Companies are losing 62 billion dollars annually to bad customers service.
Investing in strategies that will inspire employees to go the extra mile is a good and essential business decision.
Who Knew DMV Could Get It Right
I once heard Ken Blanchard share a story that illustrates how even the most unlikely organizations can inspire their employees to go the extra mile to delight their customers.
After years of avoiding the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, Blanchard decided the time had come for him to renew his license. “Block my calendar for three hours,” he told his secretary. “That’s how long it takes to get anything done at the DMV.”
But from the moment he stepped into the building, he knew something was radically different.
An affable woman greeted him at the door. She quickly directed him to a friendly clerk who helped him fill out his forms and take his picture. In seven minutes he was done. His wasn’t an isolated case. He learned that the new director in charge was the inspiration behind a culture that was turning their customers into raving fans.
I’ve seen similar transformations too, and they all begin when one leader is willing to model and reward three behaviors:
Empathy is the ability to stand in the other person’s shoes, see through their eyes, think through their perspective, and feel with their hearts. Empathy allows you to become a champion for them through all you say and do.
Studies show that empathy and empathy-driven policies in the workplace positively affect performance, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.
Start here: Put yourself in the shoes of your team members by asking: What type of communication and behavior would inspire me to feel engaged at work.
Exceptional leaders inspire their team members to take ownership because they have a keen understanding of human nature and communication. They excel at building bridges to the hearts and minds of their team members by communicating a compelling story—the vision of the organization—authentically.
Being authentic, for them, also means asking for feedback. They understand that everyone has blind spots and that employees can offer have valuable data that can positively impact their effectiveness as leaders and decision makers.
They also understand how difficult it is to gather valuable feedback, because many people shy away from sharing or share in a way that isn’t productive. For that reason, they intentionally develop systems and cultures that facilitate the gathering and sharing of feedback. Like Ken Blanchard, they believe that “feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
Start Here: Invite employees to answer two simple questions: “What would make you feel like an owner in our organization?” and “If you were me, what would you do differently?”
“I just work here. I don’t make up the rules. You’ll have to my supervisor.” I hear these statements all the time when I’m working with companies that have allowed their internal cultures to deteriorate. Those comments and underlying attitudes often point to the real issue: employees don’t feel like their judgment is valued and respected.
Consider why “Powered by Service” is not just a corporate tagline for Zappos. It’s a declaration that employees will have the freedom to use their good judgment in order to deliver world-class service. When we treat employees like owners we recognize and honor their ability to think for themselves and make good decisions when it really counts.
Bottom line: employees who experience their leaderss going the extra mile for them behave like their leaders. Start now and see what happens.
Once you decide to implement “Go the Extra Mile” changes in your organization, the results begin to materialize fairly quickly. Start today!