*Denise O’Brien.

This week’s article from Denise O’Brien focuses on the power of how what your mindset can be a success in any role.

A friend recently shared a podcast with my called ‘Dolly Parton’s America and I thought to write an article about having a ‘service mindset’ partially inspired by the resilience and work ethic of Dolly Parton.

We know her as a true icon who rose from humble beginnings and this caused me to reflect on the profound impact of a ‘service’ mindset in shaping individuals as employees, leaders, and business owners. My journey, starting from waitressing in local establishments to processing travel insurance claims in a call centre, prior to moving into people-leadership and development roles, has been a testament to the transformative power of embracing a service-oriented approach at a very early stage in one’s career.  It wasn’t always easy or pleasant but I learned at lot at the outset of my working life about the basics of customer service, that has stood the test of time.

For example, I learned from the hoteliers I worked with to never walk around a hotel empty handed or be seen to be ‘doing nothing’.  I learned the art of finding jobs to do, on quieter days in the hotel or restaurant that I worked in at the time.  Working with an owner of an establishment was always a ‘baptism of fire’ but I had a willingness to learn, and to do a job that would make me, and others proud.  No matter how small a job, there is an element of pride to be found in doing even the smallest of things to the highest possible standard.  And that, to me, is where job satisfaction comes in.

Learning from Humble Beginnings:

Dolly Parton’s story resonates deeply with me, reminding me of my own early experiences in the hospitality industry and of the value of hard work and persistence.  She had some lucky breaks here and there, but her commitment to finding a way to have her voice heard and her work appreciated is truly inspiring.

For me, I can see now that working hard in cafes, hotels, and restaurants as a young teen, I imbibed valuable lessons on diligence, initiative, and customer interaction. It was during my stint at a call centre that I encountered formal customer service training, realizing the significance of cultivating a service mindset from a young age.    From there on in I learned a whole new set of skills working in a corporate environment, such as being part of a team, how to influence others, how to train and coach people to achieve results and how to meet the needs of customers and clients on a daily basis.

A common complaint I hear from employers today, is that the up-and-coming cohort of potential candidates are not coming to the table with these types of essential ‘customer service’ skills.  They are of course, bringing other skills and assets to the table, but the good old fashioned ‘customer service ethic’ seems to be dying away.

The Value of a ‘Service’ Mindset:

In today’s dynamic work environment, the importance of a service mindset cannot be overstated. Whether in education, aviation, print media, or manufacturing, employers seek individuals who embody a commitment to exceptional service. As professionals advance in their careers, managing client accounts or leading teams, a service mindset emerges as a critical competency, transcending industry boundaries.

 Cultivating a Service-Oriented Culture:

For business owners seeking to foster a service mindset within their teams, several key strategies can be instrumental:

  1. Define Competencies: Prior to the interview stage, articulate the qualities that define exemplary customer service within your organization. Establish clear expectations to attract candidates aligned with your service ethos.
  2. Training and Induction: Incorporate customer service skills and behavioural training into your induction program. Equip new hires with the tools and knowledge to deliver exceptional service from the outset. Nowadays, not everyone who joins your workforce will have had a grounding in ‘customer service’ skills, so it cannot be assumed that people understand how to deliver excellent levels of service. But all skills can be practised and even perfected, over time.
  3. Coaching and Mentoring: Provide ongoing coaching and mentoring to refine service skills tailored to the nuances of your industry. Encourage continuous learning and development to elevate service standards across the organization. To do this, your people-leaders must be adept at the various skills involved in being a good communicator, relationship-builder, coach and mentor.

Embracing a Service Mindset for Success:

In today’s competitive landscape, cultivating a service mindset is not just a differentiator but a necessity for sustained success. By nurturing a culture of service excellence, businesses can empower their teams to deliver exceptional experiences, build lasting relationships, and drive organizational growth. As leaders, employees, and business owners, embracing a service mindset is not just a choice but a strategic imperative in navigating the complexities of the modern workplace.

We can’t assume however, that people innately understand how to ‘do’ great customer service.  This, has to be made clear and the supports needed must be provided by the employer.  Only then, can people be held to account to deliver the standard needed to not only grow the business, but to set you apart from your competitors.

We all know that people will generally pay more for a product, if the service they receive meets or exceeds their expectations.  Contact us today for ways in which to enhance the ‘service mindset’ within your organisation.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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