Unlearning Entitlement to Improve Customer Service

Do you encourage and promote gratitude in your workplace?  Think about this a minute longer.  Are you simply thankful, or do you truly foster appreciation for your business among your workforce?  As a business owner or executive, you have plenty of direct incentive to be genuinely appreciative of customers.  An hourly or entry-level employee, on the other hand, may feel far more detached from this incentive.  In fact, many feel dependence on the organization without stepping back to look at how the organization survives.  You may feel frustration with the realization that employees don’t always make the connection between their paychecks and your customers – but the reality is that it is something you have to instill rather than expect.

The first step is to recognize the direct correlation between that blind spot and customer satisfaction.  We are very emotionally intelligent people; we can sense a lack of sincerity in service – and will continue to hunt for genuine appreciation of our business until we find it.  Once we identify this as a problem we can work to strategically eradicate it.  The second step is to change the culture and embrace the fact that you must sow the seeds before you can reap the harvest.  Helping nurture gratitude by translating knowledge, experience, and numbers into digestible pieces of training and leadership for your people is a great way to shape the customer service and customer appreciation that drives loyalty and growth for your business.

If you’re like many that I’ve had workforce discussions with, you are concerned, exasperated, and a little annoyed with what feels like rampant entitlement in the American workforce.  I have to admit that I too hop on this bandwagon from time to time.  It is challenging to have painstakingly earned merit badges on the road of delayed gratification and then manage people who think they can order those badges online and have them delivered overnight!  Understanding that experience isn’t just a category to pontificate about on a Word resume template, but the culmination of actual blood, sweat, tears, and time is something we consider to be quite obvious.

Well, this is a reminder that entitlement works both ways.  Not every generation or person or culture’s circumstances are the same, which means that we cannot demand that our people see things the way we do (although that does seem like a more efficient way to accomplish it!); we are not entitled to their buy-in – it too must be earned and learned.  Utilizing resources to unlearn entitlement and develop gratitude within your workforce is a fantastic and fruitful idea.

I could speculate on the causes of entitlement at length, but what I’m most interested in is how to best change that mindset and shape it around customer service for the benefit of business.  If you have thoughts, opinions, or experience in handling the entitlement conundrum I’d love for you to share!

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