At Booster, we genuinely give honoring attention to others. We serve, listen, and lead with hospitality. We love our communities. They know it and they feel it. This service is built into our culture through our company virtues. I believe all our virtues are vital to what we do; but Care stands out because it’s not just WHAT we do or HOW we do it. It is WHO we are.
Before joining Booster, I had 13 years of experience in client-centered jobs. I always made it my goal to ensure that each client’s experience was outstanding. But Booster took that to a whole new level for me, because it was no longer about my individual service. From the Home Office to the Field Team, the entire company puts people at the center of the map.
I’ve served several roles in Booster and during that time I’ve learned and grown through the examples of care shown by my leaders and team. They’ve helped me develop both a mindset and a mission of Care that I hope I can share with others.
Here are 4 ways you can care for your clients:
- Care is constant. My day starts with caring for and thinking about my team and my clients. I ask myself questions like, “Who am I caring for today; what can take off someone’s plate; who’s is struggling; and who needs celebrating?” These are thoughts I walk through internally between checking emails, client visits, and phone calls. But care doesn’t stop once the workday ends. As we head home to our friends or families or even strangers along the way, we continue to care. When I interviewed, the person who would become my General Manager asked me great questions about what was important to me. He didn’t even know me; but I already felt he cared for me. We are called to care for and to serve others, and once we operate from an attitude of “others over ourselves,” the rewards of that harvest will shine brightly through in our work.
- Care IS Customer Service. It’s about them, not you. I believe that the greatest compliment you can give someone is to simply listen. This one took growth for me in my first year at Booster, as my consistent feedback was, “Chris, try being more interested than interesting.” My thought was, but I have so many interesting things that have happened to me and when I would find a way to use that to create a connection I thought that I was building a relationship. Truth is, I wasn’t. What I was doing was making the conversation and the relationship about ME and not about the client. I still have moments where I have to fight back the opportunity to say, “You know what that happened to me too...” Instead, I lean in with more questions about whatever it is the client is talking about. Not only am I caring for them by listening but I am allowing them to open up more and share more, which in turn allows me to listen for ways that I can care for them in that moment or even later on
- Care is not one size fits all; sometimes you’ve got to customize it. What care looks like to one person may look different to another. One of our leaders, Ike Ubasineke, says, “Know yourself, know others.” We use tools like the Enneagram, Love Languages, and even just having conversation with someone allows you to better understand yourself. This helps not only how you can show care but also how others think, and what their motivations and desires are. What may seem as caring to one team member or client may be far from the bullseye for another. I can greatly misinterpret the needs of others if I don’t remain focused on the goal. Ask questions and log them into your notes in your phone. Care doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture. I have one client who loves being called by her first name. So I always try to do that!
- Care for your team. But wait, aren’t these steps about caring for our clients? Well, without a cared for team behind you, it’s difficult to care for clients. I learned this the hard way back in my first semester as a Program Leader. My attention was on my own results and success. How well was I doing? Was I setting myself apart? This is where the center of my map back then, was on ME. After some crucial feedback from my leaders, I realized that I had been trying to do everything myself and I wasn’t caring for or leading my team very well. I came back from a holiday break with a new focus, I decided to look for at least one way to care for a team member every day. Sometimes that was asking how they were or surprising them with a team-favorite Sonic drink. Other times, it meant giving up my “control” of the program we were implementing and allowing a team member to take on the responsibility, with me coaching them through the role. Over time, not only did my relationship and engagement with my team improve, but the overall success of the program improved as well. I believe there is a direct correlation between caring for your team, the success of your work, and care of the client.
After six years at Booster, and hopefully many more to come, I truly believe we have an amazing product; but our true product is our people. I meet with dozens of schools each year and in every meeting when I ask them, “Why Booster?”, the care that our team shows is in everyone’s top 3 answers.