20 Secrets to Building an Elite Service Team

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“Good talent is hard to find” – too many people say that.

It’s a cop-out – a lame excuse.

Good talent is EVERYWHERE.

It’s just not used correctly.


A lot of companies spend an enormous amount of time and money searching for the most talented individuals (often using a recruiter).

When (if?) they find somebody they like, they pay these people a lot of money, give them some equipment, and wonder why they are ineffective six months down the road.

The problem very likely isn’t the talent – it’s the management.


Building an elite service team isn’t has hard as you may think – you CAN do it, and you probably already have everything you need.

I’ve had great success with building elite service teams over the years, and in this post I give you 20 secrets to building your own elite service team. Members can access all 20, visitors get the first 5.


This is part 1 of 4.

Secret One: You Want More Than Just a Collection Of Talented Individuals

Every person on the team has an important role to the success of the team – every person has value.

Think about sports, on every team there are players with numerous roles, but to be most effective each role has to work together – if they don’t the team won’t succeed, regardless of how much talent the members have.

In fact, success is more often a function of teamwork than it is of talent.

A great example of this is the 2012 Boston Red Sox – a team with the 3rd highest payroll in Major League Baseball ($173 Million).

On paper, the Red Sox looked like a dominant team, with highly paid superstars at almost every position.

Instead, they faced a season of bickering, arguing, and underperformance, and finished the season with one of the worst records in the league.

The problem was, they were a collection of talented individuals, not a team.

The owners and managers made the mistake of thinking that simply putting talented people together would be enough to be successful.

They were wrong.

The same thing is true with your service team. True, you want talented people, but if you don’t build them together as a team, then they won’t work together, and you will fail.


Secret Two: Match Employee Skills And Talents With Their Roles

When an employee fails at a job, chances are that it was a result of him being in a role that just wasn’t suited for him.

A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that all skills can be learned, or that people with above-average talent in one area will be able, given enough training, to adapt to another area – that is generally not the case.

To continue the sports analogy, it may be helpful to think of your favorite sport. I’ll use my two favorites – ice hockey and soccer.

In both sports, there are specialists – offensive players, defensive players, and goaltenders.

Break it down further, and there are players who do better on one side than the other, players who do better in “special” situations, players who thrive when the game is on the line, and players who are better during “the grind” of the regular season¬† – you get the point.

These athletes have specific skills and talents that make them good at what they do, but just because they are athletes doesn’t mean they will fit into another role, no matter how much training they get.

Great offensive players are rarely great defenders, and vice versa – they may be able to “do” it, but they won’t excel, and they won’t be happy.

In fact, the more specialized the team member, the less likely he can adapt to something else.

Your rock star engineer may be able to watch the monitoring dashboard, but he probably won’t do it as well as somebody like Larry

Determine the skills necessary for a particular role, and find employees who fit that role, not the other way around.

Don’t try to jam a square peg into a round hole.


Secret Three: Be Consistent – No Jekyll and Hyde

There’s nothing worse than going into the unexpected. Not knowing how your manager is going to act from day to day is a huge morale killer, and makes going to work a dreadful experience.

If your staff doesn’t know what to expect from you, then they will not trust you.

That doesn’t mean you have to be “Mr. Nice Guy”

If you are a jerk, then at least be a jerk consistently – if nothing else your staff will know what to expect (they’ll probably leave, but that’s a discussion for another post.)

If you are a nice guy, be a nice guy. Don’t go from one extreme to another.

The more consistent you are in your behavior, the more stable the environment will be for your staff.


Secret Four: Develop, Communicate, And Hold Everybody To The Same Standards

You must treat every member of the team exactly the same way – don’t play favorites, and don’t be overly hard on anybody else.

Set standards and expect everybody to meet them. It may be helpful to have the team help define the standards, (everybody works better when they have buy-in).

When the standards are set, make sure everybody on the team fully understands them – make sure they not only understand what the standards are, but that they understand why the standards are important, both to the success of them individually, as well as the success of the organization.

Once the standards are known, hold every team member accountable to those standards – religiously.

If you have a “Golden Child” – a person who you let get away with not following the same standards as the others – he will be resented by the team, and you will be viewed as a poor manager.

If you have somebody on the team who you constantly berate no matter what he does, then YOU will be resented.


Secret Five: Give Them The Tools And Training They Need To Succeed

Even if you hire the smartest, most driven employees on the planet, they will not be successful if you don’t give them the proper tools and training they need to do their job.

They may be able to get by for a little while on sheer effort and determination, but eventually they will burn out, and they will either leave, or they will just do a horrible job.

Neither is good for your business.

It takes more than just highly motivated individuals. Military special forces like the Navy Seals are elite not only because they are talented, but because they have the best tools, and years of training.

Too many companies hire talented employees, and then give them an old computer, little to no training on the systems they are expected to use, (let alone the company they work for), and expect them to be profitable ambassadors for their business.

Over time, as new technology comes out, many employers expect their employees to learn too much on their own, rather than providing a lab, or sending them to training courses; the most motivated employees build labs in their homes, while the majority learn “on the fly”.

It doesn’t work.

Employees are critical assets. At a minimum they should receive:

For equipment:

  • Adequate equipment to do the job – computer, cell phone, aircard, and software for all of it.
  • Company-provided “specialized tools” – network analyzers, cabling tools, etc.
  • Company-provided lab for learning

For training:

  • Training on all company systems
  • Training on company vision, mission, and goals
  • Training on the importance of the employee’s role in meeting the vision, mission, and goals
  • Training on company offerings
  • Training on company competitors

There are many more, but you get the picture.

This concludes part 1 of 4.

On to Part 2


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