Today’s post is the featured article from the April 2013 issue of The Front Porch Newsletter. If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription

john-newWhen was the last time you received truly genuine service? I’m not talking about the mechanical or scripted service that has become so common in places where service exists at all. You know when you have been “servicized” by someone. They are following the process, the methodology … the script.

Genuine service is not a process. It is a human connection.

Even if it’s for only a moment … it is a moment of truth. And it is about fully being in that moment. I recently experienced some incredible service while speaking for a national conference at the “W” Hotel at Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. I had arrived quite early to set-up and get settled long before the participants arrived. Over the course of the next 30-minutes, four of the “W” staff created a moment of truth with incredible service. Each introduced themselves and, with eye-to-eye connection, told me their role and sincerely inquired if they could do anything to help me. I had a couple requests to which they seemed glad I did. Not only did my request not feel like an inconvenience, they made me feel like it gave them the opportunity to do what they wanted to do … to serve me.

A culture of genuine service costs an organization nothing. Yet it changes everything … for everyone. I remember, in high school, I worked for a grocery store in Memphis called Pic-Pac. There were days I really enjoyed showing up. But, I must admit, there were days I really didn’t want to show-up at all. I could easily sense the days I didn’t want to be there and always had a plan to alter that perspective. I intentionally made an extra effort to smile, give eye-to-eye contact and serve every customer that was coming through my check-out line. It never failed … within 30-minutes of punching the clock I was thoroughly enjoying being there.

Genuine service serves the server as well as the served.

You might say it goes full circle. A process or methodology to “servicize” someone rarely goes anywhere … or serves anyone. Genuine service is not a step. It is an expression. It is a desire that is expressed from the core of the server. The most sophisticated methodology of service, executed well, will always fall flat when it is disconnected from the core of the server.

Genuine service is a matter of our core. Not a core process, but a core value. The more aware and connected an individual becomes to their core values, the more likely they are to create an authentic experience of service. Our core values become the driver for each moment of truth. Each serviceable situation becomes an opportunity to express something that is at our core.

Yet, we can’t express what we are specifically unaware of.

Unfortunately, it seems, most people don’t know the specifics of their core values. It is, therefore, no surprise that I continually hear people complaining about the lack of service they receive “these days” … or the expression of complete wonder when they happen to stumble upon genuine service as if it were a precious stone of some kind.

Service is precious, but it shouldn’t be rare.

Genuine service is not what you do to someone. It is about what you do with someone. It can only originate from who you are. Processes, procedures, a fake smile and artificial energy will never create genuine service. It will, at best, create an efficient, yet not effective, transaction.

We are wired for service if we connect the wires. Processes and methodologies get better by working on processes and methodologies. Genuine service only happens by working on the core … your personal core.

I can’t tell you that the incredible service I received at the “W” hotel was the result of each staff member being connected to their core. I wish I had called them out on it. I know it was somewhat part of a process because each staff member approached me in precisely the same way. What I do know, had it been wired directly to their core, it would have gone from incredible to incredibly genuine. And that would have been … priceless!

It’s time to wire-up for genuine service. It serves everyone well when we do.