Jeff Eilertsen offers service performance insights to address five essential service challenges every organization must successfully address. In this interview with Ron Kaufman, Jeff discusses the fifth challenge, Aligning Leadership and Service Performance.
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Ron: Hi this is Ron Kaufman. I’m with Jeff Eilertsen, we’re looking at what are the major reasons that clients come and knock on our door and say: “I wonder if you could help us.” We’ve got five reasons, we’ve covered the first four. Jeff, last one, number five.
Jeff: Good. And this one’s a bit overarching but it’s really the disconnect between how leaders see service and service performance, and how those who are actually performing the service see service performance.
Jeff: And it works both ways: sometimes we have organizations who say: “You know what, our leaders think service is great around here.” But the people on the front lines are operational are saying: “You know what we’re really struggling, there’s a lot of problems that leadership is not seeing.”
Ron: You guys don’t get it.
Jeff: Right. But it’s the reverse as well, where you have people on the front lines, people operationally saying: “Hey what we’re doing is good enough. Well it’s good enough.”
Jeff: “Why should we do any better?” And the leaders are saying: “Yeah, this good enough isn’t gonna be good enough for long.” They’re looking around the corner at competitive situations, rising expectations – they know they cannot keep their edge with the level of service that’s being provided now.
Ron: So what do you do, how do we bring this together?
Jeff: well that’s the issue: it’s creating a way that there can be some more fluidity between understanding, awareness, continuous improvement that cuts across these levels and what happens is customer service often gets put in a box and it’s put down under the department that’s
Ron: It’s the service department over there.
Jeff: Exactly, exactly, but they’re not seeing it more holistically as a leadership issue, as a cultural issue, and something that everybody’s involved in.
Ron: So one of the things that our service excellence principles and workshops and certification of workshop leaders does is it produces what we call a common service language.
Ron: Right. All of our principles are not auto industry principles and banking industry principles: they’re generic service principles. All of our principles are not external service principles or internal service principles, they actually apply to any service situation. So then I would imagine they can even apply: if I’m a leader thinking about how am i serving my team?
Ron: And is that helping to get one language working through the whole organization?
Jeff: Yeah absolutely, it just reminds me: I was with a client recently who said they had six different customer service training programs, you know, language going on.
Jeff: All at cross-purposes.
Jeff: And there’s no way that you can achieve a culture of service or a relationship between leaders and employees that’s fluid and natural if you have all that going on.
Ron: Or between departments.
Jeff: Or between departments.
Ron: Right, and that naturally happens because Finance Department has one language and Marketing Department’s done another language, HR department’s got another language: they’re not a common service language.
Jeff: Right, right. So the common service language – lets us all talk together the same language of what’s happening, what level of service we providing – and what’s really fascinating to me about that is how senior leaders tend to be the ones who really grab hold of that first.
Jeff: They recognize – once they see it – they recognize the value of it.
Ron: The power.
Jeff: And they can be good role models.
Ron: And the responsibility.
Ron: Yeah. We’ve seen clients where the team will do that and I talked to the CEO a year later and they don’t actually know the language or the principle; I know they’re gonna have problems.
Ron: And then you got others where within a month, the CEO has embraced the language of our fundamental service principles, is using them, and insisting that everybody else does, and you know you’re gonna have a successful case study.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. I had one CEO, manufacturing company, he said: “I don’t care about any other measure – first six months all I want to pay attention to is: “Am i hearing this language in the organization?”
Ron: Because you know that if you’re using the language that produces and supports a certain kind of meaning
Ron: And that’s something that we’re now all gonna share.
Ron: As we focus on whatever it is we want to improve.
Ron: Very good, very good. Well thank you Jeff.
Jeff: You’re welcome.
Ron: It’s a pleasure to do these interviews with you and to work with you with clients all over the world.
Jeff: Good Ron, feeling’s mutual.
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