I once read an article in American Way magazine while on a flight from New York to Texas… It was an article written by the president of American Airlines. He had written about one of his pet peeves being accessibility. He said, “If people can’t get a hold of me, I am literally dead.” His pet peeve mirrored my own perspective with regards to providing superior service as an organization. You cannot interact efficiently and effectively if there is no sense of urgency around accessibility and responsiveness.
We have all known those who have made excuses for their late arrivals, or lack of follow-through. Oftentimes, I am amazed at how creative people can get to excuse their lack of punctuality, accessibility, or follow-through. Wouldn’t it be easier to just deliver on what you took the time to commit to? Of course, it would.
Like superior customer service, accessibility and responsiveness are optimally an inside-out experience. It’s cultural and contagious in either direction. That is why it is imperative for leaders within an organization to establish the importance of accessibility by simply leading by example. And by that, I mean, get rid of the “I am above it all” leadership style and instead set behavioral and attitudinal expectations.
I have friends who when working at Dell, had conference calls where Michael Dell would randomly show-up on the call. As part of the up-front acknowledgement as everyone signed into the call, they had to announce their employee number. To everyone’s surprise, Dell would introduce himself as “employee one.”
Dell understands that if you want to set an example of involvement and participation, it starts at the top… The very top! He realized that if he expected his personnel to work long and hard, then it began and ended with him, no exceptions.
If a multibillionaire like Michael Dell can make time to attend routine calls to ensure the presence of a higher level of cultural accessibility within the organization—then as a leader, so can you. From what I have observed and lived, the best service companies are easily accessible, easy to work with, and have a sense of urgency around delivering to their valued customers. All the time! No exceptions!