Episode 1: Leading a team with a deep-rooted culture of delivering outstanding service
Lombard International is committed to providing Service Excellence to its partners and clients. What does ‘Service Excellence’ mean to you?
Tine: Service Excellence is a key differentiator enabling our market leading position across the world. I believe Service Excellence is a state of mind - it embodies the core purpose of everything that takes place within a company. Delivering excellence is about consistently trying to challenge the status quo, to find new ways to improve, about wanting to go the extra mile in serving our partners and clients. In interviews with potential new recruits, I insist on the fact that being excellent takes 10% of skill and 90% of will. It is mostly a matter of choosing the right attitude.
You lead the Partner and Client services teams. How do you foster a culture of Service Excellence?
Tine: I’m deeply convinced that leaders must lead by example and strive to deliver the best results in everything they do. What I find equally important is to share and promote this state of mind with the other team leaders, to ensure that the message gets across our organisation, to all our colleagues, all the time. As leaders it is our duty to make sure that all parts of the internal puzzle are synchronised and working well together.
Massimo: I couldn’t agree more. Moreover, fostering a culture of Service Excellence also means being consistent in our actions and promoting a positive company culture. It’s logical – a positive culture increases colleague satisfaction, which automatically makes one more motivated to deliver. Living the company’s culture means embracing its values and, we as team leaders, need to lead by example. One of our core values is ‘respect’ – sometimes the simplest actions create a big impression, such as greeting my colleagues with a smile in the morning and smiling whilst speaking to clients over the telephone helps so much to create a great impression.
What do you think are the ingredients to deliver outstanding service?
Tine: A blend of empathy, curiosity and active awareness which allows you to anticipate potential bottlenecks and navigate to an efficient solution. That involves more than just solving problems, it requires an ongoing proactive approach. As members of the Partner & Client Services team, we must put ourselves into our partners and clients’ shoes at all times. Another key element to delivering outstanding service is innovation. This is an ever evolving concept since new technologies, trends and habits are constantly reshaping our clients and partners’ expectations. For example, family members from across the different generations definitely have different expectations especially in the way they source or request information. The only imperative that remains constant is to stay alert and focus on their needs.
Massimo: A flawless approach to delivery is also essential. We are a premium player by reputation which means that our HNWI clients and their advisers expect to receive a premium service - that is their minimum requirement. When we interact with them, no matter the challenge, we must deliver on our commitments on time, every time. The discipline to deliver as a team is incredibly important. It’s all about regular training and developing a routine to practise continuously - similar to the way professional athletes train to win and beat the competition.
What are the most important skills you consider when hiring a new team member?
Massimo: To start with, I like to see a candidate’s approach to solving a particular problem and the different ways he/she would deal with it. Additionally, as focus on automating a number of our internal processes, I look for people who have ability to focus more on added value tasks, and how they can become more proactive with our partners. The future will see a symbiotic relationship between human beings and technology – we will need more digital literate people who can help us design and utilise technology in supporting us maintain our market leading service.