Habits of Amazing People: Think Outside the Rule Book
Be Amazing or Go Home, the book by Shep Hyken, talks about “Amazing People” and the habits they have in common. In this blog series, I share some of these habits. Here are the habits we've covered so far:
- Show up prepared to amaze
- Understand what it means to be amazing
- Always act as if you're on stage
- Show up early - be on “Lombardi time”
- Act like you’re always on the clock
- Create an "anti-NO" zone
- Be proactive
- Think ahead
- Create predictably positive experiences
In this post, I discuss how to think outside the rule book.
"Think of the relationship before you start reciting the rule book."
Throughout my career, I have always thought it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission when it comes to making decisions for the betterment of the situation at that time. I have found that, if you know you can correct an issue and be a little outside of the "rules" but have a positive outcome for the company and the customer, then most of the time you will be "forgiven." This think outside the rule book approach ensures you are making a decision based on the betterment of both the company and the customer. If you are not accomplishing one of these goals, you need to follow the current rules.
Regarding thinking outside the rule book, Hyken said it best when he laid out five rules that you should never break, and the rest are negotiable. Those five rules are:
1. Don’t lie to me.
2. Don’t steal from me.
3. Don’t do something illegal.
4. Don’t do something that is going to hurt my business.
5. Don’t do something that you know is going to upset the customer, your fellow employees, or one of your business partners.
As long as you remember NOT to break any of these rules, others can be bent a little to help better serve the customer. That is what it means to think outside the rule book.
Do not confuse this with the old adage that the customer is always right. As a customer service representative, you need to take the time to ask questions, get a clear picture of the issue, and resolve it. This "Ridiculous Interpretation of Rules" by Hyken has the best example of rules taken too far and how bending the rules can create an enjoyable or a bad experience.
One of the basic rules you need to remember when working with your customers is to trust your customer. We often become jaded as we work in the customer service industry. I have taken the viewpoint that the customer will lie to get the results they want. Now, is this true? It is NOT true, but there are a few customer experiences I have had (and sometimes still do) that affected my outlook. Most of your customers are honest. If they question your service, it is because they are not sure about the how’s and why's of an outcome. If you trust your customer, it is easier to find a solution that can help both of you, even if you have to bend the rules a little. That's one way to think outside the rule book.
To think outside the rule book does not mean you throw the book out the window. This habit is just a reminder that you might be able to create a magic moment for the customer if you think outside of the box. At ArcherPoint, we use the Holacracy operating system for business, which allows us the autonomy to do this. As long as you follow the rules above, you should be able to create moments that are beneficial to both your customers and your organization.
What are some ways you can think outside the rule book for a better outcome? What rules are "bendable"? Please share your thoughts with us and with your company; then contact us to see how our customer service offerings can help you.
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