Mediocre customer service is at an all-time high in Australia. A recent survey found that over one third of customers stopped shopping at a company in the year spanning July 2016 to 2017 due to a poor customer service experience—and this number looks set to increase. (CPM Australia, 2017)
We could explore many reasons why this is so but one of the bigger implications to poor service is the way in which employees make decisions when interacting with customers.
What have they been trained to say? What rules must they follow? What will they not do, in fear of making a mistake or getting it wrong? What hierarchy of importance do they follow when faced with making a decision that impacts the customer, and how do they know what to prioritise?
I am not alone when I say it would be ideal if our staff were not so dependent on us and could make decisions for themselves. However, the resistance I see in leaders is trusting that their people will make the right decisions.
The only rule in service is use good judgement in any situation that is critical to the customer. So how do we get our employees to make good judgement calls?
Most decision making is based on two things:

  • factual data (which is overlaid with emotional context)
  • values (emotional filters through which we make decisions).

In the absence of company values, employees will make their own decisions based on their own personal values. This might be ideal but in some cases may not be aligned to what the company stands for or cares about. Values are a powerful and quick framework for coaching desired behaviours in a service interaction.
Service values help with decision making. If you don’t know how to set your company service values, click this link to view my step-by-step guide.
Jaquie Scammell
‘Love Being in Service’

CPM Australia, 2017. The state of customer service in Australia. [Online] Available at:[Accessed 02 August 2018].

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