So many organisations come to us, scratching their heads and asking for help to solve a little customer service conundrum that goes a little bit like this:
Watertight processes… A good team of people… Invested in all sorts of training…. Still not quite reaching customer service EXCELLENCE. What to do?
And whilst each story is unique, something we will often consider as part of the final solution, is Mindfulness.
Often, it is the small, personalised gestures that create the magical moments we are looking for. But how can we teach people first to recognise a ‘moment’, and then to make it magical?
Take the Focus off the Customer (For a Moment)
When there is too much focus on what we should do for the customer, and the processes we must follow, it can leave interactions lacking authenticity. Service becomes a job to be done instead of an opportunity to make peoples’ days a little bit brighter. So to get a better balance we encourage investing time in helping people to reconnect with themselves, before we explore how they can connect with customers. By giving people the space and skills to rebuild or preserve their own energy levels, we create more positive energy to be shared with others. Happy people equals happy customers, promise!
Clear the stuff that clouds the mind
When we take a moment to watch all the thoughts and ‘voices’ at play in our heads it’s a busy old place! Most of us have characters that judge, worry, critique, rush (to name just a few!) With the pace of the modern world and the demands we place on ourselves, there is more often than not, too little time in which to do too many things. It is all this ‘stuff’ going on in our heads that creates a barrier to embracing the present moment and noticing, with clarity, what is going on around us. A great example that many of us will be familiar with is arriving home on the drive realising you haven’t even noticed the drive back! And this is something that happens hundreds of times a day, sometimes without even realising it; whilst completing any kind of task, or talking to family members, colleagues and customers. (Check out The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle if you’re interested in reading more.)
Dr Sara Lazar defines Mindfulness as “disengaging from the everyday and paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, without judgement.” And there are many ways we can nurture this skills including ‘check-ins’, breathwork, gratitude journals, intention-setting, and The Core Value Approach. But remember, this is about practicing mindfulness; it isn’t something that will happen overnight. But when you start to gain control over the thoughts you latch onto and the ones you don’t, it can be a new found freedom! (A great app to try out can be found at headspace.com. )
Keep Process in its Place
Process should be there to provide a framework, a structure or a fall back should something go wrong. But if a customer service function is too heavily governed by process and targets then more often than not you will breed customer service robots instead of characterful people-people who practice service excellence from the heart, because they want to, not just because they should. Finding a balance and leaving room for people to make personal contributions is super-duper important.
We have a great 1-day corporate Mindfulness programme that will change the way you think forever – check it out if you’re interested in finding out more!