Walk a mile in my shoes

Delivery of great customer service has more to do with empathy than some glib phrases you have been taught to say.

Topic – Creating ‘sticky’ customer service

Mentor – Jaquie Scammell

  • Thinking you know what someone wants is very different from knowing what they need?
  • Deliver empathy not sympathy
  • Define empathy

Marketing Monday – How to take a planned approach to marketing.


Kevin Turner: My guest in the shows this week is Jaquie Scammell. Jaquie has written a book called Creating A Customer Service Mindset and we can relate that to our industry in particular a little bit about Jaquie before we introduce her. Jaquie has spent most of her career living at the intersection of employee and customer observing how the two relate. She’s a sought after speaker facilitator and coach working with some of the largest global workforces in retail banking and hospitality. Jaquie has managed and advised workforces of all size from small teams to staff to more than nine and a half thousand. Wow that’s some stipend Jaquie. Nine and a half thousand people on staff. That’d be a headache I recon.

Jaquie Scammell: Yeah, there were many headaches Kevin.

Kevin Turner: Yes indeed. Now Jaquie’s book is called Creating A Customer Service Mindset. We’re gonna be picking bits and pieces out of it during the week, but interesting I notice Jaquie … Or first of all, welcome to the show and thank you very much for your time.

Jaquie Scammell: Thanks for having me. Looking forward to it.

Kevin Turner: So am I. Effectively it is adopt a customer service mindset throughout their organisation because they know how valuable it is to build a high performing service culture increasing employee and customer loyalty, in an enhanced team performance, but how do you actually do that Jaquie, question number one?

Jaquie Scammell: Yeah, well we’ve all heard of the saying, “A fish rots from the head.” So I think the most important message in this book around creating a customer service mindset is it really starts with the leaders. If you want a culture in a team or in a business, small teams, large teams, or you’re wanting consistent quality service each day. It’s something that needs to be a belief that can not waver at the top and in the book we unpack six mindsets and really it is about how you adopt a mindset as a leader to continually inspire and influence the people around you to be great at these human interactions, which is what we call customer service in the business world.

Kevin Turner: Empathy plays a big part, and you mention it quite a lot in your book and that’s probably a good place for us to start. You talk about walking a mile in my shoes. Thinking that you know what someone wants is very different from knowing what they need isn’t it?

Jaquie Scammell: Yeah, it sure is. I know from my own experience Kevin, as leaders sometimes we get in our own way a little bit and we’re so busy doing the doing and looking at to do lists and email [inaudible 00:02:34] and people making their urgent stuff our important, but sometimes we just forget to take a step back and really read the person in front of us, the non verbal cues. What’s their facial expression telling us? Their body language. Even their tone of voice and instead of assuming what we think they need and jumping into solutions and answers, really read them and try, and see it from their point of view before we dive into solutions and answers. I had a first hand experience of this in a … I joined a company as a senior executive and like most people when they get into a first job for the first few months you want to impress them and you wanna show people that they’ve made the right decision and the fundamental learning I had was that I’d forgotten what was important to the people I was working with and I’d forgotten why they were there.

They were particularly passionate about this brand that we were working for and I was just to busy getting on with the solutions and the end result that I’d actually forgotten to ask them questions and think about well how might they be looking at this from their point of view. So empathy is absolutely where we start and it’s a skill that we all have. I just think sometimes we forget.

Kevin Turner: Yeah, and this is a great lesson for us in this industry too, ’cause we talk a lot about scripts and dialogues, making sure that all the dialogue is headed in the direction you wanted to go, but when you get so focused on that you tend to miss out on the signs that are coming, that should determine that conversation or where it goes Jaquie.

Jaquie Scammell: That’s right. Sometimes I use a term, “Are you empathy blind,” where we’ve got some blind spots and I recon in the world today there is just so many distractions and business and white noise it’s easy for us to really see the most obvious things in front of this. So something that one of the case studies I did, which I refer to in the book Kevin, is Volkswagen Group Australia, and we know they’ve had their fair shares issues with the initiative scandal back in 2015 and so on and so forth, but they’ve adopted empathy as a mindset by really trying to teach employees in the dealerships and in the offices that this is what it fells like to be treated a certain way. So they’ve really focused on empathy and they’ve used tools such as they’ve got a little book called, The Little Book of Wow, and in this book are simple phrases in plain English that remind staff how to Wow. One of the phrases come back to how do we read people? How do we see the cues and the signs and then when we get that information, what do we do with it?

How do we respond to that accurately? So it’s relevant and authentic to the human that’s having that experience with you.

Kevin Turner: My guest is Jaquie Scammell and the book is called Creating A Customer Service Mindset. It’s available at all good bookstores and where ever you normally go to it’s available online. Just go and google it, Creating A Customer Service Mindset. Jaquie, we’ll come back again tomorrow. We’ll take another portion out of the book and this time we’re gonna talk about slow and steady and how that wins the race. Thanks Jaquie, we’ll talk to you tomorrow morning.

Jaquie Scammell: Thanks Kevin.


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