At Your Service: Keep your eyes open
05/03/2012

Legendary customer service is what will take your company from good to great. It will help your company stand out and set an important competitive advantage.

Just as you remember a great customer experience, your customers will do the same thing when they have such an experience with your company. Don’t minimize the impact of an exceptional customer experience.

Building a legendary service culture is not easy. It requires training, reinforcement, dedicated employees, measurement, coaching and other best practices. It becomes a way of life.

One important element is your ability to observe and recognize the service currently delivered at your location. If you are a leader in the company, it makes a significant difference when you take note of the customer service delivered by your team.

Too often, I see supervisors, managers and owners who fail to react to a service incident — good or bad. They are missing a huge teaching or coaching moment. “I will deal with it later” or passing it off as an exception is not an effective strategy for creating moments that build loyalty among your customers.

When you notice something — good or bad — point it out to the employee. It will send the right message. It will show them that you care. You care about them as employees, you care about how they service your customer and you care about the success of your business.

At a company meeting, let employees know that exceptional service is a priority and everyone should be watching for good and poor examples. Let them know that you, as a leader, will be working with everyone to improve these skills.

If you observe something negative, coach them privately. Make it a productive discussion in which your employee knows you care about them and want to build a better organization. It can be a hard conversation, but it has to happen. They must understand that you are watching for these behaviors and will be addressing them.

When you see something positive, point that out as well. Let them know the skills you observed so they can continue to do them. For example, tell them that you liked how they greeted the customer, demonstrated the equipment, used the customer’s name or sincerely thanked the customer. Employees will appreciate the feedback.

Recognizing these behaviors should be the fun part of your job. Both you and the employee should take pride in the great work. Make sure you let them know that your mission is to catch them doing the right thing.

Don’t forget about training. How will employees know what is expected of them if they have not been trained? Keep those eyes open so you can make heroes out of those who do it well and coach those who need assistance.

Barry Himmel is senior vice president for Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, Ohio-based consulting company offering sales and customer service training, marketing and mystery shopping services for the equipment rental industry. He can be reached at 614-766-5101 or barryhimmel@signatureworldwide.com. For more information, call 800-398-0518 or visit signatureworldwide.com.