What do Olympic Gymnasts and Customer Service have in Common?

As I watched USA’s “Fab Five” (women’s gymnastics team) win the gold medal in the team competition, it dawned on me that their journey to success is similar to the success of businesses that provide excellent customer service.

Here are the FIVE similarities:

1. Have a positive attitude. The Fab Five began and ended their routines with a smile. Not only that, but they were focused and determined – you could see it on their faces. They didn’t just want to do well, they wanted to win. they constantly supported each other throughout the entire competition with hugs and positive words. 

When customer service reps start with a smile and a positive attitude, customers will naturally feel welcomed and assured. In addition, when the focus is on exceeding customer’s expectations you are guaranteed a gold medal. 

2. Disciplined and committed. The Fab Five did not just wake up gold medalists. Their consistency with their training and dedication is the key to their success. It took many years of discipline and all made personal sacrifices to obtain their ultimate goal.

Successful customer service departments have a track record for their discipline and consistency. They make it a part of their daily routines – in good times and bad – and know that’s what their customer’s come to expect and appreciate.

3. Hire a coach. Every successful athlete has a coach – we all know that. But the best athletes are good at receiving constant feedback and tweaking their technique to reach perfection.

Customer service departments also need coaches like me. Clients count on me for my skills for improving customer service behaviors that will, ultimately, increase their bottom line. In addition, customer service departments that constantly get feedback from their customers are the most profitable. They ask questions like; “What are we doing right? What can we do better? What else would you like us to do?” They take the feedback and, if feasible and appropriate, incorporate them into their daily routine.

4 Set goals. The Fab Five athletes have goals, but more importantly, they know exactly how to achieve them. They know where they need to finish in each competition and which apparatus they need to improve upon and exactly how – thanks to their team of coaches.

Companies that set and share goals with their customer service reps know that motivation and productivity with increase. Because, the rep sees how their job impact the bigger picture – it’s that simple.

5. Passionate and Poised. We’ve seen the extreme emotion as Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the All-Around competition, then was able to win a gold medal in the team co mpetition. Without a passion for the sport, this extreme emotion shift would cause anyone to crumble.

Successful customer service reps need to be passionate about helping people – unselfishly. They need to care about others more than they care about themselves and it takes a special person to demonstrate this. And when a troubling situation arises – like an irate customer – they are able to handle it with calm and poise.

Following the example of the Fab Five, companies will win the gold, and the loyalty, of their customers. Now go out and “Go for the Gold!”

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts.  Share your best ideas, tips and feedback on customer service in the comments below.

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