When you’re mindful of customer service you notice great and not so great examples of it everywhere – in newspapers, blogs, articles and personal stories.
Completely opposite of the airline experience I shared last week, is another flight I took recently. Everyone had boarded and settled in when the pilot informed us they were working on a mechanical issue. While we waited, the flight attendants were always present, continually checking in with their customers. After a short time, the pilot announced that we would have to deplane to fix the issue. We were greeted with refreshments and a welcoming staff and we were on our way to our destination in just 45 minutes. This company earned many satisfied customers, including me.
I read a story of contrasting customer service experiences at an exclusive store with two separate locations. In one of the stores the service and atmosphere was immediately welcoming. The customer felt cared for and happily purchased more than they planned. When they visited the same store in another city they had a completely difference experience – not only did they feel unwelcome but were totally ignored. They left this store with only a small purchase.
The experience of customer service is very influential. I wonder how many opportunities for sales or influence are left on the table because of mediocrity in leadership, which filters down to direct customer service.
This is part 2 in the 5-part series on the Culture of Good-Enough by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Leaders contribute to the slow failure simply by allowing mediocrity to set in. Click To Tweet
In my previous post we explored the many ways mediocrity wastes billions of dollars in organizations and companies. The good-enough culture flows down from the top of the organizations. It takes root when leaders believe that a good-enough approach is acceptable.
When, you as a leader, hold the impression that the status quo is good enough you don’t see the need to work to make things better for your people or your customers. Status-quo leaders with a self-focused mindset have one or more of the following issues:
No real concern for what the others endure.
Don’t feel the need to give more than an adequate effort. Adequate often seems heroic to the lazy-mind.
Don’t involve themselves with their staff or specific operations to know what exists. Worse yet, the leader intentionally avoids knowledge of concerns or problems of the staff or customers.
There is the age-old deception of not believing a sacrifice today pays rewards tomorrow. The leader believes there is less monetary reward for the upper echelon if resources are spent on serving their people or customers or addressing system shortcomings.
Fear of failure
Maintaining the status quo feels safe. The leader believes there is too much risk in trying something different – what if it makes things worse? This fear often emanates from a lack of wisdom or confidence.
There is a need to preserve ones’ image by avoiding even the acknowledgment of a problem.
There is no pressing desire to understand how they could make things better.
There is often a dislike of bad news and the people who bring it. Nothing can be improved if it’s not discussed.
Leaders who don’t value the power of excellence don’t care enough about pursuing it. In his book, The Difference: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough (Penguin Random House, 2017), author Subir Chowdhury claims this lack of care is the main cause of a good-enough culture.
When you don’t care enough about being the best leader you can be, why would your people? Each layer in the organization takes its cue from the one above, and all of them ultimately from the top. A leader’s disengagement or indifference sets the tone for a culture where care and service are not values to strive for. The result is mediocrity at best, total failure at worst. When you, the leader, strive for excellence and are service-minded you see both of these as failures.
Leaders often contribute to a slow failure simply by allowing mediocrity to set in. When things are good enough, people are lulled into complacency and a false security. Everyone then is unprepared to respond effectively when the bleeding begins, and the decline ensues.