Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bringing Kindness to Work

The Kindness Revolution Book Review

One observation I can offer about workplaces is that when the going gets tough, times get busier, and conflict is causing challenges, kindness goes out the window!  As a trainer and facilitator you might not believe what I have heard and witnessed in workplaces. I have seen some incredible acts of respect, compassion and enthusiasm, and, I have seen people behave in a way that hurts others emotionally.  Ed Horrell, wrote the book The Kindness Revolution, a book I very much enjoyed reading and found great applicability to the work I do. I have always believed that a fundamental attribute to success was that of kindness, not just in customer service, but in everything, including team relationships.

Horrell suggests that there is often a disconnect between what customers want and what businesses and teams think their customers want in terms of good customer service. How well do you know your customers? If you were to ask them their needs, would the answers surprise you? Horrell states that good customer service starts with people, not process! For many this is a shift in thinking. Many businesses spend their time developing processes and systems to service their clients and customers, but forget the people aspect. These processes and systems are important, in fact I teach people how to do this. But, in doing so, people are the priority. As you review and build your customer service beliefs, practices and expectations, make sure that “the people” are woven in at every level.

Horrell states: “The future is WOW!”  Thinking about his statement, how would others describe your company or team's WOW ability? How do you wow your clients and customers?

Another concept Horrell covered, is that of indifference. In teams that are struggling, it is easy to see indifference. To replace indifference with customer service you must address: dignity, courtesy, respect and kindness. Companies and teams who do this, GET IT!

Traits of companies that GET IT:

- They believe in the company guiding principles (and they actually know what they are)

- They strive to keep these principles front and centre to every aspect of business and customer service

- They believe in the dignity of each employees job, and that everyone plays an important role

- They believe that there is a purpose for the corporation and that they are a part of it

- They recognize the importance of employees being empowered and engaged

- The believe in the importance of and value of kindness

Here are a couple of examples that Horrell offers: LL Bean says that “serving customers is a day in day out, ongoing, never ending, persevering, compassion kind of activity.  Fed Ex employees live the values that are core to the company philosophy: respect (treat each person with dignity and respect), integrity (be worthy of trust), service (serve others), excellence (relentlessly strive to exceed expectations), communication (understand and be understood).

What are your standards? What type of example do you set? How do you set this example (e.g. with your attitudes and actions)? How would customers describe the service they receive from your company?

How does your team exhibit kindness in their interactions with others, and in their service to customers? What are the impacts or spin off results that you see?
To find out more about The Kindness Revolution, click here: