You know what’s even better? When they use voice recognition software. It stirs my blood to hear the electronic voice on the other end of the phone say, “I’m sorry I didn’t recognize that response. Please try again.” In fact, it makes my whole day when I’m able to enter all of my information in the system, spend twenty minutes or more on hold, and then when a live person picks up have them ask, “May I have your account number, please.” My answer is always, “No, you can’t have my flippin’ account number, I’m a person, not a revenue source!” Then I hang up.
The problem with customer service is that we’ve forgotten that customers are people. And we are supposed to SERVE them. Interestingly, many leaders suffer from a similar problem. Ask a leader who they lead and you’ll get some funny answers.
“I lead the HR department.”
“I lead the training program”
“I lead the organization.”
Doesn’t anyone lead PEOPLE anymore? Have we forgotten that departments, programs, and organizations are really just groups of individuals with wants, dreams, needs, and aspirations? As a leader, I know how it is. We get busy, we’re focused on our Big Hairy Audacious Goals. But, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot when we unconsciously dehumanize our followers. We’re not bad people, we just need to refocus.
The next time you meet with one of your people, spend 2 minutes before the meeting reminding yourself that they are human. Think about what their family life might be like. Imagine what their goals outside of work are. Then begin the meeting by asking a human question, and really listening to the answer, “How are you doing?” It can make all the difference in the world.