Follow these seven steps to become a service champion:
- Do what you say you will do/Build a culture and system of accountability
- Focus on them (the customers) and their needs
- Hire for passion and fit
- Train your staff to be service superstars
- Build a culture of respect
- When you fail, have a great service recovery system
Notice I did not say seven easy steps. These steps are hard to do. But these are the right steps to take. If you can master these seven steps you will rise to the top of your field. All other factors will fall into place. It does not matter what your product is, what your prices are, how large your company is or even if you have the latest technology. Follow these steps and whatever the game, you will win!
Below is a brief discussion of each of the 7 steps. I will follow up in future blogs discussing each step in detail.
Become an active listener. Most people in the world today focus on talking. Very few truly focus on listening. Being a good listener takes both training and effort. There are some skills needed for one-on-one listening and different skills needed to listen to your customers as a whole. I will take a journalist’s approach and discuss the W’s of listening – Who to listen to, What to listen to, When to listen, Where to listen, Why to listen as well as How to listen. Through this approach I will cover both individual and group focused listening.
It is truly sad how little accountability there is in our world today. It is all too often a great surprise to find a company that has employees that will “do what you say you will do (DWYSYWD). Within most companies there is an unfortunate lack of accountability. Accountability must start at the top and must work its way down throughout the entire organization. Once everyone becomes fully accountable the power that is unleashed is staggering.
Focus on them (the customer) and their need
Many people in the world today are self-absorbed. Unfortunately, they usually bring that attitude to work with them. Dr. Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” recommended: seek first to understand, then to be understood. Many companies focus on their products or features or services and fail to ever focus on the needs or desires of their customers. Being a service champion requires a commitment to serving others before serving yourself. Follow the platinum rule rather than the golden rule – serve others the way they want to be served, not the way you want to be served.
Hire for passion and fit
Many people have written of the need to hire for passion, fit or attitude and train for skills. I find that most companies continue to hire for skills. In my experience it is rare to find a person that has a positive attitude and a passion for success that cannot acquire the skills necessary to be a star in almost any role within most companies. A number of years ago our company went through some turbulence. Those with positive attitude and passion found new opportunities to succeed within the company.
Train your staff to be service superstars
Many great companies are great because they place a focus on training and employee education. Studies consistently show that training reduces employee turnover and increases employee and customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, the results may not be immediate and training can be expensive. Therefore, many companies choose to take shortcuts when it comes to training. There are many great sources of training material today available for free on the Internet. Much of the training can be self-directed. Also, employees themselves can create a great deal of the training material needed that is unique to your industry and company. Take advantage of the skills that are already within your organization to produce great learning opportunities for all of your staff.
Build a culture of respect
I have found no greater story of how company culture can have a positive impact on a business than the story of Zappos. I highly recommend that you read about it in Tony Hsieh’s book “Delivering Happiness”. I also suggest you read Dr. Paul Marciano’s book “Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work”. Dr. Marciano gives you the tools to build a great culture – use the “respect” model. This is the best way to ensure that passion and accountability stay at high levels within your organization.
Have a great service recovery system
All humans (and even some computers) make mistakes. At some point even highly motivated and well-trained employees will fail to properly serve a customer. That is the day when a great service recovery system is needed. With a great system properly executed, the customer satisfaction level can even be elevated beyond their previous heights! Please understand that great service recovery is not about simply giving a customer their money back. A great service recovery system requires using all six steps mentioned above to insure lifetime customer satisfaction and delight.
Put all seven steps together and your company is sure to be successful in any environment.
Thanks for Listening,