By the Engel & Völkers Team
Exceptional customer service is what makes any good company great. In fact, there are many modern day examples of companies across multiple industries becoming lone survivors among their competitors because of this very ideal. Treating people the way they think they should be treated is not enough … it’s about going above and beyond, exceeding expectations and creating customers for life. When you can attract customers versus chase them, a spark ignites creating a contagious culture and experience.
So how does this all start? With leadership, of course. Feeling nostalgic, we decided to take a look back at one of our favorite interviews with the great Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and known as a visionary for setting a gold standard in customer service. And because we’re keen on gold standards of service, too, we occasionally like to consider what others think leaders can and should adopt in order to build successful companies. Here are Branson’s top seven secrets to great leadership:
1. Be visible.
When you aren’t engaging with new and existing audiences, you stand still. Solicit feedback and ask opinions of your employees and customers so you can create a community of open dialogue, allowing people to feel valued and heard. Feedback and conversation lead to innovation, growth and evolution that matter to key stakeholders.
2. Express a passionate commitment to serving the customer.
A superior customer experience is the key to success in today’s global experience. When a company’s leader demonstrates this mantra authentically, it trickles down into every aspect of the business.
3. Your company’s employees are its greatest assets.
The quality of a customer’s interaction with those who represent your brand leave long-lasting impressions. When done the right way and authentically, customers are encouraged to return.
4. Hire people who have your brand’s attitude.
An individual’s competence, friendliness and ability to provide a superior level of service are vital. Someone who is brilliant can easily bring team members down if their approach does not fit within a collaborative, service-focused culture. Investing time and research into the hiring process pays off in dividends in the long run.
5. Empower employees to make every experience great.
Provide your employees everything they need to succeed so they can leverage their assets in a way that works best for them. It’s not just the “stuff” that’s the magic bullet to success, but fostering a culture that appreciates creativity in maximizing tools and results for the ultimate results.
6. Engage with an authentic voice, especially on social.
True leaders who do not maintain authentic communications lose credibility and create the sense of a barrier. Leaders must not shy away from openly conveying who they are and what they stand for. We’re all human, even at companies, and we should act as such.
7. Have fun.
If you take yourself too seriously, you can easily lose the passion that drives enthusiasm and innovation. When it stops being fun, it’s time to pivot. Fun is contagious and no one has more impact on a company than its leader, so live it up!
View this video by Forbes, "Richard Branson Reveals His Customer Service Secrets."