Recognition for All: Every Team Member Matters
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Recognition for All: Every Team Member Matters

Recognition for All: Every Team Member Matters

In most businesses, the frontline employees typically get the recognition and glory. They include account executives, IT techs, consultants, doctors, lawyers, and accountants. However, those we refer to as “invisible” service providers (support teams, admins, receptionists, warehouse workers, and back-office employees) are rarely praised for the part they play in the customer experience. Yet for the highest levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction, it’s crucial that business leaders make every team member understand how their job affects customers’ lives.

Every human being wants to know their hard work is contributing toward something that goes beyond business outcomes. Ignoring this is one of the biggest mistakes companies make. All employees tend to thrive on meaningful feedback, sometimes even more than monetary rewards, and their dedication (or lack thereof) strongly affects the overall quality of customer experience and company reputation.

Crucial contributions

No phone call ever surprised me more than the one I received from A-T Solutions, headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia. A-T stands for “anti-terrorism” training and consulting. I was positive that this company, run by ex-military personnel, mistook the title of my first book, Secret Service. However, I soon realized that the founder and CEO, Ken Falke, was serious about making A-T Solutions a world-class customer service organization.

The company was experiencing enormous growth. Leaders realized that growth can be difficult when trying to get hundreds of employees, including front-facing customer service representatives and project teams, to buy into your organization’s philosophy.

One of my projects was to help tie all their departments together and demonstrate how all people across the entire organization—receptionists, salespeople, trainers, human resources, marketing, accounting—contributed to the overall purpose and upheld the core values of the company.

Being a receptionist of an anti-terrorist training company probably isn’t the sexiest job in the world. During one of my workshops, I showed a picture of an A-T Solutions trainer conducting a typical training program with military personnel. I then flashed to a picture of a soldier deployed in Afghanistan. Next, I showed a picture of a soldier stepping off a plane, being greeted by his wife and 9-month-old son, whom he had never met. Finally, I followed that photo with a family vacationing on a beach somewhere.

A-T Solutions doesn’t “sell” anti-terrorist training. As a result of what they provide, soldiers come home safely to their families and Americans travel the world more safely. The company’s high level of customer service performance makes these things possible. Despite limited customer interaction, the receptionists can be proud because they play a part in A-T Solutions’ overall purpose.

Affecting customers’ lives

In Built to Serve, Dan Sanders shares a great example of this. Medtronic is a leader in medical technology, manufacturing prosthetic valves for use in hearts. Shift workers spend long hours on assembly lines, putting pieces and parts into boxes and shipping them off. It does not seem directly related to providing excellent customer service. However, Medtronic employees did not see themselves as producing heart valves; rather, they genuinely believed they were helping save lives. Their approach to quality, metaphorically speaking, included putting their own hearts into their work.

Medtronic holds an annual event where employees meet patients who are alive because of transplanted artificial hearts containing the company’s technology. They make emotional connections with the end-users of their work—the patients—who share stories with employees of how they were able to walk their daughter down the aisle at her wedding because of the attention to detail these employees had for their jobs. Talk about a boost in employee morale, not to mention customer service motivation!

This is a remarkable illustration of a company applying emotional intelligence to its organizational goals in a way that directly affects customer care. Bringing customer support representatives and other employees face-to-face with the people who so greatly benefit from their efforts allows Medtronic to provide a context of higher purpose for its workforce. Such interactions with customers result in focused and fulfilled employees, and company values become team values.

Celebrate outcomes

In The Experience Maker, friend and author Dan Gingiss shares an excellent example of how Motorola does this for their employees. “Motorola Solutions is a telecommunications equipment provider that largely sells to other businesses and municipal or government units like public safety. (It is no longer related to the smartphone manufacturer.),” Gingiss wrote. “Its products aren’t sexy, but they are critical and often lifesaving.”

Many B2B marketers feel at a disadvantage to B2C companies whose products or services can be advertised in a more exciting way. However, “Motorola Solutions proved this theory wrong with a fantastic video that didn’t feature its products so much as it featured the outcomes that its products provide,” Gingiss wrote. “The video, titled Moments that Matter, shows police officers, firefighters, teachers, and medical professionals using Motorola Solutions equipment in their daily jobs and achieving extraordinary results.” These are people for whom experiencing bad customer service or unresolved customer issues could mean the difference between life and death.

By showcasing extraordinary solutions to common issues—particularly ones affecting physical and psychological safety—Motorola is clear about its company goals, promising excellent service that will meet and even exceed customer expectations and undoubtedly have a major effect on the company’s customer satisfaction score.

John DiJulius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies such as Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or info@thedijuliusgroup.com.

Published: October 12th, 2023

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