Three months ago we picked up our Goldendoodle puppy Murphy from a farm just outside of Toronto. At the time, he was a little ball of fur that easily fit on my lap on the ride home. He’s now five months old, weighs 40 pounds and comes up to about thigh height, but still thinks he’s a lap dog. To say I’m in love is an understatement — I might be borderline obsessed with this little big muffin.
It’s crazy how in such a short time he has helped me to grow in so many ways that have also helped me in my work life including my patience, responsibility and focus. Having something love you so unconditionally and rely on you for survival can be overwhelming, but amazing at the same time. Maybe the parents out there are rolling their eyes at me right know, but this is the closest thing I’ve known to this feeling, so back off alright?
Last month we wrote about the 7 Personalization Principles and how implementing them in your organization will help enable your talent, which in turn creates exceptional experiences for your customers that make them stay longer, buy more, and refer others.
Now seriously, why wouldn’t we want to take some customer experience pointers from our four legged friends? After all, dogs are a man’s woman’s best friend, right?
Here are just a few lessons Murphy has taught me about embodying the seven personalization principles:
- Be Authentic – Just like humans, each pet has their own unique personality. The difference between the two is that animals never try to be something they’re not. They have no filter to question if what they’re doing is cool or self-interested, they’re just 100 percent themselves 100 percent of the time. Pure authenticity is the exact opposite of being fake. In both our personal lives and our service, people crave authentic interactions from another human being. So to quote one of my favourite authors Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
- Be Hospitable – Is there anything more hospitable than being greeted at the door with a smile, tail wag and a big slobbery kiss hello? Ok, so maybe if your customer service agent did this you might have to call security, but you get my drift, right? Most pets will do anything to make their people happy. They’re always happy to see you and give you something to look forward to when you come home. Imagine if you could make your customer service this hospitable? You would definitely have customers that wanted to stay longer, buy more and return with others!
- Be Empathetic – It’s crazy how intuitive dogs are to human feelings. This is one reason why they have been used in therapeutic settings for years. Studies have shown a link to pet therapy improving depression, anxiety, as well as speeding up recovery in physically ill patients. About a month after getting Murphy I came down with the flu. This little puppy who was normally bouncing off the walls, laid with my on the couch for hours snuggling while I recovered. In customer service, understanding and sharing the feelings of another human being is imperative. Demonstrating empathy makes your customer feel listened to, heard, and treated the way that they want to be treated.
- Be Committed – I don’t think you need me to tell you that dogs are extremely loyal animals. Their commitment to their people is unwavering in any situation. In service, commitment is an essential personalization principle, because you can be authentic, empathetic, hospitable, competent, fun and friendly, but if you’re not committed then all of the other principles lack efficacy. Being committed means you’re willing to do whatever it takes, no matter what.
- Be Competent – Dogs want nothing more than to please their people. They’re extremely smart animals who are curious and excited to learn. But the kicker here is their owners commitment to teaching, following up, and reinforcing what they have learned. Murphy is only five months and goes to the off leash park, returns on command (most of the time), sits, stays, high fives, shakes, speaks, lays down, dances and rolls over. My husband and I practice tricks with him every day, and are committed to reinforcing his learning. With regards to customer service, it is important for leaders to put their team in a place to win with their customers. If you are a leader, you need to enable your team with skills and development that ensure they have the competency and ability to solve customer problems.
- Be Friendly – Ok, so not every dog is friendly, but neither is every human being. You can’t teach friendliness, you’ve either got it or you don’t! Luckily Murphy is a friendly, lovable goofball, who wants to be friends with every dog he meets. As a customer, why would you ever give your money to a business that has mean, rude, or inhospitable people? Being nice and friendly creates positivity and abundance! Take one from Murph, friendly wins! Rude and mean lose every. single. time.
- Be Fun – Not a day goes by when I don’t have fun with Murphy. Even on days when he’s being a handful, there are always moments of joy. Fun is a serious issue. Do you have fun at work? Do you use humor in your daily interactions? Or do you take yourself too seriously and go through the day with a storm cloud above your head? For the vast majority of us, we have to be at work anyways, so why not make it as fun and fulfilling as possible? There have been all sorts of studies that show the benefits of laughing, humor and the importance of de-stressing stressful situations.
Implementing these seven personalization principles into your workplace and personal interactions will undoubtedly help you to create deep relationships with your colleagues and customers. Working on and developing these principles will enable your team to deliver exceptional results to your customers while learning, growing and having fun along the way.
Now here’s a picture of Murphy, because who can resist clicking on a cute picture of a dog, right? Click bait on point!
Follow all of Murph’s shenanigans on Instagram at @murphy_partidoodle