Managers in Service to Their Customer Service Employees
If managers want their employees to give good customer service they should treat their employees as their own valuable customers. This kind of reversal of roles makes things interesting as well as highly effective. Good customer service flows from a sincere desire to serve and the groundwork for this desire is laid when someone is serving the server. A smart manager knows that by making his employees feel special they are more apt to treat the customers as special. What goes around comes around.
This involves several steps in thinking. First you have to come down off your pedestal and become one with your workers. Easier said than done. It’s difficult because you still must maintain control and you still have authority, but you shouldn’t put yourself above your workers. You may have an alternate role, but you are still one of them. Your employees will respect you for it. A move towards equality will be regarded as fair play and will create positive vibes.
Secondly you have to court transparency. While it is impossible to be totally transparent, hidden motives, backroom dealing, and the like only serve to arouse suspicions and distrust. Be upfront in your relationships with your workers. They look to you for honesty, integrity, and fairness. Of course those are lofty goals and we cannot attain them fully, but we can move in that direction. Avoid in-fighting and back stabbing. It doesn’t make for a healthy environment. Direct your workers through clear and open requests.
Thirdly, be flexible. You won’t lose face if something arises that throws you. In many cases our fallibilities are endearing. Don’t expect to be perfect. Setting yourself up that way means you’re in for a big letdown. You will quickly find that your employees have never regarded you as perfect and the fact you thought you were was alienating to them. Show weakness. It’s a strength.
Once you’ve put yourself in the role of serving your employees, there are many ways to act it out. Some of them include trying to get to know your employees. Without getting personal, ask them about their lives. Most employees will be honored that you’ve taken an interest in them. As a boss you’re an important person in their life. They want to have a stake in the relationship.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Your employees are fallible human beings. Don’t be too hard on their mistakes. It only creates an atmosphere of vindictiveness and pettiness. Correct them when they’re wrong, but don’t be too hard on them. Instead guide them along the way you want them to go. Be quick to forgive and forget.
Honor their talents and give them the credit they deserve. If you want good employees you have to be willing to reinforce their strengths. Give praise freely to the point where it doesn’t become meaningless.
Walk in their shoes. Most people like to be understood. Everyone hates to be misunderstood. Put yourself in their position. St Francis of Assis said it best, “Let me seek to understand than be understood”. Good words to live by.
By making your employees your customers, you set them on the road to become good servants themselves.