Providing great service can be its own reward
I chatted with my daughter on Skype this past Sunday. She is in a college program in Colorado Springs and recently got a job working at the local White House Black Market. Madison just got out of training and was excited to tell me that she'd booked her first client. She told me how her client was nice, earned her a nice little commission, and complimented her in front of the store manager. And, she clearly felt esteemed when the woman said she would only ask for Madison when she came into the store.
I am proud of my daughter. Having been raised in a home with a father who is a consultant in the art of good Customer Service, I know that she picked up a thing or two along the way. But a big part of it has nothing to do with lessons I might have taught her. Listening to my daughter's excitement and enthusiasm made me realize that she's learning one of the most important lessons through her own experience: Providing good service is its own reward.
Some people are motivated by making a lot of money and winning contests, and I have no problem with positive reinforcement. When I meet exceptional Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), however, almost all of them do it because of the intangible sense of worth and satisfaction they get by doing right by someone else. It feels good to hear a customer sincerely tell you that you made their day. You feel a sense of healthy pride when you walk away from a job knowing that you've helped someone out of a jam, eased a fear, solved a problem, and put a smile on someone's face.
A while back I heard an executive of John Deere say that he loved his job because he knew he was helping to feed the world. What a great way to be motivated to go to work each day. The exceptional CSRs I've had the privilege to know over the years have a similar take on their own jobs. It's more than dutiful labor for a paycheck. They find personal fulfillment in serving others well. My daughter is learning that delivering great service is a win-win-win for her client, her employer and herself.