Thursday, August 7, 2014


Blanchard has rreleased another book, Legendary Service and I wonder why. The book outlines an academics ICARE model for customer service: Ideal (customer-centric), Culture, Attentiveness, Responsiveness, Empowerment.

Nothing new here that you can't find in other customer service books. However, excellent, legendary, knock-your-socks-off customer service isn't happening consistently nor extensively. So maybe there is a need for redundancy. The question is whether a book is how to make it happen.

Is the problem generational? Here's one anecdotal take on the question claiming there isn't a difference. Here's another that claims there is a generational difference of expectations. But is there a generational difference in delivering customer service? Can't find the data, but I'm sure you've got your own anecdotes about Millenials hung up texting or talking on their cell phone (or with their staff peer) ignoring you in the process. Perhaps they have expectations that you'll solve your own problem. As one writer puts it, they want customer service to have anticipated the customer's (his/her) problem before you ask for help. Maybe the front line Millenials think they've already covered all the bases, and therefore there is 'no way' you can have a problem they haven't already fixed.

I know some Millenials and they complain as much as their older curmudgeonly elders. Perhaps expectations aren't much different. What's different is the ability to look beyond your own, immediate needs and think about the needs of others. This is emotional intelligence and maturity, and a realization of the purpose of your job. Kohlberg has developed 6 stages of moral development which includes the ability to look beyond only our needs and the strength of our convictions, i.e. how much are they determined by others versus chosen and defended principles of behavior and ethics. We can cycle through these stages, regressing and progressing, though it's hard to progress past a level of maturity that you've developed. It's very easy to regress. If a person hasn't developed to the later stages, an employer will struggle to get them to adopt your expectations into their work life.

You may not be able to undo their lifetimes of poor emotional development. And this is where Blanchard's book falls short. There is more groundwork needed than his model accomplishes. Certainly, if there are intelligence shortfalls--reading, math for example--employers have embraced remedial steps to get people up to the job requirements. However, maturity is more difficult without intense mentoring (dare I say, parenting).

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