People loved watching Downton Abbey for a reason. There was something magical about following the Grantham’s family from the early 1900s and watching the transition from the Edwardian era to World War I.
The important part of the series was the change in the British aristocracy. Changes in society brought them closer to the working class and forced them to recognize the importance of hard work.
But although Downton Abbey guides us through the stormy times of change, it also proves that there is one thing that did not change since then: the value of extraordinary customer service.
The Grantham’s family hires the best employees who are proud of being in service. Although the family struggles with financial problems and personal dramas, their employees' performance is always top-notch.
Here’s what we could learn from Mr. Carson’s team about exceptional customer service.
Hire people who will take pride in what they do
The most important part of being a manager or supervisor is to understand that you are not able to force people to do the awesome job. You can give them guidance, train them and work on their job performance, but if they are not motivated to make the best out of them, they will not be able to do that.
That’s why it’s so important to hire people who will be proud of what they do.
Motivation is the spark that makes people want to do their job in the best possible way. Motivated employees have the willingness to do the job more effectively and efficiently, work faster and are more satisfied with their job.
A good example of how a lack of motivation can influence work performance is Thomas Barrow, a Downton Abbey’s valet.
Thomas is a very ambitious individual who doesn’t like the job he does and is not even trying to find its good sides. In the end, his job performance only gets worse over time, his colleagues no longer like him and employers discontinue to trust him.
A solid training is the foundation of great customer service
Every new Downton Abbey employee is taken under the wing of the most senior servant. It’s a great way to minimize the impact of hiring a new person to provide customer service.
Customer service training has lots of benefits. It improves employees’ knowledge and skill set boosts their confidence and morale and increases motivation and engagement.
Last but not least, it helps senior staff feel important and recognized.
Develop good relationships
Motivation and work engagement are inseparable from a good relationship at work. As long as we enjoy working with our colleagues, we like our job and we find joy in everyday tasks.
Maintaining good relationships at work translates into mutual trust, respect and open communication.
But it doesn’t only work for co-workers, it also applies to customers themselves. Do you remember Lady Mary’s unfortunate sex affair with Turkish diplomat? If there were no trust between her and her maid, she probably wouldn’t ask Anna to help her move Pamuk’s dead body to his room.
I know that it’s an extreme example of customer service problem-solving, but how successful at the same time!
Stay cool under pressure
This is a very important quality of remarkable customer service. Regardless of what is going on in their personal life, a professional customer service agent never shows their emotions in front of a customer.
Customer experience is an emotional experience. Positive emotions from staff are contagious to a customer, but the same goes for the negative ones. If an agent feels fear, sadness, anger or frustration, it might happen that they will unconsciously vent it on a customer and turn good customer experience into a bad one.
Do you remember how Countess Violet has described her butler?
Typical Spratt. He's as touchy as a beauty losing her looks.
So, unless you want your customers to be dissatisfied with your agent's’ performance, you should encourage them to hide negative emotions. The customer is not always right, but we need to make our best to satisfy their needs.
It’s all about hard, hard work
Downton Abbey’s staff has a massive amount of behind-the-scenes labor that is never seen by the Grantham family. Before the family gets down to the dining room, the staff makes breakfast, starts a fire in the library, prepare clothing and accessories.
The best thing in this perfect customer service experience is that it seem effortless. Everything seems to be perfectly organized and if there is anything that gets out of control – the family never gets to know about it.
The power of exceptional customer service
Downton Abbey proves that no matter what era, the rules of great customer service remain the same.
We know that great customer service translates into customer happiness, but it also tells us something more about it: that every member of the staff is involved in making overall customer experience. Even if they aren’t directly involved in contact with customers.
It also teaches us that if you create a workplace that appreciates employees and lets them feel like family, you will more likely build loyalty, engagement and you will motivate them to make the best out of them.
So although Downton Abbey tells us a story of 1900 customers, in fact, it’s a story about timeless traits that they will always value: self-control, good work ethics, and diligence.
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