Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Creating Excellent Customer Service through Charismatic Leadership

Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers on creating excellent customer service by emulating the ways of charismatic leaders.

Q:   What is the connection between customer service and charismatic leadership?

Brown:  Actually, customer service is not separate and apart from operating an effective company. Customer service is a major component of the deliverables of the company’s products or services. Charismatic leaders are committed to the mission of a company and lodge crusades to ensure that goals and objectives are met.

Q:  So, if customer service starts at the top of the organization, where does charismatic leadership fit into all this?

Brown:  Conventional wisdom suggests that if customers feel good about the product and service during a buying experience, they will not only return to the company/organization, they will share the experience with others.  The best way for sales clerks, store greeters, and managers to feel good about providing excellent customer service is that they must believe their efforts are an essential component to the survivability and profitability of the organization.  Consistent inspirational and operational messages communicated by organizational heads drive customer service.  Charismatic leaders excel at tying the product and services to a religious-like experience rather than a one off experience. The best example is the consumer experience exemplified by Apple.  If Steve Jobs had not been a charismatic leader, Apple would not have the evangelical customers that exist.

Q: Apple is a unique company in itself; can you name any other examples where this is true?

Brown: Certainly, some leaders whose company, customer service, and personality are inextricably linked are:  Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines,   Former NBA coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, the late Reginald Lewis of Beatrice International Foods, and the late John DeLorean of the DeLorean Motor Corporation.  These are examples of charismatic leaders who shaped the imagery and context of the customer experience by imprinting their personality on their organization.

Q:  Interesting. What is the common link between these charismatic leaders in diverse industries?

Brown:  Each of these individuals is a visionary, possesses steel determination, and exhibited a unique perspective within their industry that trickled down to the customer experience.

Q: How can less visionary and less audacious leaders and managers create excellent customer service within their company?

Brown:  First, a less charismatic leader has to be insatiably curious about ideas that shape compelling products and services.  By discovering unmet needs in the marketplace, these leaders can get excited about becoming a change agent within their industry.  Second, less charismatic leaders can create believers within their organization by first becoming believers themselves. Everyone will drink the Kool- Aid if the leader drinks first.  Third, less charismatic leaders must be relentless and somewhat paranoid about staying competitive.  If the charismatic leader judges success by his performance and self-identity, less charismatic leaders have to tie their performance into personal unmet needs.  Finally, less charismatic leaders have to document their success and develop blueprints like charismatic leaders to serve as guidelines for future successors.  Forty six years after the death of Walt Disney, the Walt Disney Company still carries his personality and has maintained world class customer service as a result.
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