A friend asked me what the employees of his business needed to do to deliver amazing service. Without so much as a blink, I responded, “You have to care.”
“Is that it?” he asked.
“Yep, that’s it. But it means more than you think.”
I went on to explain that his employees and everyone else in his organization needed to care more about serving others—including co-workers—more than anything else.
Let’s unpack all of that.
First, what is it to care?
To apply serious attention or consideration to providing what is necessary for the welfare and protection of something or someone. At least that’s what the dictionary says.
So, when I say you must care, what I am saying, in the service context, is that you essentially have to be concerned and attentive to others and their hopes, needs, and problems. If you can get your team members to make that their focus instead of numbers, efficiencies, or even themselves and their own baggage, you will have an organization that can provide outstanding service. And when I say care for others, I am not referring to customers alone, as I said earlier, I am referring to fellow team members as well. Care isn’t only for some.
But there’s more. Care isn’t just for people, it has to be for the work itself. Your people have to care about their craft, no matter what that craft is. As Martin Luther King said, “Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.” To have this mindset requires attention and consideration to providing what’s necessary to make the work outstanding. Again, it’s care.
Care is a desire. It is wanting to help. It is wanting to do your best work. Think of all of the times when you have experienced service that came out of a manual. Everybody is checking all of the boxes and doing the things they were trained, but it feels forced and fake. Give me someone who truly wants to be helpful any day.
“So,” asked my friend, “how do I get that to happen?”
“You have to do it yourself,” I replied. “You must lead the charge. You must be the example. You have to care more about helping those you serve than everything else. You have to make people the priority over financials and all of the other ‘things’ we put out front. You have to continually strive for excellence in your work. This is the caring I am talking about.”
He took a deep breath, shook his head, and we started talking about something else. I think it was a lot to take in. Maybe too much.
Is this thinking too much for you? Do you care more about those you’ve been entrusted to care for than all of the other “things” that are so often put first? Can you lead the charge or will you go back to the status quo?
What do you have to do to deliver great service? Care damn it. That is where service begins.
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