Serve Customers Like Madiba (Part 2)

Last week I sent you the first 8 success habits that built his aura and success and I have already had wonderful comments from some of your colleagues who have taken the risk and started implementing them. 

Here are the second 8. Once again, I would encourage you to read the next 8 and then take half an hour per day to brainstorm how you can practise these success habits in dealing with your staff. Then, once they become a habit for you as a leader, expose your staff to them and brainstorm how they could be incorporated into the way they serve your customers.

  1. Agree on and live your values – Madiba believed that character is greater than strategy. Your guests should sense a consistency of principles from all who serve them. These values will guide all concerned in tough situations. Earn the buy-in of your staff by involving them in the process and demonstrating your trust by allowing them to speak their minds safely and to give honest feedback.
  2. Humility inspires, arrogance destroys – Madiba had a deep understanding of his strengths and weaknesses, and admitted when he was wrong. If you think apologizing to those you work with is a sign of weakness, you may have missed the greatest wisdom from Madiba. Humility strengthens bonds and inspires your staff to do the same with guests.
  3. Preach the Gospel, using words only when necessary – Lead by example and inspire possibility in the minds of your staff, rather than telling them what to do. This was a wonderful trait of the great man. He did what he expected staff to do and left a lasting and inspirational impression.
  4. A thirst for knowledge – Madiba studied and encouraged others to uplift themselves through education. He also studied his opponents and thought deeply about how to liberate white people from their fears in the new South Africa. Can we encourage our staff to empower themselves through education and knowledge and assist them with this?
  5. Lead from behind – Madiba believed that everybody had something to bring to the table and should be heard. He only spoke after everyone else and then sought consensus. Imagine if you could make your staff feel like shareholders in the service levels of your business, and they feel heard and recognised for the value they bring to the table.
  6. Life’s paradox – Madiba accepted that life is a mix of hope and hopelessness, success and failure, etc. You can emulate his example by confronting the toughest difficulties with your actions, while sustaining the hope that victory will eventually come. As he did, keep your eye on the prize.
  7. Surprise opponents by believing in them – How tough is this trait of Madiba’s? Accept, and help your staff to accept, that there will always be those who disagree with what we offer. Create a culture of not trying to silence these voices, but looking for the common ground and positive points in their point of view and acknowledging their strengths. There is good in all people. Copy Madiba by transforming mistrust into mutual respect in your business dealings.
  8. Celebrate life – Come up with ways of celebrating the lives of the people we are privileged to serve. How can we honour our guests?

This is your unique opportunity to dramatically improve how many of your customers become your promoters!

  1. I have developed a talk and a one-day workshop to give you more in-depth training on this customer service philosophy. It includes templates to guide you through the steps, as well as some wonderful stories from those who have already taken the step to give Customer Service Madiba Style.

Are you a game changer? Will you be held up in tourism as an example of someone who displayed inspiring qualities in extraordinary ways, and led by example? Will you change the hearts of people and inspire hope?

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