Think back to a time you entered any type of business and the first person you encountered was friendly and professional. They showed an interest in your concern BUT unfortunately they were unable to personally help. Now think about a time when you entered a business and just your presence was considered to be an inconvenience, perhaps even an aggravation. Though they were unfriendly and unprofessional your need was met. Which interaction do you remember positively? Theologian, Carl W. Buechner, is credited with this quote that encapsulates great customer service: “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Our attitude is reflective in three ways. First, our attitude reflects who we “really” are as a person. Our customers (both internal and external) want to interact with those that are genuine in their approach with people. Our customers (internal and external) want to feel that their needs are important and that we will do our best to take care of that issue in a competent and timely manner. If the attitude of being helpful and friendly is not something we truly desire to exhibit, the “real us” will start to show through. Just as the thin veneer on a cheap piece of furniture chips and cracks and reveals the ugly particle board beneath, as we go through the wear and tear of serving others, the ugly attitudes begin to show in those who aren’t in service to others.
Not only does our attitude reflect who we really are but it is a reflection of what we think of ourselves as human beings. If we have a poor self-concept or suffer from a lack of self-worth that too often manifests itself in the attitude we project to others. We carry around the victim mentality or the “woe is me” attitude and because we don’t think highly of ourselves it is hard to muster up the right spirit needed to serve the needs of others.
Finally, our attitude is a reflection on how our ESC is viewed by customers. If we claim to be an organization operating under the philosophy of serving others, then the “need of others” can’t be viewed as an inconvenience or an interruption. Meeting the needs of others IS OUR MISSION. Our customer service motto is that we work to serve and that includes serving with the proper attitude. It means genuinely putting the needs of others above our own.
How does that look in the setting of our ESC? It is a fairly simple principle to reflect the proper servant leadership attitude. Former ESC Superintendent, Dr. Hal Barker, summarized best the attitude of a servant leader in our agency: “We can always be friendly and helpful.” That includes exhibiting positive non-verbal communication to all of our customers, maintaining our composure and expressing concern when others experience problems.
As we move into the spring of the year things begin to move at a more frenetic pace. Make certain to maintain, even in stressful situations, an attitude that is helpful and friendly. Let’s make our customers feel that their needs are important to us. Remember, WE WORK TO SERVE.