February, 2011:

Do Your Employees Know Why You Exist – Are They Delivering on that Promise?

great customer serviceEvery business exists to deliver key customer expectations.  You can call it brand, but it is what founders have typically identified as a need when they first started the business, service or product in the first place. Often it gets diluted, and employees become scattered in what they attempt to deliver.  They just show up – but don’t really SHOW up.

I always ask in a needs analysis, can your employees or your Executive name off 3 adjectives why you exist.  For example; McDonalds Restaurants was invented to deliver: Efficient, Consistent, Affordable food services in a CLEAN environment.  They have now renovated numerous locations to get back to that “clean” feeling they were known for.  Yes, they’ve added salads to their menu, (and thank you from a Mom who works hard to maintain a healthy weight), but I often still don’t go to McDonalds for a salad, and I do enjoy dropping in on the Golden Arches because I’m fairly certain once again, they will have a clean bathroom, no matter where I’m traveling.

Westjet Airlines is another example.  They know why they exist and continues to grab market share – in fact they “Care”antee it.   Their employees know why they exist; To deliver: On-time, Affordable and  Friendly (actually often funny too) service.

Once employees and the management are clear on what they deliver and how they are different, they strive to enact it in their daily service delivery or how they manage employees and the business.  They actually influence each other, and will support or nudge one another to ensure it happens.  It’s magic when I see it happen and they often win awards and profits soar again.  Ask yourself do you know why you exist?  Name it now if you can.

Engage Your Staff in Customer Care – Do You Know How?

Customer CareThe quality of customer care shown to your customers by your staff will impact your reputation in either a negative or positive way. Customer care is the hallmark of your business.

How do you train your staff to deliver exceptional customer service?

Tell your staff how to treat your customers and they will try, but not always deliver on the promises.

Engage them in ways to delivering or exceeding expectations and  resolving customer issues as they occur, and you will witness them actually doing it time and time again.  You see the number one motivational factor in the workplace is not necessarily money.  Mind you, if you take it away, they may not show up. However the number one motivational factor is actually CONTRIBUTION.

The ability to contribute – to make a difference is energizing.  In fact, it is the meaning of life – why are we here?  To make a difference (big or small).  It just feels good when someone can “Fix it”- such as your reason for wanting a product or service in the first place, or if you have a complaint.  This is regardless, whether you are giving it, or receiving it.  It just feels good.  That is why employees like working for winning companies that look after their customers and deliver on their promises – a certain pride is exuded when they hear their friends and family say – Oh, they’re the best.  In fact without great service you may not last long.  Competition is fierce.

How to do engage them.  Either hire an expert facilitator, or do it yourself if you can manage the multiple ideas that will come up and get your staff involved in the process.  This can be done by facilitating ideas in meetings to finding new ways to deliver services or products, or reviewing typical and ongoing customer service breakdowns and their possible solutions.

Note: Don’t point anyone out – keep the scenario as generic as possible and focus on the solutions.

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