Did you watch the Super bowl? Did your team win? Whether you watched it or not, it was a great display of talent, competitiveness and endurance. After the Philadelphia Eagles hoisted the Lombardi trophy, Tight End Zach Ertz was asked what made this Eagle team so special. His answer was that they love to practice. What a great reminder that the way you win is not what happens in one moment, but what happens and how you prepare over many moments. It is in daily meetings, weight lifting sessions, practice squads and dissecting game tape that the players improve on those small tweaks to separate them from the rest of the NFL pack to win their first Super Bowl.
How much practice does it actually take to be perfect? In his book, Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell discussed that you need to deliberately practice a skill for 10,000 hours before you become an expert. This theory is based on a study by Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson and seems fairly logical…the more you practice the more you know about the topic and can identify trends that will lead to better execution.
Do you think you’ve accumulated over 10,000 hours in the study of customer service? To put it in perspective, a typical 40 hour work week equates to 2,080 work hours in a year. So, based on this equation, it would take you 4.8 years of practice to be a customer service expert. That doesn’t account for vacations or other disciplines you are learning within your role.
This concept isn’t new, of course, but it is easy to get distracted or become overly confident in your customer service abilities. Before you know it, others including competitors and co-workers, may move past you, or your customer’s expectations have moved beyond your expertise. What worked well in supporting your clients in the past may not be the same solution going forward.
What can you do today to prepare for your next “moment”? Is there a person in your office who you have been meaning to connect with and leverage their role to better serve your clients? What about a software tool that you realize you should know better than you do today in order to better support your clients, but haven’t taken the time to play around with it or ask a colleague for assistance? Do you take time to read new practices and research on customer service? Have you simply reached out to your clients and asked for honest feedback on your support and services? Don’t wait for time to free up on your calendar. Nothing is more important than actively practicing the art of great service. Practice does make perfect. Just ask all those Eagles fans out there…even against a dynasty like the Patriots.