Good leadership skills are much the same as good customer care skills – and here is why

We all know what good customer care looks and feels like don’t we? It makes us feel good, confident that we are being listened too. It creates a trusting relationship.

We certainly recognise poor customer care when it happens to us. Unhelpful, making excuses, rude, lacking understanding or empathy. We have all experienced this at some time or other. And, it’s really not very nice! We end up frustrated, angry, and if we can, we might take our business elsewhere.

Much of my experience come from within teams providing direct services to people. Some would say that they were not customers. This is because I worked in the public sector and they didn’t have a choice to take their business elsewhere. I always say, all the more reason to ensure that they are receiving the best possible customer care.

The way I see it if we always think about people as customers who can go elsewhere if they are not happy, then chances are we will put more energy into making them happy!

So, what about our team. Do you think of your team as your customers? Maybe not before now, but just stop and give that a little thought. Consider for a moment your role within the team. 

Your role is to help ensure that your team can do their very best job. If you consider your tasks ultimately you are there to serve your team, so that collectively you meet your goals, hit your targets. 

For me, providing a good ‘leadership service’ to your team is no different to providing good ‘customer service’.

A team member – your customer – wants some simple key things which are exactly what you would want as customer of any business.

1. Be Nice!

People don’t like the work ‘nice’. They say it’s wishy washy, and lacks gravitas.

When it refers to people I beg to differ. Being nice, is shorthand for a whole raft of traits such as being:

  • thoughtful, 
  • pleasant, 
  • polite, 
  • respectful,
  • kind,
  • helpful,
  • considerate.

Being nice is all of those, and more, wrapped up in a nice bundle. What is wrong with that? Who wouldn’t want someone to be nice to them?

2. Be Honest

Do you know what makes customers really really angry? It’s when we know that we are being lied to, or fobbed off. 

It drives us mad as customers when this is happening to us, and your team will certainly come to recognise it in you if you are not honest with them. 

Tell people the truth. Tell them what you can do and what you can’t.

If you can’t tell them the full story – be honest about that. 

Making excuses, or covering up is way worse than being told that there is a bigger picture which you can’t go into for confidentiality reasons.

3. Keep your promises

If you have committed to doing something, then do it. And, if for some reason you can’t let the person know why and when you will be able to do it. 

Set realistic and appropriate expectations – and then follow through. 

4. Be understanding 

Take the time to understand. All too often we need to stop and listen to what is really going on.  To get to the crux of the issue and find the right way forward. Time spent on understanding at the start of the ‘transaction’ with your ‘customer’ will save far more time in the the long run. 

That’s it. Four simple customer care principles which translate directly into your leadership role. Think of your team as your customers and you will make sure they are getting the service they deserve.  

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