How to win the commitment of your staff towards excellent customer service?

Management SkillsGaining the position of a customer service manager in a well settled company is not an easy task at all. It involves years of your sincere devotion and commitment towards your job as well as your company. Consider the scenario when you are promoted to a new position of customer service manager and you find your staff showing poor customer service and the staff being demotivated and more interested in the pay packet than providing an excellent customer service. Adding fuel to fire you find an opposing pay structure which inhibits you from availing performance based incentives and awards! A number of trainings and sessions would have been taken for the demotivated employees with job of every customer service employee defined but nothing showed any positive result in the past. What to do for now?

This is really a challenging position for you but with some really positive approaches you can turn the face of the coin and bring excellence in the customer service from your staff. Check out these positive steps and approaches you need to follow in order to win the commitment of your staff towards excellent customer service.

Create a culture and a core value in your staff:

If the culture inside your staff is right than things like excellent customer service or creating an engaging brand, all these will happen on its own. Create a culture in which every employee works to be better than expected. The customer experience has to be better every day by guiding your team to be the best at what they do.

Customer service should be a part of everyone’s job in your staff and there is no other way to connect with the customer more effectively and efficiently. The philosophy of being better than expected provides the best possible customer experience.

Motivate not only through money but with other factors too:

  • Improving customer service can be done by developing motivation among the employees. Motivation is achieved not only through monetary policies but also include a variety of non monetary factors like-
  • Giving recognition from the senior or respected people from the company
  • Giving a sense that you made a difference
  • Developing a feeling that the job is of worth and instilling a sense of achievement in employees
  • Developing a new approach and a full understanding of everything

The motivating factors are not limited to those mentioned above and the different types of employees need different types of motivational factors. There are simply two ways to develop motivation among the employees-

  • Developing an approach which is standard
  • Adopting the approach developed by the staff people

The first approach has problems sometimes that there is an assumption that employees need a particular type of motivation factor only. If your approach meets their motivational needs then all is fine. But if you follow a standard approach and your employees need other, then it is really hard to win their commitment towards the customer service excellence. You may achieve a quality but it may be at the expense of your staff’s commitment which is not good at all and the level of customer satisfaction will be poor.

mba graduates.

The second type of motivational approach developed by the staff people is really helpful and it enables staff to build the commitment of their own towards customer excellence. The staff can adopt all the things which they need to motivate them and development of those standards will truly help them in getting more committed towards customer service excellence.

Explaining the importance of customer care throughout the organization and spreading the word!

As a customer service manager you need to support the importance of customer care in words as well as your deeds. Take the use of all the opportunities you get to share this message through electronic communications, print and through meetings, special events and other media. Take the opportunities of publishing the success stories of staff and employees who went “beyond and above” to achieve customer service excellence. This approach is very important and will spread the awareness as well as sense of achievement in your staff for customer service.

There have been a number of successful strategies taken up by customer service oriented companies. One big financial company had words “Think like the customer” printed all over the doorways to spread the words for customer empathy. Some companies have messages inlaid in the floor “Customer focus: exceeding the expectations of every customer”.  While there are some companies which have customer service messages on the back of ID badges of every employee!

Reinforcing Customer Importance through special events:

Customer appreciation type events are also very helpful for winning the commitment of your staff towards customer excellence. These activities are not just limited to profits. The U.S census bureau organizes customer service week every October and many creative ways to honor the special events are explored.  Field offices take part and create customer focused displays which is judged by peers. The customer service week happenings are published in books and distributed to all the staff including customer service success stories submitted by staff and customers.

Take a workshop-based approach:

Staff commitment towards better customer service can be increased by following a workshop-based approach. Take your team offsite for some days and conduct a workshop taking them through a syndicate-based process in which they can do the following things:

  • Analyze their good or bad experiences of customer service
  • Understand and define what a good customer service is
  • Applying all the analysis and definitions to the own organization environment
  • Asking a customer to present a presentation on “What type of service I expect from you” and followed by Q & A
  • Get the staff members to produce an action plan which can be followed up on the workshop
  • In order to make sure that all output from the workshops is conveyed to management and supported by them, appoint a follow up manager. The progress on all actions is also communicated to everyone by the follow up manager

Your staff’s commitment towards better customer service is the foundation of your organizational growth.  A happy and motivated staff member will not only give a better customer service but also will spread the sense of satisfaction and motivation to the other peers and management. By adopting all the approaches mentioned above you can definitely find yourself good in the role of a customer service manager and bring a sense of commitment and quality in the working of your staff.

Contributed by Ashish Singh Parihar ( Class of 2008, IBS PUNE )

Creating Creatively

MBA Graduates Creating Creatively

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. – C. S. Lewis

We are repeatedly told that in a day and age where ‘change’  is the only constant, the ones unwilling to embrace it are sure to be left behind.

This raises some obvious questions.

Would it not be infinitely easier to just work within a set of boundaries that must never be crossed?

Isn’t it more rational to follow a successful standardized method instead of concentrating on customization?

No doubt it is tempting to follow a set of routine and emergency guidelines, but what happens when the ever-changing market dynamics interferes with and limits your resources and desired output?

Here is where Creative Management surpasses Traditional Management in a business setting.

Often confused with creativity management (which is the management of creative thinking skills and other mental processes), creative management celebrates creativity and innovation in the business processes.

What is creativity?

Is it Originality?




We know that both innovation and creativity intend value creation and innovation without creativity is unheard of.

Ideas have little value unless applied. If ideas exist but no action is taken, it is imagination we are left with, not creativity.

Peter Cook, of Beverley Gardens, Maidenhead, had an idea and he pursued it. He innovated to benefit homes prone to flooding. The new product is a natural jute bag containing a super-absorbent polymer weighing only 400g. When placed in contact with water it absorbs the liquid and expands to 32 times its size. Peter creatively managed to effectively prevent indoor-flooding.

For our purposes, creativity can be defined as concurrent problem identification and idea generation whereas innovation can be defined as creative idea selection, development and commercialization.

Creativity in management decisions and processes make incumbent businesses and new entrants stand out from their competitors ensuring more market share.

Sternberg & Lubart, in their signature work Defying the Crowd tell us – A product is creative when it is a) Novel and b) Appropriate.

An innovation can have a long-term impact but the creative managers need to ensure that an immediate need for it exists.

The process of creativity in Management is the ability to perceive things in new ways by questioning assumptions, reasoning, synthesizing information by finding hidden patterns and connections, taking calculated risks, modifying or creating product, service or process; all with passion, commitment and agility.

The Traditional (or Classic) approach views creativity as a deliberately managed process. In both Classic and Creative Approaches, it is up to the management to set frontiers or boundaries while managing organizational change. The initiation of change however is not as big a taboo in the latter.

The biggest problem with the Classic approach is that it fails at proper crisis management in spite of being a consistent and “tried & tested” approach.

Simply stated, new problems usually require new solutions. Keep up or perish.

In the case of creative management, crisis produces challenges that must be taken on as a risk or chance, demoting the status of crisis from that of threat to an opportunity. In short, crisis becomes the catalyst for potential positive change.

The change can be approached as either sustaining or disruptive.

Sustaining Creative Management needs more structure and focuses on doing things better. Disruptive Creative management isn’t too wedded to the existing system and believes in doing things differently.

There are various factors that must be considered before deciding the most suitable approach at any given period of time.

Innovation impulses arise out of the internal environment and external environment. ** They originate out of unexpected events, contradiction, change of work process, change in the structure of industry, demographic changes as well as changes in the worldview and new knowledge.*

IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study states, “The effects of rising complexity calls for CEOs and their teams to lead with bold creativity, connect with customers in imaginative ways and design their operations for speed and flexibility to position their organizations for twenty-first century success.”

Creative Managements chase insights that help them to connect more resolutely with their target audience. In the Marketing scenario, modern marketers create the intended perception by constructing a web of associations and targeting the creative consumption.

Social Media Advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. Anything from innovative packaging to a discount deal can assist in moulding the brand image as planned.

A Successful Innovating Company is quite easy to spot. It has an aura of collective creative consciousness, which pervades throughout the organization and into the hearts and minds of their consumers.

It manifests as motivation and creativity of employees throughout all sectors. Each employee heartily takes up the oft-silent pledge to do by the greater good of their organization and commit to teamwork. The love is reciprocated by the organization to its employees. There is a focus on continued creative education and wellbeing of the employees.

No stone is left unturned towards the possibility of further innovation and  new opportunities for creative change. All alternatives are investigated before employing any new idea through systematic Research and Development.

A Successful Innovating Company conquers the markets using a project-based approach with a healthy rate of risk taking. It carries the talent to legally finance the innovation activities and does not hesitate to cooperate with external experts when required.

Since the Creative Approach focuses on using the limited resources in the most effective manner, it has become the go-to style of budding entrepreneurs today. Creative start-ups adopt this Management style to make a lasting first impression and to nudge it in the desired direction.

Creatively managed Businesses mba graduatesunderstand their customer like an old acquaintance would, making the most of the insights collected, providing value (and striving to provide more) where earlier there was little or none.

Creative Management envisions and takes steps towards a glorious future, yet is proactive when it senses the winds shifting.

It is always on its toes, strategically choreographing its moves and simultaneously dancing in tune with the market rhythm to the delight of consumers and the awe of its competitors.

Believe you can change the world. Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.

Know when to work alone and when to work together.

Share – tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.

No politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage.)

The customer defines a job well done.

Radical ideas are not bad ideas. Invent different ways of working. Make a contribution every day. If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage. Believe that together we can do anything.


-1999 HP Annual Report

**Internal: Own R&D department, technical division, production divisions, marketing and sales, logistics, guarantee and post-guarantee service, owners; External: customers, suppliers, competitors, consultants, R&D institutions, schools, universities, professional publications, Internet, exhibitions, fairs, specialized seminars and conferences, advertising agencies, investors, media, authorized testing labs, certification agencies, state institutions and public sector, legislation, globalization.

*Seven sources of Innovation impulses by Drucker.

We will be discussing in our following posts the tools used for creative management in an organization, the characteristics of a Creative Manager and how Creativity is a discipline, which can be learnt.

Contributed by Ankita Verma ( Class of 2009, IBS HYDERABAD )