Integrity Service: Treat Your Customers Right-Watch Your Business Grow

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Every company today recognizes the importance of good customer service and putting the customer first. Why, then, do service people so often treat us as though we're supposed to serve them, rather than the opposite? How often do we feel neglected, frustrated, or just plain unhappy-wondering what happened to basic civility and common courtesy? Why do things seem to be getting worse rather than better? And how can businesses train employees to offer customers the courtesy and ...

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Overview

Every company today recognizes the importance of good customer service and putting the customer first. Why, then, do service people so often treat us as though we're supposed to serve them, rather than the opposite? How often do we feel neglected, frustrated, or just plain unhappy-wondering what happened to basic civility and common courtesy? Why do things seem to be getting worse rather than better? And how can businesses train employees to offer customers the courtesy and attention they are entitled to?

Ron Willingham, whose seminars and training sessions have helped big companies around the world change their employees' behavior, offers a new and subtler way of looking at customer service. Instead of the traditional "paint an artificial smile on your face" approach, Integrity Service brings the whole person into the service experience, showing that good customer relationships grow from employees' beliefs about who they are and what's possible for them to achieve, what career rewards they deserve, and what value they can give customers.

Integrity Service presents fundamental principles that lead to individual success and gives readers specific action guidelines for on and off the job. Willingham's documented success through his seminars and programs ensures that the hands-on help in this book will bring employees and managers to a new understanding of the nature of service.

In a world of automated phone systems and constantly frustrated customers, Ron Willingham provides a proven program that empowers employees to provide the superior service that people really want and deserve.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A tremendously enriching book filled with deep-rooted, unchanging principles that work. Trust, the glue of life, is founded on integrity."
— Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

"Based on the belief that 'success is the by-product of the value you create for others,' Ron Willingham guides the reader through a series of thinking patterns, actions, beliefs, and behaviors that cannot fail to increase levels of success and personal growth. Integrity Service is a book not to be missed."
— Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Customer Mania!

"Ron's unique ability to connect with his readers and use real-life examples to find the relationships among integrity, service, and results makes his new book compelling and timely. His call to service will challenge and reward you both professionally and personally."
— Marvin Girouard, chairman and CEO, Pier 1 Imports

"After forty years in the hospitality/services industry, I know that Integrity Service effectively explains all aspects of service in the business world. It confirms the same philosophy and integrity I have used with my own employees and customers over the years. I strongly recommend and encourage those starting their career, or anyone at any level seeking synergy, to read this book."
— Armando Arribas, director, Catering and Convention Services Parks and Resorts, Walt Disney Company, Orlando

"Integrity Service provides terrific, practical advice for professionals who truly desire to develop a customer-focused culture. As always, Ron Willingham puts the focus on people: their needs and desires and those who serve them."
— Beth Daniell, vice president, sales and marketing, American Red Cross

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743270274
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron Willingham is founder and CEO of Integrity Systems, Inc., an international training and development company with more than 1.5 million graduates in 80 nations. His organization is the leader in helping organizations succeed with ethical, values-driven people-development strategies. Integrity Systems's client list reads like a Who's Who of business: Johnson & Johnson, American Red Cross, IBM, The Guardian Life Insurance Company, Principal Financial Group, Franklin Templeton, and more than 2,000 others. He is the author of Integrity Service and Integrity Selling for the 21st Century. Willingham lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

This Book Is About Your Success

We can have one of three views in all relationships:

  • It's all about me.
  • It's all about you.
  • It's all about us.
The view of me is a self-focused one that's all about getting you to do what I want you to do for me. The view of you can be a sub-servient one, where I indulge you to win and myself to lose. The view of us is a win-win one, where I first give you the value you want and then allow you to return the value I want.

The last is the paradoxical Integrity Service view — one of mutual prosperity and abundance for everyone.

Yes, this book is about your success. It's about your life and your possibilities for enjoying more of the prosperity and abundance that await your quest.

Since you're reading this, I assume that you have a strong desire for greater success in all facets of your life — in your career, your relationships, and your personal effectiveness. I'm trusting that you're serious about your future hopes and dreams coming true.

I'll share with you time-honored principles that will surely lead you into ever-increasing levels of personal growth and goal achievement. More than 1.5 million people have participated in my personal growth courses in sixty-five nations, and what I'm offering you now is what has worked so well for them.

At this very moment, it's the level of your desire for life's richness that will determine the results you enjoy from reading these chapters.

It's not enough to simply read this book. The book must be experienced. I'll continually challenge you to spend whatever time you need on each chapter — practicing the suggestions that I'll share with you.

With a sincere desire plus application, you'll soon begin to enjoy expanded success — on and off your job.

That's my promise to you.

Why Do You Work?

Why do you do what you do? Which of the following career views is yours?

  • "It's spending eight hours at my job."
  • "It's doing a good job."
  • "It's creating value for internal and external customers."

Each of these career views results from a choice you've made. This choice predetermines your job satisfaction, compensation, and success level. The cause, your career choice, is inseparable from the effect, your personal degree of success. Every choice ultimately produces a predictable result.

Why You Succeed

Here's a success secret that many people don't know...or practice. They don't practice it because it runs counter to our self- focused human nature. Yet this ageless principle is unerring in its results. It always works in a paradoxical way. Here's the secret: Your success is the by-product of the value you create for others. Your actual level of success is then measured by the amount of benefits you create for the most people.

Are you disappointed with my advice? Or excited? Will you quickly dismiss it as too simplistic, or will you see it for the wisdom it contains? If, indeed, you do understand the common sense of this eternal success principle, and if it's consistent with your values, then you're ready for this book. In the pages that follow, I'll serve as your guide and lead you through a series of thinking patterns, actions, beliefs, and behaviors that will surely elevate you to in- creased levels of success and personal growth...if you make them your own and practice them in your daily life.

Your Two Life Directions

The truth is painfully simple...and paradoxical. We — individuals and organizations — have two basic life directions that influence our career success and personal happiness. One is to focus on ourselves, get what we can get, and keep all we can keep. The other is to focus on others and to create as much value for them as we can, knowing that we'll be compensated, rewarded, or respected according to the amount of value we create.

Think about these two life and business views a moment. One is driven by our natural, human, ego-focus. The other evolves from an external, outer, success-oriented focus. As you begin this book, take a few moments to review the Integrity Service Values and Ethics mentioned at the beginning of it. After reading them, ask yourself these questions:

  • If the people in an organization practiced them, would that company be more profitable? a great place in which to work? ensured of its successful future? trusted and respected?
  • If an individual faithfully practiced them, would he or she be more successful? more valuable to his or her organization? happier and more personally fulfilled? more highly compensated?

If your answer to these questions is "yes," then your values are in line with the success principles of this book. You'll discover that it lays out for you a road map for your personal success with

  • external customers,
  • internal associates,
  • friends,
  • family members, and
  • relationships.

Practicing these values-driven principles in your real-life experiences will put you into the free-flowing stream of personal and career success, happiness, and self-fulfillment. This state only comes as a result of serendipity — the gift of accidentally discovering good and valuable things in unexpected ways. When you make your goal or aim to serve others, you'll dis- cover riches that otherwise would have been hidden from you. Success is the by-product of practicing time-proven, customer- focused behaviors that I'll share with you. Let's begin at the beginning.

A Customer-Focused Individual

Start by defining your job as helping your organization:

  • 1. Get and keep satisfied, loyal customers.
  • 2. Get and keep satisfied, loyal employees.
  • 3. Enjoy growth and profitability.

To the degree that you have this view of your job and make these your overall goals, you'll enjoy the elusive rewards of per- sonal growth, high self-esteem, and increased value to your organization.

A Customer-Focused Organization

Organizations are made up of people. Organizational effectiveness results to the degree that these people can work together in a spirit of unity and harmony toward a common goal. Many organizations miss this point.

Billions of dollars are spent on organizational development. Even more billions are spent on reorganization after reorganization, driven by the assumption that once the company finds the right organizational strategy, everything will be great. So, when it isn't great, what do companies do? They call in new consultants and go through yet another reorganization.

While the proper organizational structure is important, many managers overlook a more important issue — their people. Often their people feel like mere numbers, inanimate statistical units that are passed around, handed off, and in many cases made to feel paranoid and insecure. Even in the largest of organizations, it's the development and uniting of people that get the least attention and budget, and too many organizations pay the price of this oversight.

Managers don't harness their people's energies and creativity. They can, though, by developing a customer-focused organization. This gives people a common vision that transcends their own self-focus. Take a look at the following "Customer-Focused Organizations" model. Let me explain the model.

  • 1. The purpose of any organization is to serve its owners or stake-holders with growth and profitability. To do this, the organization must get and keep loyal, profitable customers and loyal, productive employees.
  • 2. The point of contact includes anyone who touches customers.
  • 3. The pillars of the organization are the people and systems that make up the different departments and divisions. They must view their jobs as supporting those who touch customers.
  • 4. The foundation is the company's mission, vision, and core values.

Organizations achieve their growth and profitability goals to the extent to which everyone works together, synergistically, to help get and keep loyal customers and employees. A few years ago the Harvard Business Review published an article called "Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work." The service-profit chain established the links in the chain that lead to growth and profitability. Here are the separate links:

  • Growth and profitability are driven by
  • Customer loyalty, which comes from
  • Customer satisfaction, which is driven by
  • Value provided to customers, which comes from
  • Employee productivity, which is driven by
  • Employee loyalty, which is caused by
  • Employee satisfaction, which is driven by
  • Internal quality, which is a result of
  • Leadership.

The study points out the sequence that leads to growth and profitability. It also makes the point that a "chain is only as strong as its weakest link." This means that all the links must be healthy in order for an organization to be vital and productive. Examine each of these links, and you'll see that it must be valued before it can be actualized into strategies or results. You'll also notice that some of the links are overlooked in the allocation of training budgets and importance to senior managers. It's people who do all this. So here's where you come in, and where you establish your individual value. Your worth to your organization will be determined by the extent to which you know these factors:

  • 1. Who your customers are.
  • 2. What their unique needs are.
  • 3. Why they choose to do business with you.
  • 4. What unique value you give them that they can't get elsewhere.
  • 5. How well your role creates value for customers or supports the people who directly touch customers.

How well you understand these five elements will determine your value to your organization, as well as the compensation or rewards you enjoy.

It is my hope that this book will help you discover the path to greater fulfillment and success — on and off your job.

By following the Action Guides that I'll share with you, you'll make larger and larger deposits into the bank account of value that you've created for others. The balance of this account, as it exceeds your withdrawals, will pay you compounded interest many times over. The wealth of value delivered to others will then serve you by causing greater self-respect, respect from others, and a reputation for integrity, responsibility, and compassion — and, along the way, increased compensation or other rewards.

What You'll Learn in This Book

You'll learn several models and communication principles. First is the G. Val Hi complete customer communication model. G. Val Hi stands for these steps:

  • Greet customers
  • Value customers
  • Ask how to help customers
  • Listen to customers
  • Help customers
  • Invite customers back

We'll weave this system through all the other chapters in this book.

Rules for Using the System

How you use this system is important.

  • 1. Totally focus on the person.
  • 2. Complete each step before going to the next one.
  • 3. Never jump to a step without completing the previous ones.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Simple, maybe, but just go out and analyze ten contacts with service people and see if they do more than two or three of these steps. When you consciously complete each of these steps, you'll give people a better experience than they receive in most other places.

You'll learn a four-step problem-solving process, shown in the following "Problem-Solving Formula."

You'll find applying this simple, logical process, complete with Action Guides, will assist you in enjoying successful outcomes.

Since so much of your success involves communicating with people, you'll also learn and apply a simple behavioral style language. You'll learn how to unconsciously adapt your natural style to fit those of other people. You'll understand and communicate with them most effectively. It's all there in Chapter 3.

This book will also help you with other customer-focused and personal-growth models for you to apply in your everyday role. But let's get to the real issue.

It Gets Down to Who You Are, Not Just What You Know

To achieve your maximum success with internal and external customers, it really gets down to who you are! Good customer service isn't just a strategy or even a matter of following a set of rules. There are deeper causes that drive successful behaviors.

Let's think of these three causal levels:

1. What you know.

2. How you handle your emotions.

3. What beliefs, values, and ethical principles guide you.

This book differs from almost any other customer service book in that it deals with all three of the above levels — not just superficial, surface ones. It'll show you how to practice effective success strategies, how to handle your emotional responses, and how to clarify and access the deeper, underlying values, beliefs, and ethical principles that drive your success.

We'll learn about the three parts of you — or, rather, the three parts that make up the one you — the intellectual, emotional, and creative/unconscious, in Chapter 1.

By practicing the suggestions in each chapter, you'll develop the strengths that will ensure your success.

What's Different About This Book?

There are enough customer service books published to make all the people who serve customers totally perfect — which of course they aren't! So why does the world need another? Most books deal with very surface-level behaviors: Do this. Don't do that. Paint a plastic smile on your face. That is clearly not the answer.

The problem is that as people we don't always practice what we know. Our actual behaviors are motivated by who we are — our values, beliefs, views of our own possibilities, feelings of worthiness, and other internal factors.

This book goes much deeper — into the real causes of success on and off the job. But you won't get them simply by reading. You'll grow inside this way:

  • Learning concepts
  • + Applying them in your life
  • = Enjoying personal growth

It's your personal growth that will help you advance. It's more who you are than what you know.

Results Are What Count

My organization, Integrity Systems, receives feedback from all over the world about the results individuals and organizations enjoy from our unique developmental processes. Following are a few results of practicing the concepts that have been reported to us.

Employee turnover at the Tennessee Valley Region of the American Red Cross dropped from 80.4 to 26.5 percent in its Hospital Services Division. In its Blood Collection Division, em- ployee turnover dropped from 40.9 to 22.7 percent. In the Central Plains Region of American Red Cross, employee turnover dropped from 48 to 25 percent. The Penn-Jersey Region reported the achievement of its blood collection goal for the first time in eight years, increasing collections by 8.2 percent.

Princor Financial Services, a member of the Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa, showed a 35 percent increase in overall customer effectiveness and a 32 percent increase in providing service beyond customer expectations.

Price Chopper, a supermarket chain headquartered in Schenectady, New York, reported an increase in customer service effectiveness of 21.96 percent and decreased employee turnover of 79 percent. These numbers are astounding.

Arvida, the giant home-building company based in Boca Raton, Florida, increased referral business 14.2 percent and enjoyed an increase in customer satisfaction of 25.7 percent.

The Southern Company (Georgia Power, Alabama Power, Mississippi Power) reported an increase in service level from 64.0 to 83.8 percent. Its consumer value increased from 61.6 to 65.1 percent. Georgia Power's internal service scores rose from 4.0 to 5.6 after they implemented our service program.

A chain of credit unions reported that teller error was reduced 40 percent.

UCLA Medical Center reported moving from the 28th percentile, compared with the other academic medical centers, to the 78th percentile, according to the Picker Patient Satisfaction Survey.

The Richardson Regional Medical Center went from being last among eleven Baylor facilities to maintaining a top ranking in patient satisfaction.

What about individual people?

Charles Wilcox, Executive Director of the Tennessee Valley Region of the American Red Cross, summed it up well: "We have already seen a difference in the teamwork between departments, better understanding between people, and greater appreciation for how each of us helps make each other's job possible."

In a manner that's typical of individuals in all organizations with whom we work, the people at Norway Savings Bank in Maine described their individual benefits like this: "More self- confidence." "Willingness to take more responsibility." "More friendly." "Happier." "Personal growth." "Goal oriented." "Improved listening skills." "More at ease with each other." "Better team players." "Better self-esteem." "More energetic." "Not placing blame." "Increased ability to cope with stress."

In addition to their reported personal benefits, we hear even more profound results: Job advancement. Mended marriages. Repaired personal relationships. Commitment to getting help with substance abuse or addiction problems that had been unaddressed.

People grow: They become more successful, enjoy life more, reach higher goals, and discover new talents and abilities.

HOW TO GAIN THE MOST FROM THIS BOOK

This book is to be experienced, not just read. To do that, please consider these suggestions.

  • Read and then review a chapter as often as necessary, maybe even several times for a week.
  • Don't hesitate to underline, highlight, and make action notes in the margins.
  • Assess your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors each week, using the Self-Assessment guide at the end of each chapter.
  • Practice the Action Guides in your everyday life-both at and away from the job.
  • Evaluate your practice at the end of each day in the Daily Suc- cess Diary pages at the end of each chapter
  • Go to the next chapter the next week.
  • Don't just breeze through the book and put it aside. After reading all twelve chapters, reread those sections that you may still be a bit hazy about.

By following these suggestions, you'll continually learn, grow, and get better. You'll find that the more you learn, the more you'll learn what there is to learn! Success-oriented people always discover that the room for growth expands as they move further into success.

One more thing: What you'll learn in this book can be experientially learned on many levels. Although the concepts are fairly simple, it's in the application that we discover their profound nature and that the actual benefits happen.

As you sincerely practice the principles of this book, the invio- lable law of reciprocity will increasingly shower you with many benefits, guaranteeing your success in your career, your relationships, and — most important — with yourself.

You'll discover in the crucible of your life experiences an emotional understanding of an old Hindu proverb: Those who give have all things; those who withhold have nothing.

Copyright © 2005 by Ron Willingham

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Table of Contents

Contents

Integrity Service Values and Ethics

Introduction: This Book Is About Your Success

1. Pursue Integrity

Do the Right Thing Because It's the Right Thing to Do

2. Greet Customers

Put People at Ease and Make Them Feel Important

3. Identify Purpose

Choose What to Do with Your Life

4. Value Customers

View Everyone as a Creative Person Who Enriches Your Life

5. Solve Problems

Increase Your Success by Solving Larger Problems

6. Ask How to Help Customers

Find Out What Needs People Have That You Can Help Them Fill

7. Assume Responsibility

Make and Keep Commitments That Get Results

8. Listen to Customers

Understand Who People Are and How They Think

9. Practice Teamwork

Multiply Your Own Personal Power

10. Help Customers

Create Extra Value for People

11. Set Goals

Expand Your Future Success and Fulfillment

12. Invite Customers Back

Cause People to Feel Good About Their Contact with You

Afterword

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