In most businesses, the front-line employee typically gets the recognition and glory. They include Account Executives, IT Techs, Consultants, Doctors, Lawyers, and Accountants. They are also the ones who immediately see the impact they have on customers. However, for those we refer to as invisible service providers, e.g., support teams, admins, receptionists, contact center, warehouse, and back office are rarely praised for the part they play in the customer experience. Yet for the highest levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction, it’s crucial that business leaders inspire every team member to understand how their job impacts customers’ lives.
“A receptionist is like an offensive lineman. The only time their name gets called in a game is when they’ve screwed up. The dozens of times they played their position excellently went unnoticed, while everyone else received the recognition.”
Regardless of their position, whether as a front-line employee or working behind the scenes, every human being wants to know their hard work is contributing towards something impactful that goes beyond business outcomes. Ignoring this is one of the biggest mistakes companies make. All employees tend to thrive on meaningful feedback, sometimes even more than monetary rewards, and their dedication (or lack thereof) strongly impacts the overall quality of customer experience and company reputation. “People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something they are proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust,” said Howard Schultz, former President and CEO of Starbucks. Clearly, the feeling of making a difference is a key part of a positive work culture.
Secret Service: Hidden Systems for Best-in-Class Customer Experience
I have worked with all types of companies from all types of industries, but probably no phone call ever surprised me more than when I received a call from A-T Solutions, headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia. A-T stands for “anti-terrorism” training and consulting. I was positive that this company, run by ex-military personnel, mistook the title of my first book, Secret Service. However, I soon realized that the owner, Ken Falke, was well aware of what my version of Secret Service was and was very serious about making A-T Solutions a world-class customer service organization. They were experiencing enormous growth. Like any other company, they realized growth can be difficult when you are trying to get hundreds of employees including front facing customer service representatives and project teams to buy into your organization’s philosophy.
One of my projects was to help tie all their departments together and demonstrate how all people across the entire organization—receptionists, salespeople, trainers, human resources, marketing, accounting—contributed to the overall purpose and upheld the core values of the company. They needed to realize that no matter what their specific roles, they were all customer service employees.
As far as employee experiences go, being a receptionist of an anti-terrorist training company probably isn’t the sexiest job in the world. So, during one of my workshops, I showed a picture of an A-T Solutions trainer conducting a typical training program with military personnel; I then flashed to a picture of a soldier disposed in Afghanistan. Next, I showed a picture of a soldier stepping off a plane, being greeted by his wife and nine-month-old son, whom he had never met before. Finally, I followed that photo with a family vacationing on a beach somewhere. These were very powerful images. A-T Solutions doesn’t “sell” anti-terrorist training. As a result of what they provide, soldiers come home safely to their families and Americans travel safely together without a second thought of danger or fear. The company’s high level of customer service performance makes these things possible. And now, despite limited customer interaction, the receptionist can be proud because she sees the part she plays in the underlying purpose of what A-T Solutions provides.
What We Do Today Impacts Our Customers’ Lives
In his book Built to Serve, Dan Sanders shared a great example of this. Medtronic is a leader in medical technology, manufacturing prosthetic valves for use in hearts. Shift workers spend long hours on assembly lines producing these valves. On the surface, this does not appear to be the most rewarding job, putting pieces and parts together into a box and shipping it off, nor does it seem directly related to providing excellent customer service. However, Medtronic employees did not see themselves as producing heart valves; rather, they genuinely believed they were helping save lives. Their approach to quality, metaphorically speaking, included putting their own hearts into their work.
Medtronic holds an annual event where employees can meet patients who are alive because of transplanted artificial hearts containing Medtronic technology. These emotional connections with the end user of their work, the patients, who share stories with Medtronic employees of how they were able to walk their daughter down the aisle at her wedding because of the attention to detail these employees had for their jobs. Talk about a boost in employee morale, not to mention customer service motivation! It is a remarkable illustration of a company applying emotional intelligence to its organizational goals, in a way that will directly impact customer care. Bringing customer support representatives and other employees face to face with the people who so greatly benefit from their efforts allows Medtronic to provide a context of higher purpose for its workforce. Such interactions with customers result in focused and fulfilled employees, as company values become team values.
In The Experience Maker, friend and author Dan Gingiss, shared an excellent example of how Motorola does this for their employees. “Motorola Solutions is a telecommunications equipment provider that largely sells to other businesses and municipal or government units like public safety (it is no longer related to the smartphone manufacturer),” Gingiss writes. “Its products aren’t sexy, but they are critical and often lifesaving.” He points out that many business to business (B2B) marketers feel at a disadvantage to those at business to consumer (B2C) companies whose products or services can be advertised in a more exciting way. However, “Motorola Solutions proved this theory wrong with a fantastic video that didn’t feature its products so much as it featured the outcomes that its products provide. The video, titled Moments that Matter, shows police officers, firefighters, teachers, and medical professionals using Motorola Solutions equipment in their daily jobs and achieving extraordinary results.” More than just potentially disgruntled customers, these are people for whom experiencing bad customer service or unresolved customer issues could mean the difference between life and death.
In the video, words appear on the screen for the viewer to read, putting human faces on customer service experiences:
On any given day, every moment matters to someone somewhere.
Every moment millions of people around the world are impacted by what we do.
A policeman watches an intersection in Santiago, Chile.
A surgeon reads a chart in Hangzhou, China.
A hospital manages blood transfusions efficiently in Lyon, France.
An engineer checks a flood gauge in Zaragoza, Spain.
A family asks directions in Veracruz, Mexico.
A shopper pays for a skirt in London, UK.
A patient is rushed through a hospital in Victoria, Australia.
A teacher grades exams in Davenport, Iowa, USA.
Multiple fire crews coordinate their five-alarm response in Akita, Japan.
Our innovations, products and solutions play essential roles in people’s lives.
Everywhere, every day.
Right now we are saving seconds that can save his life.
Keeping him in control of the chaos.
Delivering critical data to the scene.
Helping them learn and grow.
Making just-in-time supply a reality.
Moving retailers closer to customers.
Connecting people around the world.
Growing. Protecting. Empowering. Transforming.
We help people be their best in the moments that matter.
This is why we’re here and why we do what we do.
This is our purpose.
This is our moment.
We are Motorola Solutions.
By showcasing extraordinary solutions to common issues–particularly ones impacting physical and psychological safety–Motorola is clear about its company goals, promising excellent service that will meet and even exceed customer expectations and undoubtedly have a major impact on the company’s customer satisfaction score.
Gingiss concludes, “The video is Extraordinary because it isn’t just a moving catalog of products; in fact, there isn’t a single product mentioned in the entire ad. But it shows the impact of Motorola Solutions products in an emotional and evocative way. That’s hard to do in the B2B world, but certainly not impossible.”
*Related – Who Really is Your Customer?
Broadway Star Sandra Joseph is Performing at the Customer Service Revolution Conference
We are thrilled to announce that Sandra Joseph is performing at this year’s Customer Service Revolution. Sandra Joseph is a history-making Broadway star, a #1 international Amazon bestselling author, and a TEDx and keynote speaker. Her legendary run as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera spanned ten years and over 1,500 performances. She holds the record as the longest-running leading lady in the longest-running Broadway show of all time. Sandra has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, The Today Show, The Early Show, The View, and many others.
The title of Sandra’s presentation is Unmasking What Matters. Sandra pulls back the curtain on her legendary career and reveals pivotal experiences and epiphanies that led to enduringly meaningful success on and off the stage. Her provocative stories, insights, and exercises help audiences unmask their own perspectives about life, work, love, loss, courage, perseverance, and what matters most.
- Find your authentic voice and stand in your “field of power”
- Perform at your absolute peak level especially when the stakes are high
- Connect with clients on a deep level so they know, like, trust, choose and stay loyal to YOU
- Stay fully engaged and passionate about your work even when you’ve been at it for a really long time
- Develop the courage to redesign your life and career to align with your own highest values
- Compromised Hiring
- Fast-Tracking New Employee Training
- Employee Turnover Increasing Dramatically
- Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention Dropping Significantly
- Systems not Buttoned-up and Scalable
- A Clashing of Cultures
If you’re currently -or in jeopardy of- experiencing any of these, register to join the webinar as John discusses how to avoid and fix the six biggest reasons your customer experience plummets when your company experiences fast growth
Chief Revolution Officer John DiJulius of The DiJulius Group talks to Brett Eaton, who is a High-Performance coach, speaker, author, founder of multiple coaching programs, and co-host of The Better You Blueprint Podcast. Brett’s mission is to help unleash the offensive mindset and strategy needed to unlock the extraordinary life that awaits. Together, we’ll build a legacy defined by your audacity, resilience, and unyielding pursuit of greatness. It’s time to play life on offense and conquer the impossible.
You will learn:
- What high-performance coaching is
- How you can achieve high performance
- Who high performance coaching is for
- Top reasons/excuses why people don’t achieve their potential
- What Brett will be sharing in his presentation at this year’s Customer Service Revolution Conference on Oct 11-12 in Cleveland