By Michelle Golden - I didn't get past the first bullet-point of Guy Kawasaki's "The Art of Customer Service" without needing to post this immediately:
1. Start at the top. The CEO's attitude towards customer service is the primary determinant of the quality of service that a company delivers. If the CEO thinks that customers are a pain in the ass who always want something for nothing, that attitude will permeate the company, and service will be lousy. So if you are the CEO, get your act together. If you're not the CEO, either convince her to change her mind, quit, or learn to live with mediocrity--in that order.
When I think of leadership faltering, this is the most prevalent thing I see. In every industry. But definitely in professional services.
It bears repeating: "The CEO's attitude towards customer service is the primary determinant of the quality of service that a company delivers."
In firms, though, it's not just the Managing Partner. It's every partner/owner/shareholder/director, etc. Every partner has been tagged a leader. As such, each partner's behavior is equally influential throughout the firm when it comes to setting the tone of "acceptability" for service attitude.
If your firm has "leaders" who think less than stellar service is just fine, even if there are some others devoted to excellence, the firm's standards will never exceed mediocrity overall.
Now, I'll go back and read the rest of Guy's post! If there's more that moves me, I'm sure I'll be posting about that, too.