It is hard at times to let go of things. Let go of control, let go of the rules, let go of trying to get it right…. we all get a little wound up at times and think that we must hold on tight to what we want, the outcome we need to see, always trying harder, grip more firmly.  Hmm, so how is that working out for you?
For me, not so well. I notice when I hold on tightly, it can feel like pressure, it stinks of effort and as a result, I find that it leads to being sometimes disappointed with people, or myself, because it was not good enough, not how I pictured it to be.
So, I tell myself; let’s loosen the grip a little.
I practice this lesson most on the yoga mat.  Sometimes I take my self far too seriously in yoga. I approach a pose with a super serious face, an enormous amount of effort, throw in some judgement and comparison and the pressure of getting the perfect alignment so it’s just right. Then thankfully, faintly in the background I hear a voice of reason; (the yoga teacher) quietly suggesting to allow yourself to soften a little, relax your face, breathe, ease into the pose, pull back a little on the strain and effort and just allow yourself to find the pose in your body. At that point you are grateful that the teacher is in the room, serving you, giving you an opportunity to find the version of the pose that is right for you, uniquely for you.
As service leaders, you are the teachers in the room for your employees, their voice of reason. And as leaders, you do not need to have all the answers. In fact, allowing your teams to find their own way, think for themselves, create their version of service interactions will provide a more genuine, authentic interaction between employees and customers.
People support things they help create.
Empowering our employees to make good judgement calls, serve a customer in their genuine, caring way will see your service culture fly.
Let go of the rules of service, replace them with service behaviours.
Let go of sequence of service, replace them with making every moment matter.
Let go of rigid loyalty programs, empower staff to reward customers on their terms.
Some companies are taking the empowerment and trust element of their service staff to a whole new level. Pret a Manger, a sandwich chain in Britain has recently loosened the grip and recently revealed that staff in their outlets across the country are licensed (empowered) to give free drinks and food to any customer who takes their fancy. Read more here
“Team members tell us they often give away treats to their regulars and to customers they think are in need of cheering up,” a company spokesperson expanded.
Loosening the grip can start out small, low risk and not too far-reaching. Below are a few prompts to get you thinking about how to empower your service staff more…or as a minimum begin the conversation to co-create some service ideas together.

  1. Ask your team what do they feel about the service levels currently?
  2. Ask your team what they need to deliver exceptional service (resources, knowledge, remove obstacles)
  3. Ask them what they enjoy most in a service interaction when they are a customer themselves?
  4. Ask them what ideas they have, that may enhance (even WOW) the customer’s service experiences?

Remember, you don’t have all the answers and isn’t that a great thing – it would be far too stressful if you were expected to know it all.
Loosen the grip.
Jaquie Scammell
‘Love Being in Service’

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