Elevating Performance

There’s room for improvement when it comes to your customer service performance and it’s in your own best interests to do better. Whether you want to hang on to your present job, gain respect from peers, are hoping for a promotion or want to feel better about the work you do, now is the time to rearrange your priorities and make customer service number one.

Do you find yourself thinking someone in your workplace should be reading this? Fine; share with them. However, name the person who is proving such superior customer service that there is no room for improvement whatsoever. Those who provide the very best customer service are always striving to offer more, do what they currently do better, and their biggest fear is not doing enough. Those that provide mediocre customer service seldom if ever worry about elevating their own performance.

Think about your own experiences when you’re the customer. Whether in a store, at the Doctor’s, dealing with the person who picks up your garbage or talking to the Newspaper Carrier, you can tell when you get great service vs. poor or even average service. When there’s a problem with the service you receive, often a senior employee assigned to address your concerns will ask point-blank, “What could we do to make things right?” At this point, you find yourself sharing with the person your expectations, and the gulf between those expectations and the customer service you actually experienced determine your degree of dissatisfaction.

Now think about what you would expect if you were the customer experiencing the level of service you currently provide. Would you be thrilled, happy or dissatisfied if someone provided the same service as you currently provide? That is certainly one way to evaluate your own performance. There is of course another way to measure your performance that is much more personal; your moral compass. Your moral compass is something you carry with you every day and it’s always there, indicating whether your service was exemplary, good, average, underperforming or flat-out poor.

Allow me to use myself as an example, because like you, I too have a moral compass that I carry with me day in day out. When I sit down with someone who comes to a resume workshop, the first thing I know is that they didn’t come expecting to leave with a resume. You may think I made a typing mistake there but I assure you I didn’t. No they don’t come expecting to leave with a resume; they come expecting to leave with a great resume. No one walks in and says, “Can you just throw something together – it doesn’t even have to be good.” Their name is at the top of the page; this is their personal marketing document, and I’m the resume professional. The term professional dictates that I act in a professional way and do the very best I’m capable of – no less.

If I were to do a rush job, say because my colleagues invited me to go to the local coffee shop and I put our relationship ahead of this client and their resume, I’m clearly not doing my best. My moral compass would swing around in another direction and point to ‘poor’ in terms of my service to this person. While they might not have the knowledge or skill to know the difference in the quality of their resume, I certainly do.

There are many people who completely ignore their moral compass of course. They could care less about what they know to be customer service excellence. They strive for customer service mediocrity. “Let me do the least I can to keep my job but I expect to be paid the same as the best of my peers. I just don’t see why they push themselves to do more when less gets you just as far.” What I’m pointing out here of course is a poor attitude. Do you see yourself or someone you work with like this?

Now those that don’t need this post are likely providing great customer service already; well done. The people who under-perform on a regular basis may indeed recognize themselves, but shock of shocks won’t feel any inclination to make any changes in their performance; after all it’s probably break time. That’s sad for their customers of course and the businesses that employ them.

However, let’s be optimistic here and believe that at least some of those who could and should elevate their customer service do want to improve and provide a better experience for those they serve. It’s the little things you could do. Treat customers just as you yourself would like to be treated – as if they were in full possession of the knowledge you have. You can tell when you’re doing your best and when you’re under-performing and doing the minimum required.

Give the customer your full attention. If they are right in front of you, focus on them, look at them, smile and hear them out. If you work on an assembly line and never see the actual customer who will end up with your product, picture them buying it and expecting a defect-free product. Do your very best.

The best provide superior customer service because it’s the right thing to do. Customers and employers have every right to demand and keep the best. Elevate your performance; heed your moral compass.


One thought on “Elevating Performance

  1. You hit the nail on the head when you said treat the customer as you would like to treated yourself. We all need to keep improving on what we do. What boggles my mind why the stores and other employers insist on making speed and be all and end all. Meeting their time limit so they won’t be fired is the main goal of store clerks these days. When you need help the common refrain is “This isn’t my department” spoken as you see the back of the clerk as he or she rushes away on the run. As computerized timing becomes more and more popular, the less and less you see of good customer service.


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