The Habits of Amazing People: Habitually Focus on Excellence
Amazing people have many habits in common. A book by Shep Hyken, Be Amazing or Go Home, discusses these habits.
This last post in the series is no more important than any others, but it is no less important. This focuses on putting all the habits discussed into action, but with a mindset of customer excellence and being a leader, no matter what position you might hold. Make excellence a habit. Just like the other six habits, it sounds simple, right? It is simple in theory, yet hard in practice.
Make Excellence a Habit
“It’s what you do that matters, not what you know.”
We have been talking about what you need to do to make the customer service experience an amazing one. Now that you have those tools, it’s time to work on making them a habit. It is your time to take something you want to build into a habit and do it every day for 21 days. This repetition will help solidify the habit. You now have the tools to be the best customer service provider out there; now, you have to work on making a continuous effort.
Making excellence a habit has been “easy-hard” for me. The principles are there; they are very “easy” to implement, but I find that I slip back into bad habits when rushed or when I get into a “comfortable” mindset. Then I have to step back, and put into place the practice principles needed to move forward with amazing support.
Being excellent is something we all want to be, but if you are a pro at anything, you have to practice. Amazing customer support is not any different. I love the sentence in the book, “It is not what you know, but how you practice.” This one phrase says so much. You might know it all, but you will not implement it if you do not practice. Excellence is about using your skills or fine-tuning the skills you need. You have to practice, practice, practice to make this a success.
Find a way to create a daily routine incorporating a different skill for 21 days. After the first week, it will get easier. After the second week, you will wonder why you have not done this all along. By the end of the third week, you will forget that you had to make an effort to put this into your day. Then implement a second habit. You will find that your customers are happier at the end of a 6-month time frame, and your overall days are better for it.
Remember that all the excellent advice in the world is not worth anything if you do not implement it. You can have all the skills of an ideal customer service employee, but if you are not in the habit of using those skills, they are worthless. So get in that excellence mindset, and let’s start building new habits!
Do What You Say You’ll Do
“Looking for a sure way to lose someone’s confidence? Say you’ll do something, then don’t.”
Do what you say you are going to do. If you can’t be honest, you will never be able to gain a customer’s trust in the long run. Amazing customer service has to be direct customer service. Your responsibility is to be honest about costs, delays, and any issues, good and bad, that might arise. You cannot build a solid customer relationship based on half-truths or outright lies.
Follow through on what you say you will do for your customer. If you say you are going to do it, then do it. If you tell a customer that you will send a follow-up email on the status of a project every Friday, then do it. If you say to a customer you will have a process for them to review by the end of the day, do it. Treat the customer how you want to be treated, meet your commitments, or let them know why there will be delays. Nothing is more frustrating than when you sit around and wait for an issue to be fixed, and it doesn’t happen. Don’t be “that” person; be respectful of the customer’s time, and make sure you deliver as promised.
Communicate it if you cannot do it. How often have you called the cable company, and they say we will be at your house between eight and noon, and then they never show up? When you were waiting, how often did the service department call to say they were running late or needed to reschedule? Think about how you felt when you got the call saying they would have to reschedule and the time you did not get a call at all. While you were frustrated in both cases, you at least knew what was going on when you got a call to reschedule. These conversations are not fun for you or your customer, but you must do this for continued amazing support. While you might be frustrated when a service department tells you they cannot get to you today, at least you know where you stand.
When in doubt, write it down. I tell people if it is not on my calendar, it does not exist. I have to write everything down, or quite frankly, I forget. Now there are a LOT of tools that can help you remember. A favorite of mine that I just found in the last six months is Todoist. I put notes in for reminders. This practice of putting things on my calendar, and notes in Todoist, help me to remember commitments and deadlines that need to be met. So find something that works for you, and write it down.
Remember, the customer expects you to do what you say you will do. Most customers understand that things can happen, but the key is transparency, honesty, and open communication about what you will do next. If you are in a customer-facing role, you need to follow through and do what you say you will do.
Cultivate a Leadership Mindset
”Think like a leader, not a follower.”
How often do you sit at your desk and say to yourself, “I am going to keep my head down and just do my job”? All of us have done it at some point, but were you aware that you were in a mindset that is setting you up to fail at providing amazing support to your customers? It would help if you were in the right mindset of leading and not following to create those amazing experiences.
Know the difference between a leader and a follower. Do you know the difference? Did you say a great leader tells me what to do? (Probably not.) Great leaders are those people we go to for guidance, and they are forward thinkers. A leader is looking to add value to the customer experience, create and improve customer relations, and be that enthusiastic voice the customer wants to talk to. Did you notice that I did not say the words manager, supervisor, or lead link anywhere in that sentence? Being a leader does not mean you are one of these types of positions. It is your responsibility to help lead your customers in the right direction for their problems to get the best results.
The seven big differences between a leader’s and a follower’s mindset:
- A leader doesn’t act out of fear; instead, a leader inspires confidence.
- Instead of focusing on not making a mistake, a leader focuses on adding value.
- Instead of considering the rule book first, a leader first considers the outcomes of their decisions, then looks at the rule book – and knows which rules can be broken and when.
- When a problem arises, a leader doesn’t worry about who will be blamed; instead, a leader focuses on finding the right solution.
- Instead of waiting for the current day to be over, a leader can’t wait for the next day to begin.
- Instead of spreading rumors, a leader spreads enthusiasm.
- Instead of thinking in terms of job titles, leaders think in terms of relationships.
Make thinking like a leader a habit. Now that you know the differences between a leader and a follower, it is up to you to make this a habit. Like anything else, it will take effort, but after a couple of weeks, you will see the difference in yourself, and your customers will see a difference in the type of support they receive. So, focus on being a leader and providing that amazing experience to your customers.
What are you doing to make excellence a habit? Share your thoughts with your team and us; then contact ArcherPoint to learn how our customer service offerings can help you.
Read all our blogs on the habits of amazing people:
- 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
- Think outside the rule book
- Stay a step ahead
- Ask directly for feedback
- Look past the honeymoon
- Rate yourself
- Fulfill the promise
- Commit to constant, never-ending improvement
- Own it! Take personal responsibility
- Have a Common Purpose and Focus on It
- It’s Your Responsibility to Resolve the Issue … Regardless of Who is at Fault
- Deliver More Than Expected by Going the Extra Mile
Learn more about ArcherPoint’s customer service offerings.