September 9th, 2021

TJ Kastning

The customer experience will not improve if the customer service department feels leadership has failed them. 

Improving as a leader doesn’t mean you are a perfect leader, quite the opposite. Great culture shines amid conflict. It is how you, as the leader, respond to that conflict that builds the trust within the company. 

Take your friend group, for example. All of your longest friends have seen you at your most human moments. They’ve seen you hurt, mad, sad, elated, proud, etc. they’ve seen you rise through your conflict and push forward. Your organization needs to see and feel that as well.  

A conversation about improving leadership is far easier said than done, especially because it is up to the leaders to recognize the problems within themselves and modify their leadership styles accordingly. It’s also far easier for the entire company to blame the leadership for company failures.

It’s up to the leaders to first have the ability to navigate through constructive criticism and outright finger-pointing. This alone is difficult to navigate because the remaining objective in a subjective world is nearly impossible as a leader (or human in general). Constant self-reflection is usually the most helpful tool, but even that is an over-simplification. 

Leadership is a complex role with no clear overarching rules or guidelines, but when it’s clear leadership causes downfalls in the customer experience, something has to be done. 


Customer service is a crucial facet of the company. This department has direct access to often the most unhappy customers. Regardless of the reasoning, it is important to consistently adjust and improve leadership tactics. 

Here are a few approaches leaders have exemplified with promising results:

  1. Be Humble: 
    1. You can’t have anything good or right in business without being humble. You have to be humble enough to remove all pride from your work and remain impartial in all decision-making. 
  2. Accountability: 
    1. Employees treat customers better when customer satisfaction plays a role in their performance assessment. Therefore, making employee satisfaction a role in your performance assessment gives employees greater incentive to do the same. 
  3. Customer-Focused/Culture-Minded: 
    1. There isn’t a company out there that would admit they aren’t customer-focused. The most efficient way to do this is by shifting that focus toward your employees to build a culture they trust. If happy customers are your end goal, culture should be your first. 
  4. Inclusivity: 
    1. Remain open to all ideas. People want to feel heard. If they don’t feel heard, they won’t feel valued. 

At the risk of over-simplifying again, these four tactics aren’t the only answers or even the right answers, but they serve as pillars for leaders to create their own methods of improvement. 

If you want your customer service to express these key characteristics, the best way to implement them is by showing them that you embody those same characteristics. Constantly preaching your idea of culture but not fully embracing that idea in your everyday life will never translate to your business, which will be abundantly clear to your customers. 

Employees who feel this reciprocated via company leadership are customer service that takes care of their customers’ every want and needs. It’s up to company leadership to figure out these wants and needs with inclusive, humbling meetings/events where employees feel comfortable sharing those needs.