When you care, it makes a differrence: Long term Relationship and Trust.

As a big city boy, 15 years ago, when I went to New Zealand, I was in for a shock

They have a thing over there called: 'Long Term Relationship and Trust',

....something I hadn't had much of an experience of.

In a big city, you have lots of acquaintances, friends come and go, as do relationships.

In New Zealand, I found myself wondering why people wanted me to be their friend.

Not a Facebook style friend, but a friendship where you invested time and energy into.

Not only that, in business, long term relationship and trust really was the name of the game.

If you weren't willing to play that, people knew very quickly without you even saying a word.

I gradually started to pick it up.

In Auckland, I  was trying to get finance for a car and I was having difficulty. 

I went into a local regional car dealer and the sales person said: 'You and your wife look like go-ahead people who are going to be really successful in time.  I'm willing to give you finance on the basis of a handshake.'  He put out his hand.

Shocked and disbelieving, I shook his hand, got the car and finance and made that payment a priority until the finance agreement was paid off and discharged.

He took a risk on me, based on who he saw I was.  That was impressive....and very empowering to me.

When you take a risk on someone, it comes out of caring for that person.  It comes out of seeing and acknowledging the strengths and abilities of that person.  It creates a relationship with that person when you do that.  It's absolute Magic!

Now I'm back in the big smoke, I'm finding that there are some big organisations who have successfully driven that care down to the front line and who empower and encourage their call centre staff to deliver care, consideration and respect.

Customer Service doesn't happen by accident in any organisation - it runs counter to the entropy that happens to organisations as they grow.  It takes commitment, sacrifice and discomfort from the leaders of that organisation.  Even in a small business, customer service takes a lot to establish and maintain.

Previous CEO of Commonwealth bank , Ralph Norris, (a genius Kiwi)  worked tirelessly to instill a customer service culture to a old  established bank who could do very well without such messy soft stuff.  Against the odds, the entrenched culture and the fierce competition, Ralph achieved number one Customer Service Status in Australia as his legacy for the ext CEO, Ian Narev (another amazing Kiwi!) to build upon.

Hey - it's not that the Kiwi's are showing us how it's done. ( I guess they are.  Did you see the first game of the Bledisloe Cup?  Ach Shame!) We have had our own Customer Service Champions such as Bob Ansett for example (OMG - that was a long time ago - surely there's a more recent example...) 

GE is another great example of this.  They are blowing my mind with the incredible service they are giving me in a time of financial struggle.  Their front line team shows compassion, care and gently help you find your own capability, self respect and integrity in the process.  I always feel better and more capable after they call me.  How do they do that????  Someone in the organization cares about this.

And it's good for business.  The reason Ralph Norris had such a fight on his hands was that the other banks knew that the customer service metric meant bigger profits.

So what are you doing about driving and maintaining customer service in your organization?

Thanks for visiting us here. Get to know clarity. Email me, Mike Kennedy...

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