Society’s desire for speed and convenience is compromising the customers’ greatest and basic needs as humans: care, kindness and one-on-one attention.
Service is simple. Yet the many complex systems and processes organisations have are not delivering the service customers crave.
Cultivating the human touch
A recent report by McKinsey & Company explains that companies that add the human touch to digital sales consistently outperform their competitors.
They achieve five times more revenue, eight times more operating profit, and, for public companies, twice the return to shareholders.
Rather than look at complex customer service strategies and ways to engage staff, organisations must look to the powerful and influential people in their business – the frontline leaders.
Employing the right people
Ray Kroc, for example, built the USD700-mil-dollar per annum fast food revolution that is McDonald’s. His secret to building the empire that now feeds one percent of the world’s population? Employ the right people and teach them the systems later.
While most people suggest operational systems and automation as the winning combination that made the brand a global giant, and the poster child for any franchise, it was actually the type of employee that the golden arches attracted and Kroc’s obsession with building a tribe of brand advocates that was the trick.
It is also no accident that McDonald’s employees, particularly those who have held leadership positions, stand out on resumes compared to other potential candidates.
They have been part of a culture that understands service. They have been trained and developed in an environment that treats its employees, and its leaders, as being just as important as its customers.
Leaders as role models
Leadership is about consistently behaving and showing up as a role model that others respect.
Leaders set the tone for the day, and the shift, with each and every interaction with an employee. In turn, this has a flow-on effect to customers.
When leaders are conscious about their behaviour, they ask great questions of staff, listen deeply, see things through others’ eyes and always explain clearly the intention behind things. Trust is created with employees, which creates a truly influential tribe.
This is how an organisation creates a workforce that is consistently engaged, performing at their optimum level and supporting each other to make sure that the small daily acts of devotion to customers are felt regardless of the time of day, purchase price or length of transaction.
Service leaders in a hierarchical organisation are directly responsible for the frontline workforce, so it is their responsibility to encourage their teams to love giving service, to cultivate this kind of service culture.
Leaders must be able to identify and lead healthy human behaviours among their employees as it has a significant impact on overall business performance.
They must become conscious of their own habits and practices, and promote, encourage and lead their frontline staff, so that they in turn look after and nurture the organisation’s most valuable assets – the customers.