My husband and I chose our last cell phones poorly and have been having problems with them for the past two years. We’ve called the help line, visited the store, and generally talked to a lot of people without resolution. Recently he received a customer survey from our provider and let them have it! A few days later, he got a phone call from a very helpful customer service person who actually listened to the problem and offered to switch our faulty phones for a better version. We’ll see what happens, but at least it feels like we’re moving forward.
Did we say, “wow, after two years it’s great to finally reach a customer service person who can listen?” No. What we said was, “they must finally have changed their policy regarding that phone.” We recognized that the problem went higher than the individuals we were dealing with.
Ken Blanchard is a well regarded author on leadership and management. He tells a similar story about his experiences while renewing his driving license. What had been a frustrating experience was changed to a timely and efficient process. Check out this animated video of the story.
Blanchard makes the point that changes in customer service, whether for better or worse, are always the result of leadership. The positive changes he experienced at his local department of motor vehicles were enacted with exactly the same staff. It was the leader who was driving the difference.
As we conclude our exploration of the leadership competency of builds a customer service orientation, what thoughts do you have about Blanchard’s story? Do you believe that an organizational focus on customer service always starts with the leader? If so, what type of service does your leadership generate?
Dee Anne Bonebright