How does a culture of customer-centricity, of exceptional customer service grow? One secret, as I see it, is positive peer pressure. If you are unflagging in your devotion to trait-based hiring, you soon (or at least soon-ish) end up with a peer group devoted to exceptional customer service. At that point, you’ll be in the enviable position of potentially building an unstoppable force: positive peer pressure.
For a B2C example that many can relate to, consider why the employees in an Apple Store are by and large so positive and helpful. It’s because they’ve been hired for their personalities and trained in great customer service, absolutely. But it’s also because of how it then became clear to any newly arriving employee (or veteran employee who was having a bad day) that the way things are done around here is to be friendly and helpful to customers.
This is the power of positive peer pressure: it uplifts all employees and keeps their heads up if they’re ever tempted to lapse or relapse into a more negative posture.
Positive peer pressure, however, can be easily undermined by a boss who lets a bad day or even a bad commute cause them to audibly or visibly be anti-customer even for a moment in front of employees. So watch those public pronunciations about “impossible” customers and customers who are “always taking advantage.”
Remember: You should vent about customers only in private.
Author • Forbes Senior Contributor • Customer Service Consultant
President and CEO, Four Aces Inc.
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