Blog Sept 2019 - MS
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Being of Service, no matter what you do

Service. It’s a word that we all know, and something that we often expect form others. The fact is that we all provide service of some kind, no matter the occupation.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.”

Being of service is nothing new to me. As I thought more about my personal need to be valued as someone who helps, I realized that I have been of service to others in all of my roles throughout my career. My service creates experiences, fulfills dreams, grows business, provides leadership, builds relationships and makes me more successful. This “service-tude” led me here, to Mckenna Management.

The same goes for all of us. We each started in our selected profession for a reason.  Whether you’re a physician, a lawyer, an executive, a coach, a consultant, a hairdresser, or anything else — you started because you wanted to affect some sort of a change.  You wanted to be of service.

It doesn’t really matter what your position is in any kind of organization. it increases your value to your work and to others. Being of service means that you are not only working to get a paycheck while focusing on your own development. Being of service means that you are aware of your impact on others. Being of service means that you are ultimately thinking about what you are providing to your clients and colleagues. When your actions are from a place where you are trying to be of service, you are showing that you care about others. You are spreading kindness and compassion by being helpful and supportive to others. Being of service to something — especially, a professional association — means that you’ve chosen to engage without expectation of reciprocation. Offering great service builds a loyal and happy member base and can be the most powerful marketing tool to bring in new customers or members due to word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some tips to up the ante on service skills:

1.     Truly ListenListening is one of the simplest secrets of customer service. It means hearing what your members are saying out loud, as well as what they are communicating non-verbally.

2.     Understand your members. Your knowledge of the member must extend far beyond the boundaries of traditional service criteria. Truly understanding their needs, wants, and expectations is key to creating personalized interactions.

3.     Be responsive. Members want service, fast. Even if the full answer can’t be delivered immediately, always email back the same day. Keep the member looped into the process.

4.     Build trust.  Going the extra mile and showing passion for the member builds loyalty, trust and a longer customer relationship.

5.     Live the company values.  When creating a company culture, or a mission statement, highlight the importance of customer service. Making service part of the culture means employees will be more likely to live the company’s values on a day-to-day basis, and create better service outcomes.  It represents to all employees what you stand for and why you exist, and it is the primary tool for getting everyone “on the same page.”

6.     Be Friendly. Customer service starts with a smile. When you are in a face-to-face situation, a warm greeting should be the first thing they see and hear. Even when handling customer service requests via telephone, a smile can come through in your voice. Finally, using a friendly tone within an e-mail goes a long way in creating real customer engagement. That’s why I end 99% of my messages with, “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you. I’m happy to help.” It’s my way of saying that it would be my pleasure to assist with any lingering questions that may have cropped up.

7.  Say Thank You. Gratitude is memorable. Regardless of the type of business you have, saying thank you after every transaction is one of the easiest ways to start a habit of good customer service

Use your imagination to come up with ways to be of better service to your co-workers, company, customers, and members. A ‘service’ mind-set adds great value to your business, association, and everyone in it!

Melissa Striharsky is a Program Coordinator at McKenna Management, Inc. She brings with her over 20 years of customer service and event management experience, which she acquired while serving in a variety of roles in the fast-paced hospitality industry. Melissa previously worked as the Senior Event Manager at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA, planning and orchestrating 100+ weddings per year. Outside of providing high-quality membership and event support for her clients, Melissa enjoys traveling, reading, gardening, spending time with family, going on hikes, and planning for the next adventure with her husband-to-be.