Forget your customers for a minute. If you’re reading this post, I’m pretty sure you think about your customers quite a bit. In fact, that’s one of the main goals of this blog (and our whole company): to give you ideas and insight to help you serve your customers better.
But aside from reading our blog religiously every week — as I’m SURE you do — do you do anything else to inspire yourself to better service? Service-oriented people are a strange breed. We spend so much of our energy serving other people that we sometimes forget to stop and re-energize ourselves once in awhile.
I know the reasons why, because I struggle with this issue myself. Taking time to inspire myself feels selfish. Or it doesn’t seem like the best use of my time. I could use that time to serve somebody else or work on my business. If I take time to inspire myself (God forbid I actually do it during a normal workday), I’m afraid that others will think I’m not working hard. Or I might actually miss an opportunity to serve a customer.
Service-oriented people burn out faster than most. Providing service is weirdly energizing and draining at the same time. We get some real positive energy when we provide great service, BUT it can also be physically and mentally draining. When we burn out, it’s because we’ve served others too much or too long without re-charging our batteries.
I’m going to the NACCM Customer’s 1st Conference in Phoenix next week. I’m incredibly excited to go. I had considered going when I first found out about it months ago, however I quickly talked myself out of it. I told myself it was too expensive, especially during this financially-challenged year.
Then an amazing thing happened: I was offered FREE ADMISSION to the conference if I agreed to be a “guest blogger.” The full-access pass is worth around $3000. That’s pretty good compensation to write a handful of articles about a topic that I love. It’s a no-brainer, right?
Then an even more amazing thing happened: I tried to talk myself out of going to the conference…AGAIN! Only this time, I had to face the real issue: I couldn’t rationalize taking three whole days to inspire myself. I felt guilty even thinking about it. Going to a beautiful resort in sunny Phoenix when my staff is stuck in the gray, soon-to-be leafless Columbus fall? Forget about it. Spending three days attending amazing keynotes and workshops on customer service while my staff is here working hard to serve our customers? No way. And don’t even get me started on the guilt of leaving my family for three days.
But I have to go. Not just because I already bought the airline tickets. I have to go because it’s way too great of an opportunity to practice what I’m preaching in this article.
Thankfully, my wife, my staff, and my friends all told the same thing when I was debating whether or not to go:
“Are you nuts? GO!“
While I’m suppressing the thought that they all just want me out of town, I’m finally really, really excited to go. I’m excited to learn. I’m excited to relax. I’m excited to interact with people from all over the country who are fired up about customer service. I’m excited to take some time to inspire myself.
So, when was the last time you took some time to inspire yourself? When was the last time you read a great book on customer service? When was the last time you attended a workshop or conference? When was the last time you went to a restaurant, hotel, or spa just to enjoy and be inspired by the service experience?
Do it soon. Do it regularly. The world needs you to keep your batteries charged.
One more thing. If you know a service-oriented person who needs some inspiration, encourage them to take the time. Reassure them that it’s not just ok, it’s necessary. The world needs them to keep their batteries charged, too.
If you’re interested in the NACCM Customer 1st Conference, I will be writing about my experience daily here on our blog as well as the Customers 1st Blog. You can also find out more about the conference, including the great lineup of speakers and session leaders at the conference website. Don’t forget to check out the podcasts with some of the speakers. The podcasts are short, but filled with great thoughts about a variety of customer service topics.