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 we must hold on tight to what we want and the outcome we need by trying harder and gripping more firmly.
Hmmm … so how is that working out for you?
For me, not so well. I notice that when I hold on tightly, it can feel like pressure and stinks of effort. As a result, I find it leads to being disappointed with people, or myself, because it was not good enough or not how I pictured it. So, I tell myself: let’s loosen the grip a little.
I practice this lesson most on the Yoga mat. Sometimes I take myself far too seriously in Yoga. I approach a pose with a super serious face and an enormous amount of effort. I throw in some judgement and comparison and the pressure of getting the perfect alignment so it’s just right.
Then, thankfully, in the background I hear a voice of reason (the yoga teacher) quietly suggesting to allow myself to soften a little, relax my face, breathe, ease into the pose, pull back a little on the strain and effort and just allow myself to find the pose in my body. At that point, I am grateful that the teacher is in the room, serving me, giving me an opportunity to find the version of the pose that is right for me—unique to me.
As service leaders, you are the teachers in the room for your employees; you are their voice of reason. However, as leaders, you do not need to have all the answers. Infact, allowing your teams to find their own way, think for themselves and create their version of service interactions will provide a more genuine, authentic interaction between employees and customers.
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 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
A spokesperson for the company said, ‘Team members tell us they often give away treats to their regulars and to customers they think are in need of cheering up’.
Loosening the grip can start out small, low risk and not be 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 how it feels about the service levels currently?
2. Ask your team what it needs to be able 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?
People support things they help create. Empowering our employees to make good judgement calls and serve a customer in their own genuine and caring way will see your service culture fly.
Loosen the grip.
‘Love Being in Service’