It’s Tuesday of National Customer Service Week, and to celebrate, we’ll be dedicating this post to the second principle in Impact’s HEART model. The HEART model lays out five core principles that we use in all of our customer service training programs. Each letter in the HEART model stands for one of the core tenets that Impact works from:

  • Hear and Under­stand
  • Expect the Best
  • Act with Integrity
  • Respect Diver­sity, and
  • Tran­scend Yourself.

Yesterday we focused on Hear and Understand. Today we’ll be talking about the second principle, Expect the Best.

Expect the best: What does that mean in the customer service world?

Do you know what makes people notice great customer service? Authentic customer service. Authentic customer service arises from employees who truly enjoy their jobs – they are enthusiastic about making sure customers are happy because they themselves are happy with their jobs. They’re treated well, given recognition, and they work in an environment where they want to grow their career. Great employees expect the best by taking an optimistic approach and expecting that each encounter will be pleasant and fruitful. Even when faced with a difficult situation, they expect that their best efforts will lead to an agreeable solution.

If you expect the best in customer service from your team, you need to start by expecting the best for your employees. Below are three key practices that you can apply to ensure that your happy employees will make for some very satisfied customers.

Treating your team well goes beyond pay

Customer service can be a demanding job, especially in call centers and sales. One way to reward your employees is through pay, of course, but an equally important way to compensate employees is through recognition.

If your organization is broken into teams, offer incentives for teams who meet their metrics. Throw them a party. Give them a gift. Do something that makes them proud and allows them to show off their hard work to others in the company.

Another way to reward your staff is by empowering employees through decision making. Giving employees a sense of ownership and autonomy is rewarding. In fact, studies back up this point – researchers have found that employees who have more autonomy at their jobs report higher levels of productivity and job satisfaction.

Great customer service is in the details

If you expect the best from your employees, and if you expect to offer the best customer service to your customers, make sure you mind the details. Stellar customer service is often a matter of paying attention to the small things. When is your customer’s birthday? Send a card. Can you go the extra mile to help? Do it, and encourage your employees to do it. The ability to help others helps people feel better about themselves, so if you encourage your employees to be detail-oriented when helping customers, the difference your customers feel will translate to your staff.

Seek outside recognition

It’s one thing to throw a party for your internal teams who exceed their metric goals in a month, and it’s another to give your whole organization an award for their customer service. Chances are, your industry has its own category of awards and publications where you can nominate your company for a job well-done. Putting the effort into making sure your team gets outside recognition is not only a boost for morale, but it will also attract top talent to your company.

Expect the best: It’s a fantastic mantra to lead by

During Customer Service Week, it’s a great time to take stock of how we can improve, both internally and externally. We encourage you to expect the best from your employees and to map out a plan that ensures your customers can expect the best from your company. In fact, make it one of your mantras – we’ve made it a key principle in our HEART model.