We are told to care for customers and clients but we’re never told to care for each other. We’re told to provide great service for those outside the company but never told to provide great service for each other. But why? Why do we forget about providing for those who surround us every day?
It’s illogical. It’s like telling our kids to be sure to show respect to the neighbors, but when you’re at home, treat your brother or sister however you’d like. Imagine what that would look like. The kids would yell, scream, and fight with their siblings without restraint and then be golden when they visit the kids next door or when they speak to Mr. or Ms. Johnson down the street. Sure, right…never, it doesn’t work that way.
It’s simple really. If the kids are allowed to treat each other like dirt at home, there’s no way they’re going to be polite and helpful with others outside the home. We all know this, yet somehow when we step into the workplace, we expect it to go differently. We head off to work and treat coworkers as less than worthy of our service and then expect them to get in front of customers and put on a happy face.
But here’s the critical bottom line, much like our battling siblings above, employees simply cannot help customers most effectively outside the house if they aren’t helping each other effectively inside the house. What’s accepted and practiced inside is what will get practiced outside.
So how can we change the inside of our house? What can we do to make things go differently? Well, it’s not that complicated and it doesn’t require systems or rules or training. All it requires is a habit, a habit of asking this question, “How can I help you?” The five most important words for any success whether business, team, department, customer service, or most anything, five words that declare a commitment to being helpful and making the overall effort a success. Five words (words your mom probably taught you but you’ve forgotten) that could change the world – yes, the world, w-o-r-l-d!
Imagine people freely jumping in to be helpful. Imagine workplaces where managers roll up their sleeves to give a hand to their team members. Imagine those team members helping each other without grumbling or worrying about who is or isn’t pulling their fair share of the weight. Imagine senior executives looking for ways to help employees by making the work easier and less complicated. Imagine how much all that helping would impact customers, how much it would just make life better. That, my friends, is changing the world.
So here’s the deal for business leaders, while you’re preaching to your charges that they have to care for customers and clients, make it equally clear that they have to care for each other too. That’s the only way it’ll all work. That’s the only way to keep the household playing nice both at home and down the street at old Mr. and Ms. Johnson’s.
Five damn simple, memorable, humbling, generous, friendly, powerful, strategic, service-focused, culture-defining words can make it happen…HOW CAN I HELP YOU?
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