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Customer Service Is All About Sense of Urgency
July 13, 2015 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment
Sense of urgency takes on new meaning and purpose when discussing the Customer Satisfaction Business Outcome. Think about the times you walked into a business and waited for someone to notice and take care of you. OK, now think about the times you waited while watching employees talk to one another and were totally oblivious to your presence. How about those times you sat in a restaurant watching other tables being served that were seated after you? What about that customer service representative that promised to call you back in an hour … and never did? These are all symptoms of a breakdown in sense of urgency.
Sense of urgency and customer satisfaction are inseparable. If your business fails to deliver on a customer expectation, it will show in your first-time and existing client retention rates. It’s that black and white. Nothing infuriates clients more than shoddy or substandard service. If a business fails to deliver on its quality and experience promise, it must be regarded as a breach of contract. Likewise, attention to detail, amazing service and the efforts any business makes to exceed the ordinary and deliver the extraordinary is what truly defines world-class brand.
The ability to consistently deliver quality and extraordinary experiences is, without question, a reflection of a company’s culture and systems. Here’s an interesting question to ponder: When you’ve experienced true no-compromise, high sense of urgency service from a company, were you experiencing the culture and systems of the business, or the service and work ethic of an individual who functions with a sense of urgency? A customer satisfaction driven employee may hide a company’s warts once or twice, but eventually the company’s true culture and lack of urgency to satisfy its customers will be exposed for customers to see.
Here’s a hit list of no-compromise strategies you can use to create a sense of urgency to drive the Customer Service Business Outcome in your company:
- Videotape staff servicing customers: Video doesn’t lie. It shows what’s real. The videotaping must be positioned as a learning exercise – not a “catch people doing something wrong” witch hunt. Watching their own behavior, posture, body language, attire … and the visual responses from customers … can be a real wake-up call. Video can be an important tool to communicate the need to change in a compelling way that service employees can truly feel and internalize.
- Take a tour: Take staff on a tour of your facility and have them take notes of everything they see and observe that would either support or detract from customer satisfaction. When it comes to customer satisfaction … everyone is responsible. When the “It’s not my job to do that” line contaminates your culture, the Customer Satisfaction Outcome is compromised. Time for a Neilism: Why is it that only owners and leaders can see the dirt that is obviously invisible to employees? Be sure to have the debriefing and strategies meeting afterward to define a decisive plan of action to improve customer satisfaction.
- Service is like a Broadway play: Every successful Broadway play demands that every actor knows his or her lines and to be in the right spot on cue. There is a sense of urgency to relentlessly rehearse until everyone gets it right and every scene is executed flawlessly – not just on opening night, but every night. How many of your employees know their lines and cues? How many employees can execute those lines and cues flawlessly every day? Anything less than every time/every day is a compromise.
- Define your standards: Create your company’s own “Non-Negotiable Customer Satisfaction Standards.” How quickly can the phone be answered? How long will a client be allowed to wait? How will clients be greeted? How will consultations be executed? What’s the procedure for concluding a service, including pre-book and product recommendations? What’s each and every individual’s responsibility for ensuring that what clients see and hear is only what they’re supposed to see and hear? What conversation topics are off limits? What is an acceptable dress code? You and your team should have no trouble expanding on this list.
- Visual cues: If you have a call center or telephone sales office, install call sequencing monitors so employees can see how many customers are on hold, for how long and how many calls were lost. Mount the monitors so all employees can see them. Nothing creates urgency more than seeing the action live.
- Consistency is like a steady drumbeat: Make “sense of urgency” issues and strategies part of your daily huddle. Keep them short and focused. The intent is to keep the drumbeat pace “urgent.” These daily verbal reminders will ultimately shape your customer satisfaction culture.
- Cheerleading a little nudge: The no-compromise leader never hesitates to use the tried and true method of cheerleading employees with the “let’s pick up the pace – we’ve got customers to satisfy.” When direct instruction or wake-up calls are needed, don’t hesitate. I’m not suggesting that you turn into a Marine drill sergeant, it just never hurts to apply a little leadership nudge, or more, when necessary.
- Customer satisfaction and shared accountability: Accountability is not a word to be feared. Accountability is about a commitment to doing it right and doing it on time. Accountability is a commitment to achieving the highest level of consistency. If your company’s brand promise is to deliver value, consistency and extraordinary client experiences, then accountability must be embedded as a core value that is shared and protected by each and every employee. No compromise.