Most of us spend more time with our team members at work than we do with our family members at home. But does that mean we should treat our colleagues like they were an extended family?
The answer probably comes down to how well you get on with your own family, and also your own colleagues, but the overarching question still stands.
It’s one thing to think of your team members as a sort of surrogate family, but how far should our customers or clients be an extension of that as well? Are they an extension of our ‘work family’ too?
Listen like your mum, or get to the point like your dad?
I’ve come across two companies recently who took very different approaches to customer service.
One company encouraged its employees to ‘treat the customer like they are your mum’. The underlying principle being that you should speak to the customer with the respect and dignity you would expect someone to show to a member of your family.
As you can imagine, there’s a pretty decent counterargument to not doing this as well.
The other company’s focus was on ensuring the customer had a ‘low effort’ experience: the notion being that the customer doesn’t necessarily want a gold plated service, they just want to do business in the quickest and easiest possible way.
Which is right and which is wrong?
Each approach is right if it fits the values that are at the heart of that organisation, and helps to foster the relationships you aspire to.
As change people, if we know what it is you’re looking to achieve then we can help to define the right approach. Defining expectations is at the heart of what we do.
If we extend our friend and family network along the way then that’s just a bonus.