interruption or hiccup.
Great Leaders striving for amazing service put the Customer and mission well ahead of pride. Often Customer facing outlets find themselves “in the weeds” during busy periods. Whether you’re in charge of a grocery store, restaurant, or a shipping depot, you could find yourself understaffed and very busy. This is when you absolutely have to do the right thing and reach out for help.
I can remember leading a retail group in downtown Chicago several years ago when a combination of weather and illness wiped out 60% of our team. We were approaching a busy period and nothing good was about to happen for our Customers. But being a part of a large organization can have it’s benefits – and in this case it certainly did. Calling around to colleagues in the area I was able to borrow several Front Line Associates and we were able to pull through. We had to pull every last back office staffer to pitch in but we delivered great service to our Customers.
The other thing I learned was to be sure that you hire folks who have a “whatever it takes attitude.” Too often Office Managers, Controllers, Marketers, and HR Partners are never tapped to help during a staffing pinch. If you are sure to let them know during the hiring process that they are expected to pitch in when staffing is tight, you’ll be stocked with a support team who is ready to truly support in all facets of the business.
So remember, keep your Customers in mind at all times and it will make it easier to ask for help. Show your team that needing help isn’t a sign of weakness by doing so yourself. It will break up the monotony in everyone’s day and benefit your Customers in the end.
Until next time, be sure to ask for assistance when you need it and treat every Customer as a cherished friend.
Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Trainer | Consultant | Author | Keynote Speaker
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