Shift Your Customer Service Mindset

Customer service is a no-brainer tactic for creating more loyalty and higher revenue. But are you absolutely sure that you’re approaching it in the right way?
Shift Your Customer Service Mindset
Mike Agugliaro

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If you found a treasure map that you knew for sure would lead to a pile of treasure, would you follow it? Or if you learned a secret trick to suddenly start getting happier customers who leave glowing reviews online and call you back for more work, would you deploy that secret trick?

Well, such a treasure map and secret trick exists: customer service.

Before your eyes glaze over because you’ve heard it a million times before, you should read this because it may be a completely different approach than you are used to.

When most companies think of customer service, they see it as something they bolt on after first deciding what they really sell. For example, you might think of your plumbing service as the thing you sell, and the customer service is the layer of care and politeness and professionalism that you put on top in order to keep the customer happy. It’s as if you are viewing your plumbing service as the cake and the customer service as the icing.

Unfortunately, if that’s the way you think about customer service, it almost becomes more of a cost, more of a hassle, and more of an inconvenience. It sometimes seems as if it gets in the way of you doing the work you’re getting paid to do — plumbing.

And even if you don’t feel this way personally, there’s a good chance that your team may feel this way. When they do, they’ll cut corners and skimp on the customer service because they see their real service as plumbing and the customer service part as just the extra that a customer is lucky to get. Sure, they might not specifically think these thoughts, but if you treat your customer service as a thing you add on to your real service, then that mindset will come out in everything they do.

So what should you do instead?

A Simple Mindset Change

It starts with a simple mindset change: Stop thinking about plumbing as the thing you sell and customer service as the icing. Instead, adopt the mindset that you are in the business of serving. You are not a plumber who serves customers; rather, you serve customers with your plumbing. That might sound like a small change, but it is a profound one.

When you are a plumber who serves customers, your focus is on doing your plumbing work; it’s very transactional. However, when you serve customers with your plumbing, the primary focus is on serving. Therefore, you approach everything differently:

  • You figure out how every step of your interaction with the customer can help them rather than simply help you complete your work.
  • You figure out what will shock, wow, and delight a customer.
  • You consider it a successful project if the customer is happy (not just if the plumbing project is completed to specifications).
  • You actively look for new ways to serve the customer (through additional services and products or even referrals).

Before it ever becomes a successful strategy in your business to help generate more money and build more loyal customers, you have to first convince yourself. For some plumbers it will be difficult because you’ve always seen yourself as a plumber; for others it will be an easy switch because you see how obvious and beneficial it is. It’s a mindset change that needs to happen in you before you can share it with the rest of your company.

Changing the Company Culture

First, start talking about it. Get people thinking about what it means. Ask questions. Invite people to share their thoughts. Get feedback from your employees.

Second, hold an all-company meeting and excitedly unveil this new concept. Even if it was an easy switch for you, it could be a difficult switch for your employees, especially those who feel that being a plumber is the real high-value position while customer service doesn’t require the same amount of specialization. You’ll need to teach them that being a plumber is the highest calling because it allows them to serve customers in a very specific way. During your all-company meeting, reveal a theme for the next three months that promotes this new mindset.

Third, measure employees based on customer service results, and reward them for their successes. If your culture allows for it, pit employees against each other in a fun, competitive contest.

Fourth, introduce a measurement tool that you use with every employee during a quarterly employee review, and build that measurement tool around customer service results.

Fifth, continue talking up this important mindset shift every single day. You can’t get tired of talking about it because it is central to the growth of your company.

Sixth, look for ways to train your employees to serve customers at a higher level. That might include on-the-spot training, formal training sessions, special guest speakers, and more.

Final Word

You’re a plumber and that is an important job. But to be a successful plumber, you need to generate revenue and build a list of loyal customers. Plumbing services alone won’t cut it. You need to do more. You need to serve your customers with your plumbing services and shock them with how much you solve their problems and help them.

When you approach every customer with that mindset, you’ll unleash surprising growth.

About the Author
Mike Agugliaro is the co-founder of New Jersey-based home service company, Gold Medal Service, which provides residential plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical services. As a business coach, Agugliaro takes from his own experience to regularly lead national speeches, podcasts, webinars, and seminars on behalf of his other business, CEO Warrior, and has published two business books with a third currently in production. 


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