Service Excellence and the Art of Leadership
Leadership is an art, something required to make any business succeed. When employees watch one strategy after another fail or provide few results, they become increasingly skeptical. Without seeing a strong commitment to leadership that goes beyond the rollout of a new service initiative, they become confused and unmotivated. Regardless of the service program, vision statement, or service strategy formation, strong leadership must be the driving force.
Unless there is a commitment from the top down in making a solid improvement in behaviors, opinions, processes, testing, measurements, and so on, nothing will truly work. This is why long-term dedication to effective execution is so critical.
Regardless of title or position, employees pay close attention to leadership commitment. Employees watch to see how managers spend their time, how they hold people accountable, what meetings focus on, what type of actions are recognized and rewarded, and if managers walk the walk.
To show employees that you are 100 percent committed to leadership and the execution of strategies that will improve service, consider the following:
- Walk the Walk – As the saying goes, “talk is cheap.” To prove your commitment as a leader and to service excellence, you must walk the walk. As an example, if you expect employees to be organized and detailed-oriented, then you should be, as well.
- Vision in the Forefront – Stressing service excellence is important. However, behaviors will never change unless the vision is repeatedly emphasized. For instance, start each meeting with attendees sharing something positive, perhaps hitting a sales goal or completing special training. Over time, they will realize that this is business as normal.
- Good Communication – To stress your commitment as a leader, send out an internal newsletter to make employees aware of positive actions by others that resulted in excellent service. This will provide everyone with a clear vision of what is expected as well as help motivate.
- Employee Accountability – As a leader, it is imperative that you hold employees accountable. Having accountability processes in place gives you the opportunity to conduct appraisals and stress specific customer service behaviors.
In a leadership position, you are the role model for the company’s commitment to outstanding customer service. Remember, employees will follow your lead. Therefore, holding them accountable for their performance is the best way to make service excellence a key component of the company’s culture. As customer excellence improves, you will see a significant difference in the company’s overall operations.