Last week, I visited a beautiful spa in Mexico. That’s another reason why I like spas: they offer staff huge opportunities to excel in customer service.  Think about it: When people go to a spa they’re open — they’re after a positive experience. If you meet that openness with a staff well-versed in building relationships and providing excellent customer service, you’ve got a sure recipe for success.

The staff at Desert Spa in Cabo San Lucas was attentive, accommodating and kind. The facility was beautiful, sophisticated, serene, but the employees weren’t fully part of the event.  They had never received any of the treatments or massages. They had never experienced what they were selling. What a missed opportunity! It would be so much more powerful, profitable and smart to have them experience the facility’s services and then be able to communicate that feeling, that confidence to their clients. Should have been a must as part of their training! But it wasn’t.

A similar thing happens with customer service staff in many other scenarios.  Staff are trained on job specifics, but they’re not often trained on keeping themselves well, joyful, balanced and in a good frame of mind from which to provide true Service to customers — Service with Heart.

Great companies pay close attention to this. They provide ways for staff to be happy in their jobs, enthusiastic, vested on the success of the company. They share the company’s story and align people’s passion with their day-to-day jobs.

Training staff in this way is a not a luxury, but a necessity. It isn’t a “nice-to-have-if-we-had-the-budget”. It is vital to your profitability and continued success. Your customer service staff holds the heartbeat of your company! They interact at the beginning, middle and (hopefully) at the return with all those customers you spend big marketing dollars to attract.

A great trainer can help you communicate your company story, your vision, your mission to your customer service staff. Your staff then become your ambassadors with customers. They hold space for all customer interactions and safeguard the future of your organization. As a manager or business owner, you must help your Customer Service people to cultivate presence of mind and awareness in themselves. How else can they listen, empathize and be helpful to customers? It must start with experiencing that in themselves. Just as with the staff at the spa, you cannot share an experience you’ve never, yourself, had.

Here’s a good start:
  • Encourage your staff to take breaks, go for walks, eat more healthily.
  • Provide a serene place for breaks, with inspiring books and videos.
  • Provide perks such as retreats, gym memberships.
  • Sponsor contests where they can win a bicycle, a yoga mat, or a series of lessons.

My blogging colleague, Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen, recently wrote a beautiful post on dealing with stress and chaos. Her article offers additional suggestions.

If you manage customer service or want to build a great company, you must invest in your staff, especially if they deal directly with your customers. You are investing in your own health and in your own future. You are investing in the heart of your organization.

Please comment on this article and join the conversation!