Herman Melville, the American writer/novelist, once said: We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us.
One great characteristic of those working in customer service is the fact that we are living and working for others as much or more than for ourselves. Melville talks about having connections with those others. A good way for us to look at connecting with others is to see it both from an external connection as well as an internal connection.
Externally, we could be talking about our customers, the parents of the children we serve, our clients, our season ticket holders, residents in our community. How do we build relationships with them?
It helps to have common goals so that we know that we are working together towards something. It helps to build trust – doing what we say we will do – and loyalty. It helps to be solution-oriented when building relationships, so we can see positive outcomes from our actions together.
Internally, we could think about connecting in terms of collaboration – finding ways to work well with our co-workers and colleagues. We do this by proactively sharing information – looking at information we have available and asking ourselves: Who else would benefit from this information or knowledge? We do it by providing ideas to our co-workers. We do it by offering our support in their efforts or the organization’s efforts to move toward goals.
There is power in connecting in customer service. With those we serve outside the organization, the power comes through relationship-building, and it results in the building of mutual trust and loyalty as well as better outcomes.
Within an organization, the power comes in a greater sharing of knowledge, freer offering of ideas, and greater acknowledgement when we received those ideas. It comes in more frequent and more expeditious achievement of organizational goals.
And all along the way, these positive outcomes, this loyalty, this trust, and the sharing of information results in a better place to work, a more cohesive culture, a more positive experience, and a more productive work life.
Intentionally connect with others to tap into the power of working together.