4 March 2019
Premise: While genuine caring is the heart of great customer service, don’t assume your staff has a personal understanding of “being cared for.”
1) Social intelligence is not a given;
2) People can’t give what they haven’t received;
3) Authentic caring is better than learned behaviors.
At a recent Customer Service workshop, I offered that “caring” is the heart of genuine customer service. There were fifteen people in the room with an average age of twenty-five. When asked to share stories about a time when they felt “cared for,” not a single person could. They couldn’t remember a time when a parent cared for them when sick; they did not have a pet they cared for. Not only is this personally sad, but it is hard to give great customer service without a frame of reference for “caring.”
Service orientation and empathy are part of social awareness that goes into social intelligence. Not all people have high social intelligence, however. I got to experience customer care in the early days of Qatar Air. The attendants dutifully followed the check-list of behaviors that indicated customer attentiveness and elegance, but they were unable to demonstrate genuine caring. They rated low on empathy and service orientation. Form without substance; they did not deliver service, they delivered trained behaviors. It was a very hollow experience without the connection. CAUTION: You must model genuine caring to your people if you expect them to deliver good customer service. It is an error to assume that people have a personal understanding of caring. While it is sad we have people not experiencing genuine care in their life, this is the new reality. Remember to model genuine caring for your people as we make the journey from good to great service.
Workshop that may be helpful: Customer Service