Jason was frustrated with his IT help desk. They seemed to take forever to return calls and when they did, their attitude was painful to listen to. They complained about the work and why everyone picked on them. Jason noticed there was one exception to this rule, and that came in the form of a new young woman on the team named Stephanie.

Team Based ServiceStephanie wanted to help and seemed to “enjoy” what she did. Jason took note of when Stephanie was assigned to take calls on the help desk and only called when she was on duty, or if necessary, he would call and ask specifically for her.

Does this sound like your help desk? How about other groups within your organization? What about companies or establishments you visit on a regular basis? What kind of opinions do you develop about establishments based on the level of service from just one or two people?

Survey your people and find out their opinions about different departments that closely interact with your team and see if this is true, whether the service is great or horrific. You will find that when a team is focused on providing quality service and has the right people in place, the level of everyone’s attitude is like that of Stephanie. When everyone has an attitude like Stephanie, opinions about that department are more positive.

Once you’ve done this exercise, with your team, for other teams in your organization, it’s time to look at your team’s teamwork skills. What about those who rely on your team? What is their attitude about your team? In other words, would you want to do business with your team? Not you, but your team?

Let’s face it, regardless of what we do, we all provide a service, internally or externally, to someone.

These five tips will help you improve your team-based service:

  1. Create A Team Vision Statement – You cannot expect to hit a target you cannot see. This must be a statement that defines your team and what the team does for the organization.
  2. Develop Your Team Basics – What is your team about and what is required to make your team successful? Write these things down and review them regularly. The greatest organizations have these, and many review them daily or weekly. Some of these basics might include:
    • Using a “willingness to help” approach
    • Practicing good teamwork skills
    • Positive mental attitude
    • Finding ways to help
    • Professionalism

    These are just a few. Develop your own and run with it!

  3. Empower Everyone – The great Admiral James B. Stockdale once said about leadership, “Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.” Team members need to know that they can make decisions and not have to fear repercussions for their actions. Now, that being said, make sure that employees have sufficient technical knowledge to make those decisions.
  4. Develop Mutual Accountability – This becomes the glue that holds any team together. Allow team members to call a huddle meeting to review events that are happening and brainstorm what can be done. If this appears to need more than five minutes (depending on your business), then table it for a full staff meeting. On the other hand, if a decision or statement can be made in three minutes, then allow team members to solve problems on their own.
  5. Brief and De-brief Regularly – Every good team meets on a regular basis. Not to complain or just go over technical details, rather to empower each other and charge the batteries of everyone on the team. Great organizations call these huddle meetings and many do them before each shift, or at the least weekly. In de-briefing sessions, remember to focus not on who screwed up but what worked and what did not. Ask the question, “How can “we” make changes to make it better in the future?”

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