Last week I had the opportunity to do the luncheon speech for the Merit Direct Co-op in NY. I’ve been speaking at their “Co-op”, an event that pulls together their clients, suppliers, prospects and the luminaries in their industry, for many years. Going back in July feels like “old home week” for me.
Each year it gets more challenging to create a speech that connects to the one I did the year before and takes those who are interested a step deeper into the work of creating Exquisite Customer Care and outstanding loyalty.
Merit’s clients are mostly B2B multichannel catalogers in a hyper competitive marketplace. Many consider the quality of the service they provide a competitive advantage. I like to make sure I give them tools they can use to do that, and do it consistently.
In today’s world, everyone understands that engaged employees are key to creating engaged customers and that engaged employees come from a culture that inspires, motivates and activates the best within each one of them.
The key to this happening? A Positive Leader on the lookout for opportunities to create more positive emotion and more experiences that help people feel valued, important, appreciated and connected to a vision and purpose that inspires.
In this Customer Care Tip – and the next three – I’ll be discussing four strategies you can use to increase the positive capacity in your organization and power up your performance.
30% of an organizations financial results are determined by the climate at work. Employees perceive climate through the actions and attitudes of their leaders, so let’s start by looking at five ways to create a positive climate.
Safe Emotional Space
The most important part of climate, in my opinion, is whether or not the leaders provide safe emotional space. You know what that is – it is knowing that your opinion counts, knowing that your ideas are valued and your effort is appreciated. It is knowing that speaking your truth won’t have dire consequences, and that you can be yourself without fear.
In today’s fearful business environment, many company climates have turned guarded and fearful themselves. It’s the leader’s responsibility to create safety – as much as possible – if you expect people to take the risks necessary to provide outstanding customer care.
Honor the Nobility of Work and People
When leaders honor the effort and intention of the work, no matter how mundane it is, work is elevated and people feel good. Have you heard of the $2,000 Zappos offers its new hires to leave, if after the four week training period the new hire doesn’t feel they’re a good fit? The money is to honor that person’s time and their courageous decision to walk away rather than step into a job that won’t work for them.
It also honors the people already in the company by making sure the culture of passion, purpose and fun stays as pure as possible. There’s nothing more difficult than trying to assimilate someone into a culture if they are a bad “fit” to start with. There are many ways to honor the nobility of all at work. How do you do it?
Today’s Positive Leaders foster happiness, optimism, hope, compassion and forgiveness at work, building “Psychological Capital” and a big emotional bank account with employees. “Psy Cap” is all about who you are and who you are becoming in your work.
Optimism is an “explanatory style” that sees negative occurrences as temporary and specific and helps move people past them with a best possible view of the future. 67% of your success as an effective leader comes from your EQ (Emotional Intelligence) not your IQ. How’s yours?
Goal – Role – Soul
Mitch Axelrod taught me this concept. It’s about how the goals you pursue and the roles you play must connect with the soul of who you are to feel fulfilled.
In a Positive Climate, a Positive Leader is mindful of the alignment of all three. The engaged employee usually enjoys the empowered and elevated feelings that comes from energy of all three at work.
Zappos, New Pig, Playfair. Need I say more? Many successful and highly profitable companies make sure that fun is on their agenda. Fun makes the day go faster, fun makes solving problems interesting, fun makes mundane work feel good, fun creates lots of positive emotion and all the good biochemicals that make you smarter, faster, healthier and more socially adept. What are you doing to make work more fun?
So there you have it – a “thought-starter” on creating a more positive culture where the seeds of an outstanding, exceptional, exquisite customer experience are planted and nourished. It’s the first in a series of four strategies you can use to create more of the vital energy your organization needs to thrive!
If you already provide these elements in your culture, go ahead and give yourself a standing ovation,