Shareworthy Service – either good or bad – has two main components: Professionalism and Kindness. Each component has seven facets.
Yesterday, I examined the seven facets of Professionalism – the boring bedrocks of any successful company. Today, we get to talk about Professionalism’s fun baby sister: Kindness.
Kindness gets all the headlines and wins all the awards. Kindness is splashy and silly and three exclamation point all caps FUN!!!
1. Active Listening
You can usually tell when people are dialed in, can’t you? Active listening changes your expression. Your head leans forward, and you fidget less – if at all. You’re really hearing someone’s problem, challenge or situation. It builds confidence in the person telling the story.
You can dazzle them by repeating back the essence of what they said ‘just to make sure you have it right.’ So many people today don’t listen actively. They seem merely waiting for the other person to finish so they can start talking again. Sound familiar? The good news is you can practice your active listening skills.
I actually don’t believe the customer is always right, do you? Sometimes, the customer is uniquely unqualified to assess what’s best for them. That said, an expert at empathy understands the delicate bridge connecting what the customer wants and what the customer needs.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, then use the benefit of your expertise to simply show them what they’d really prefer to do if they had your knowledge and skill set.
Engaged people give off a contagious energy. Your company’s next superstar, in fact, is out there right now willing to dazzle you with his or her eyes and smile and personality. You may just have to pull up to the second window to find her.
Dave Wisniewski taught me this a long time ago: Keep some cards with you. If you get engaging service at a drive-through, for example, hand the engager a card and suggest they come in for an interview for a sales position with your company.
Think about it – if someone can greet you with bright eyes and a smile at the drive through window of Long John Silver’s – imagine what she could do making eight to ten times that much without her clothes having to, umm, smell like that every day. You know engaged people when you see them. You know the bright eyes and the locked-in, nothing-else-matters-but-you look.
For reasons passing understanding, I can still remember the birthdays of everyone in my eighth grade class (Steve – Oct. 5).
The good news is that this carried over into adulthood. I make a point – an effort – to remember the names of people’s children and what they’ve been working on lately. I remember a person’s favorite drink or what kind of foods they don’t like.
If you struggle with these things, why not use something like Evernote or some other syncable application to make notes of them. That’s how your stylist does it, you know.
My father, a Marine, and my mother, raised in a family surrounded by schoolteachers, taught us ‘yes, sir’ and ‘yes ma’am’ values at a very early age. I would rather you tell me my children are polite and respectful than that they’re smart or talented or good looking. There’s simply no substitute for respect.
Lord, give us both the ability to take things seriously and the ability to be silly and fun. And please, Lord, give us the wisdom to know when each is appropriate. I ask you, though, wouldn’t it be far more remarkable for a place to loosen up and have a little fun more often?
Wouldn’t most interactions with most businesses be improved with a little fun? Like when I got that colonoscopy a couple months ago. I tell ya, the doctor had me in stitches. He said the funniest thing as he was getting ready to … wait, maybe this is a story better saved for another day.
I wrote about privilege last week. We like to be made to feel special. We like perks and treats and the perception that we’re getting some degree of preferential treatment – even if it’s policy. For example, we stayed at the Vdara hotel in Vegas when I spoke at a company’s annual meeting a few months back. I’d call down, and the guy would say:
“Hello, Mr. Miles. This is Stephen. How can I help you this evening?”
Look, I know my name pops up on a screen. I don’t care. I feel like Elvis or Prince or somebody. I know the next guy who calls – his name is popping up on the same screen. I don’t care. I fall for it every time. It’s the little things.
Vegas is a fine hub for shareworthy service. So are many resorts in the Caribbean. I think we’d all do well to do some research in one or both of those places, don’t you?
Tomorrow? A killer story of kindness. (Sorry – that’s not a pun. It’s just a really good story.)
Then, we’ll close out the week with how to IMPLEMENT, MEASURE & REWARD these characteristics in your company. It’s actually easier and harder than you might suspect … kinda like remembering every birthday from the kids in your eighth grade class.
(Scott – May 5)