Job Satisfaction Comes From Purpose
By ANDREA KAY
Nothing would make me more grateful than to meet a truly caring employee from our cable company who would help us solve the problems we’ve had for months.
I’d gladly buy the person lunch. If only someone would stop playing cover-their-butt games and find a solution.
The uncaring so far — customer-service representatives, supervisors, even a vice president — are more interested in passing on the problem to someone else.
“I’m just the dispatcher,” yesterday’s pass-the-buckster told me.
“No one else has ever had this problem before,” the VP told me then ended the call with “Have a nice day!”
At every level, each person dutifully checks off their customer service goals:
1. Be sure to say, “We appreciate your business”
2. Always ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” and
3. Tell the customer to have a nice day (even though it’s 9:30 at night).
But nothing gets solved.
It’s no wonder so many workers from all industries come to me with this complaint: Why is my work so unfulfilling? How can I have more meaning in my work? How can I be more appreciated?
Well here’s an idea.
Choose to have a purpose for the work you do — not just goals.
While “goals and metrics are essential for achieving success, too often they are established without a clear sense of purpose,” says Chief Executive Mark Samuel in his book “Making Yourself Indispensable: The Power of Personal Accountability.”
“Goals without a purpose behind them will generally create an ‘empty’ feeling of going through the motions,” he says.
But Samuel says making the choice between being purpose driven or goal driven “has the highest correlation to success, indispensability and personal fulfillment.”
Whether your company sets goals to achieve customer satisfaction, sales or quality every day, “It becomes about being busy and doing what we are told rather than about making a meaningful difference,” he says. There’s no clear sense of purpose.
And that’s why customers like me get what he calls an “empty experience devoid of the care, consideration and empathy that make up true customer service.”
Not to mention no resolution.
But if you are purpose driven, you are dedicated and “in that dedication, you will go beyond satisfactory performance or acceptable communication to achieve excellent results.”
“If you have a purpose of customer satisfaction, it won’t be the checklist that is most important. It will be your care, concern, and dedication to serving your customer that drives your communication, behavior and actions. You will go out of your way to serve your customer because that is your purpose.” That adds up to more personal fulfillment, appreciation and yes, even becoming indispensable at your job.
It starts with personal accountability, which as Samuel points out, is a life value and competency for success.
What is so hard about that, and why aren’t more workers personally accountable?
You may be fearful that if you’re accountable you’ll get blamed if something goes wrong — or if you take a risk, a mistake could happen.
You might fear success, Samuel says. If you are more successful, then you’ll need to meet higher standards. What if you can’t handle these expectations?
It takes courage to be accountable.
“You don’t cover up. You don’t escape. You don’t pretend. You don’t censure or play CYA games,” he says. “You boldly admit what doesn’t work, and you trust that you have the strength and resources to eventually find solutions.”
You also end up with grateful customers who keep your company going and much more fulfilling days at the office.
Instead of focusing on a bunch of meaningless drivel, when you care, everyone really does have a nicer day.
Andrea Kay is the author of “Life’s a Bitch and Then You Change Careers: 9 Steps to Get Out of Your Funk & On to Your Future.” Send questions to her at 2692 Madison Road, No. 133, Cincinnati, Ohio 45208; www.andreakay.com orwww.lifesabitchchangecareers.com. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org.