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Class is in Session: Service Behaviors

service behaviors checklistThe secretary at our children’s elementary school is fabulous.  I mean fabulous.  Everyone raves about her.

“Why”, you ask?  

Well, it is hard to say exactly.  Here’s what I CAN tell you:

  • I can give you several examples of her going way beyond what was ever expected of her.
  • She calls each and every student and parent by name. Even my husband who has come in contact with her maybe 3 times in the last 6 years (he is actually sometimes weirded out by her ability to remember his name…weirded out in a good way, of course).
  • My experiences with her have led me to absolutely trust her—and trust that she will take care of my children and whatever issue or request is presented to her (i.e. Please let Ellie know that she will be a bus rider today; I will be there at 11:30 to pick up Colin for a doctor’s appointment; Will you please send home another field trip permission slip—I seemed to have misplaced mine).
  • She is unbelievably responsive.
  • She is consistently positive.
  • She is very aware of what is happening around her and takes the initiative to solve problems and please her customers (Zachary forgot his lunch—that’s OK, we have a slush fund so you can buy today).

Well, OK, maybe it’s not so hard to realize why she is so wonderful.  There are several more examples and myriad more reasons.  I couldn’t pinpoint just one reason when I thought about it. However, this brief combined list of service behaviors—basically her approach and mindset—are what make every experience with her exceptional.

As I experienced another great interaction with her this morning, I was thinking about how she got to be this way…about how she personally affects those around her…about how THIS is EXACTLY the kind of service behavior and skills we are trying to develop in our clients.  She sets the tone for the school—a positive, “can do”, energetic, yet warm tone that resonates throughout the building, the staff, the students and to the parents.  

Read the list above again…now think of her as an employee.  Think of her as your employee:

  • Goes above and beyond expectations—CHECK!
  • Builds a personal connection through names—CHECK!
  • Trustworthy—CHECK!
  • Responsive—CHECK!
  • Positive—CHECK!
  • Takes initiative to solve problems—CHECK!

If your employees exemplified these service behaviors:

Would your job be easier?

Would your customers be delighted?

Would your organization likely profit?


The service behaviors above are ones that are hard to communicate on a resume.  Yet, every day she exemplifies them—expertly towing the line between enforcing school policies and making parents and students feel like valued customers.  My teacher-friends say the same of her.  She represents the office of the principal so sometimes there is conflict between the teachers and the principal, as is natural in any leader/sub-ordinate relationship.  However, consciously or subconsciously, she knows that the teachers are her customers too.  She supports them and makes them feel valued so they can concentrate on their role: providing quality education for our children.

Do YOUR employees exemplify service behaviors that support each other and make their internal customers (co-workers) feel valued so they can concentrate on their role in your organization?

Surely you have interacted with several people recently who have consistently offered great service—a coach, a teacher, the lady at the grocery store, your accountant.  If so, post your experience below!