I was hired to be a funny motivational speaker for an Parks and Recreation HR conference, the theme was customer service. Many young parks and rec recruits sneer at the idea of faking enthusiasm for the sake of the customer.
I am a believer that faking it does have it's advantages. After all, people won't remember what you say but they will certainly remember how you make them feel. If you look negative or cranky, your sour mood is contagious. However, if you smile and look happy, you inspire confidence in others. When you make a positive impact, customers go away and spread good reviews about you.
I think the issue isn't faking enthusiastic customer service, I think it's leadership. You should not have to force employees to enjoy their work, but with strong, positive leadership a culture is formed that spreads enthusiasm naturally.
The other funny motivational speaker for the parks and recreation professionals HR conference, Lee Cockerell from the Disney Institute, suggested that we focus on creating positive customer interaction. I agree. However, some organizations focus so much on customers that they forget about leadership. The root of all positive service culture lies in leadership.
Leaders who emulate and model positive emotion and enthusiasm spread this positive influence throughout. It naturally shows up in service interactions.
Some of Lee Cockerell's key leadership points were:
- All business problems boil down to leadership problems
- Have respect for process and procedure
- Spread responsibility throughout the organization
- Hear all voices in your organization; never underestimate the wisdom of everyone on your staff
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