There are a few things in life that must have other things working with them to work right.
Let’s take baseball for example. Baseball is a great sport and a great game. There are many elements to making it “America’s Pastime”, however there is one above all others.
You cannot play baseball without gravity. It just does not work. It wouldn’t be baseball; it would be nothrowball, or nohitball or even nowayball.
Great Customer Service is like that too. You cannot have a great Customer Service Team without a Great Attitude.
You can hire all the people you want, train them till they can spout whole passages from the company manual verbatim, and on request sing the company fight song in a booming voice.
You cannot train Attitude, cannot buy Attitude and cannot force Attitude.
It’s one of those internal self actualizing things that need to come from the inner person.
You can ask someone to examine their Attitude though.
“I don’t like your Attitude!”
“You have a poor Attitude!”
“You’d better change your Attitude if you want to stick around here!”
“With an Attitude like that, you won’t last long!”
I have used those very same words on occasion to address co-workers, relatives and my dogs. It did not work on any of them, especially the dogs.
It’s because most peoples Attitudes are constantly swaying and changing with external and internal pressures. If I were running a Customer Service Department today, I would hand everyone a 3x5 card with the definition of what I would call a Great Attitude on one side and the company Mission Statement on the other. I would ask everyone to post this card near their workspace and read the Attitude definition frequently.
I would then hand them another 3x5 and on this card ask them to write the top 3 goals they would like to accomplish this year, and to place that card next to the Attitude card where they could be read by them frequently.
By putting reminders in front of them and attaching it to a personal goal, we have a powerful tool to focus our Customer Service Professionals on what matters most. Their Attitude and what they can obtain with it.
As leaders in our Departments, we monitor Attitudes very closely, and intervene when it is apparent that there needs to be an adjustment made. We must first realize the adjustment comes from within. No amount of cajoling, teasing or threatening will cause a behavioral difference if that person has made up their mind to continue with a poor Attitude.
What helps is to ask them self-examining questions about their Perspective so that they can use it to change their Attitude.
Here are some examples you might want to use.
“I’ve noticed that you are not yourself lately, is there something going on?” (The all time greatest leading question)
“When I want to point out to someone else how to have a great Attitude, I use you as an example. It appears something has changed and caused a shift in your Attitude. Could you tell me about it?”
“If there were one thing that has changed in your life the past 30 days, would you say it was your _, your _ or your Attitude? And Why?”
“During our time working together, I have always admired your Attitude. It has been the one ingredient that has caused you to excel in your department. Why has that changed?”
Once you ask these questions, you need to just shut up, let the other person talk.
Some people might require you to draw them out a little more, if they are an indirect personality and little on the internalization side, to get the dialog flowing.
Eventually, they will tell you or give you the clue you need to diagnose and help that person realize a change in their Perspective and cause a change in their Attitude.
This is not to be confused with external Motivation! (Drill Instructor Style) That is a whole “‘nother level of communication, ” on a much more personal level.
And actually, when you examine the cause and effects, it really the same. They are just asking you to examine your Attitude very quickly and making sure that you have the correct Attitude at all times Sir!
That is what is called “Applied Motivation. ”
It’s applied whenever, wherever needed in a manner that is efficient and without remorse or recourse.
Our Customer Service Departments run on Attitude. We must monitor closely, intervene and advise when necessary and demand when needed.
Now let’s get back to America’s pastime.
Leonard Buchholz is a Certified Trainer, Author and Speaker. He leads seminars in Customer Service, Communications and Management. He believes in the simple concept of Hire Friendly, Hire Trainability and Hire Competency when building a Customer Service Team. He is available to provide coaching and consulting in Customer Service and Management. He resides in Southern California and you can reach him at 760-529-5635 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .