You can learn a lot about how you’ll be treated as a customer by looking at a company’s website and social posts. But you can also tell how you should act if you work there.
In prepping for work with clients, there are things I look for in an organization’s “About” section. I’m scanning for several things but especially the one phrase that sums up everything and is the guiding principle for the company. Some of these posted credos include:
“We emphasize fairness, integrity, honesty, and continuous improvement”
“We are known for 3 things, trustworthy experience, leading technology and exceptional service.”
From these, as examples, I know that I should act honestly, with a focus on fairness and trust, and play a key Action, “To Serve”. Seems reasonable.
And then there’s this one I heard again last week, now in a radio ad:
“We Treat You Like Family”
Hmmm. Treat me like family, huh? I don’t know how this one strikes you and I certainly understand the intention. Family feels good, has an air of comfort and acceptance about it. I’m drawn to family-owned businesses and the Atmosphere they create. That’s good stuff, yes?
Upon hearing the phrase, however, I quickly jump to my family dynamics and how I am expected to act. At first glance I realize that I’m treated very well by my family and extensions thereof. But in thinking about some of the craziness I’ve encountered over the years, there’s been some “Love yawl, but….” episodes:
“My in-law really said that to me?”
“Cousin threw a fit at the holiday party because he didn’t get his way.”
In addition to the radio ad, this family-treatment dynamic came flying back this month when I worked with an organization to collect and assess their employees’ perspectives on how external and internal customers are treated. This was prior to an all-company event focusing on customer service. They completed a survey, the results of which I used as the foundation of my keynote content.
A gap emerged in how employees ranked the company and themselves in terms of excellent service when interacting with external and internal customers. Considering how they treat internal customers, their coworkers, they had plenty to say about family-focused interaction:
“I always treat them how I would want my family members to be treated.”
“Look at your coworker as part of your family”
And addressing the obvious, according to this respondent:
“Of course you’re going to take care of the INTERNAL customers really well. THEY WORK HERE!”
It’s the “of course” that stands out. Apparently we all know how to act when it comes to family and should naturally transfer that to our business environments? Wonderful things like love for family members, having their backs when challenges arise and supporting them no matter what are present in this dynamic. But the implied “because I love you I’ll put up with all your crap” is challenging as the negative behavior may be repeatedly accepted and the instigator never made aware nor encouraged to change.
Our challenge as Actors in business (authentic communicators who often have to stretch to address their dynamic roles!) is to create an Atmosphere where coworkers can stand strong in their performances with whatever Audience. A place where solid, customer-focused objectives, inspiring Actions by leaders (at all levels) and support for each other are all encouraged and rewarded.
Addressing these things means investment of time, but it’s time smartly invested.
Think of it as…well…time spent with family!
You’re stage. Your performance. You’re on!