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January 8

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Service Ambassadors: The Key to Providing World-Class Service

Written by: Bryan K. Williams

It’s amazing who some business owners and managers allow to represent their company. On a recent trip, I stopped at a sandwich shop to order some lunch. After the employee told me they ran out, I asked for her favorite choice; to which she promptly replied “None of the sandwiches here”! Wow.  Perhaps it did not occur to her that by suggesting one of her company’s sandwiches, I may actually enjoy it, return, and potentially refer others…all of which translate into additional revenue (plus more job security).

To customers, the person serving them IS the company. That employee’s actions, words, and everything in between are a direct reflection of the company. In general terms, an ambassador is someone who represents something or someone. For example, the U.S. ambassador to Brazil is the chief representative of the U.S. in Brazil. This means that everything the ambassador does and says is a reflection of the U.S. When Brazilians see the ambassador, they are actually seeing the U.S. The ambassador IS the U.S. Whether you like it or not, you are the company you work for.  Your customer does not care what department you work in or how long you have been working there. All your customers know is that you are an employee, therefore, you should be an advocate of the business.

I cringe when employees refer to their place of employment as “they” or “them”. You are the company, so who exactly is “they” or “them”? On a recent trip, I stopped at a well-known airline’s ticket kiosk to print my boarding pass.  As I approached the kiosk, three of the ticket agents were embroiled in a heated discussion about an extremely important and critical topic…their work schedules for next week.  For the entire 3-5 minutes that I was at the kiosk, not one ticket agent stopped their debate to offer assistance (let alone acknowledge that I existed). Towards the end of my time at the kiosk, one employee finally removed herself from the employee discussion, and asked if I was checking in luggage.  I thought for a moment, and decided to keep the bag with me. She then said, “Good, because I wouldn’t give ‘them’ any more money that I had to. Have a nice day”.  Again…wow. 

A culture of world-class service flourishes when your entire team has a sense of ownership. As a leader, be sure to instill that feeling of personal ownership in every employee from the recruitment phase and on through the remainder of the onboarding process. Tell employees that their presence and contributions matter. They should know that their team is (and will be) better because of the talents they bring.

Of course, all this talk of having ambassadors also means that your company must be worthy of being represented. Is your business a place where people are proud to work and represent? Why or why not? Being an ambassador is an esteemed position that should not be taken lightly.  Each action at every touchpoint has specific consequences (both positive and negative). So if you are a manager, ensure that everyone on your team is a great representative. From sandwich shops to spas to hospitals to hotels, world-class service begins with ambassadors. Ambassadors who are proud of their company and eager to provide exceptional serve with consistency and conviction.

Supplemental section for leaders

The best way for leaders to build a team of ambassadors is to be a shining example of how ambassadors are supposed to act.  Beyond being a role-model, here are four practical tips for leaders to implement:

  • Communicate those standards – Use multiple resources like pre-shift meetings, newsletters, email signature blocks, screen savers, bulletin boards, daily voice mail, etc
  • Give performance feedback – This is one of the biggest opportunities for improvement amongst leaders.  Your team needs to know how they are performing in both good and bad times.
  • Reward excellence – Be careful how you reward performance. I’ve seen many managers celebrate when performance expectations are met.  It is fine to acknowledge when expectations are met, but reserve your praise and celebration for when expectations are surpassed (or at least consistently met). 

I would love to hear from you! Please send in examples of when you have heard employees use the words “they” or “them” when describing their place of employment.  Also, if you would like specific feedback on how to create the “ambassador” mindset, here are links to a few additional articles that may be of assistance.  Of course, you can always send a question or comment to .

‘Living It’ Employees:

5 Star Employees Pt 1:

5 Star Employees Pt 2:

5 Star Employees Pt 3:

About the Author
Bryan K. Williams is the Chief Service Officer of B.Williams Enterprise, and the author of Engaging Service: 22 Ways to Become a Service Superstar. Bryan’s passion is world-class customer service, and has facilitated workshops and delivered keynotes all over the world for various companies.  He speaks on a variety of topics related to service excellence, employee engagement, and organizational improvement.  As a consultant, Bryan works closely with companies to design, develop, and implement sustainable service strategies.


Order Bryan’s new book at:
Engaging Service: 22 Ways to Become a Service Superstar

Find more resources relating to service excellence at

Also on the website, you can subscribe to the official B.Williams Enterprise emailing list.  You will receive announcements, newsletters and other excellent resources.

New! Follow Bryan & B. Williams Enterprise on Twitter:


B. Williams Enterprise, LLC 
Phone: 240-401-6958 

EngageMe - Your #1 Source for Customer Service Products


Also See: 5-Star Employees - Part 3 / Bryan K. Williams / September 2009

5-Star Employees - Part 2 / Bryan K. Williams / August 2009

5-Star Employees - Part 1/ Bryan K. Williams / July 2009

Engaging Service: 22 Ways to Become a Service Superstar / Bryan K. Williams / July 2009

Complimentary tele-seminars with Bryan K. Williams in July! / July 2009

Building a Team of Living It Employees / Bryan K. Williams / June 2009

World-Class Service: What if every employee served like a concierge? / Byran K Williams / March 2009

5 Star Leadership: What Does It Take to Be a 5-star Leader? / Byran Williams / February 2009

5 Stars vs. 4 Stars: What’s the Difference? / Byran Williams / January 2009

Complimentary training with Bryan Williams / January 2009

The 7 Principles of EngageMeTM is now available! / Bryan K. Williams / November 2008

Hiring and Engaging a World-Class Team / Bryan K. Williams / October 2008

Great Ideas for National Customer Service Week 2008 / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008

Delivering World-Class Service Part 3: Company Service Standards / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008

Delivering World-Class Service Pt. 2: Personal Service Standards / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008

Delivering World-Class Service: Function vs. Purpose / Bryan K. Williams / August 2008

Guest Problem Resolution 101: Power of the Follow-Up / Bryan K. Williams / June 2008

7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers – Part 2 / Bryan K. Williams / May 2008

7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers / Bryan K. Williams / April 2008

I Am a Service Professional™ / Bryan K. Williams / March 2008

Engage Every Customer…One Touchpoint at a Time / Bryan K. Williams / January 2008

Engaging Service Part 2: It’s All About the Culture / Bryan K. Williams / December 2007

Engaging Service Part 1: Not Just for the Chic / Bryan K. Williams / November 2007

Service Excellence: A Destination or a Journey? / Bryan K. Williams / October 2007

National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007

National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007

Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer / September 2007

Customer Engagement: Where do we begin? / Byran K Williams / August 2007

Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer / / August 2007

B. Williams Enterprise, LLC Launches Engage Me…  the Voice of Your Customer / August 2007

To Engage…Listen to the Voice of Your Customer / Byran K Williams / August 2007

To Engage the Guest, You Must Engage Those Who Directly Serve the Guest / Byran K Williams / July 2007

Three Service Rules: The Golden Rule, Platinum Rule, and Double Platinum Rule/ Byran K Williams / June 2007

The Greatest Bellman I Ever Met… / Bryan K. Williams / April 2006

Sorry to Say…But Some People Should Not be Serving Other Human Beings / Bryan K Williams / October 2006

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