Customer Service Teamwork: The Sticklers w/ Hearts of Gold #custserv

Customer Service Teamwork: Beware the Sticklers


Do you have team members who are sticklers for procedures and policies yet care a great deal about the customers?  Wonder why I am asking?


As I work with leaders on customer service teamwork in diverse companies, I see them struggle with this very question.  Are the problems that rigid team members create outweighed by their caring hearts? 

Customer service teamwork: Image is heart shaped handcuffs

Customer Service Teamwork: Sticklers w/ Hearts of Gold

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Customer Service Teamwork: Define It & Solve the Problem!

The good news is that this struggle doesn’t have to exist. Leaders actually create the struggle by mistakenly connecting these two issues in an either/or relationship. Unlink the either/or view. You can have both — caring customer service and agile teamwork!

And here’s some even better news for you leaders: You can ensure teams never struggle with this by defining what great customer service teamwork is.

    The standard definition of teamwork — a group working together toward a common goal — sets you all up for the struggle. Each team member defines working together from their own comfort zone. Those who love the safety of procedures, cling to them.
    If instead you use this definition — teamwork is adapting and growing to reach a common success — you eliminate the confusion and most of the struggle.

The rest of the struggle may be inside of you as leaders. Ask yourselves these questions to work through your concerns:

  • Do you prefer that team members stick closely to procedures? Perhaps it makes you feel secure. Being honest with yourself on this point is essential. If your answer is yes, then make it clear to all team members so they won’t struggle about this issue. Although customer service may not be as great as it could be with agile teams, at least team members won’t needlessly battle amongst themselves.
  • Do you want team members to be flexible yet fear the necessary coaching conversations with the rigid team members? These conversations do not have to be antagonistic or riddled with conflict.

    Base these conversations on the newer definition of teamwork above. Unearth their concerns about being flexible on procedures. Discuss parameters for varying from procedures to serve the customer. By connecting it to their caring side, you make it a bit easier for these team members to grow.

  • How do you feel about asking others to grow and change? If you want to be liked or feel like an ogre by asking others to grow, you trap yourselves in the struggle. Focus on creating outstanding customer service teamwork and the team members’ potential to grow and achieve it. This mental shift lifts you and everyone beyond the struggle.

Inflexible team members — the sticklers — create many problems for customer service teamwork. They can divide the team into camps. They drag morale as others get frustrated with their intransigence. They snarl the flow of success as others detour around them.

Such an unnecessary mess! Define with the teams what customer service teamwork is and what behaviors produce it. Model it and guide everyone toward the success of agility.

When you overlook team problems, success overlooks the team.

What successes have you had in developing team agility? I am very interested to help you go further. How can I help you?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Adaptability is Genius & Generosity
5 Essentials to Building 21st Century Teams
Customer Experience Leaders: Remove the Never Ever Rules

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please first contact me via email Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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