Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Quality Service - Easier Said Then Done

Recently I was able to present a two hour class on quality service. My past attitude towards these types of classes has been they are nice but do they really impact performance. My opinion had been that it is mostly common sense, nothing too ground breaking. However I was surprised to see the transformation in my attitude as I prepared the outline for the class. Providing quality service is hard work.

Growing up I was constantly subjected to the old saying, “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” It makes sense but how often do you really follow it? I mean how often do we get caught up in our lives and forget to look at things from the other person’s perspective. Take the following story that Stephen Covey expressed in his book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

One day a friend of mine was riding the subway to work. It was a typical morning on the subway, some people were reading the newspaper and some people were trying to catch that last moment of sleep. Everyone was pretty much keeping to themselves. At one stop a young women boarded the train with her two children. She immediately sat down and proceeded to quietly stare out the window. Her children were a different story. They were yelling, running up and down the car, and even bumping into sleeping passengers. You could see everyone on the train getting more and more upset. Why is this lady not controlling her kids?

Well about five minutes into the ride my friend had enough. He went up to the lady and really laid into her. She just looked at him and softly sputtered, “I’m sorry, my husband just died and I guess I wasn’t paying attention.”

How often do we really put ourselves in the other person’s shoes? Quality service involves smiling, asking for a name, and being personable. However it also involves being friendly when the person is giving you every reason not to be. It involves choosing to provide quality service even when you are in a bad mood. And above all it involves doing all these things consistently.

Providing quality service is hard work. However it is also extremely rewarding. It is nice to work for a company where the number one priority is providing a high level of service. Hey our mission statement even reads, “Enhancing members’ lives through exceptional financial services.”

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