Be honest, go on – at some point, you have stopped shopping with a brand because of one staff member who didn’t say the right thing, didn’t make you feel the right way or just didn’t give you the service experience you were hoping for.
I get it. I have voted with my feet time and time again because of how one person delivered their service – below average, not meeting my needs. Harsh, right? But we are harsh; that’s what customers do. We simply go someplace else in the hope that we will get the service we expect: that hit of dopamine, that sense of being seen, heard and important, that feel-good feeling that we want when we’re served by another human being. It’s a challenge in our own work: it only takes one person having a bad day to leave a bad impression on customers. Like it or not, how a customer feels about their one interaction with one individual is how they feel about the company itself. As I put in my book Service Habits, in your customers’ way of thinking, you are the company.
You agree, I’m sure, and I’m equally sure this message is frustrating. You’re probably thinking, “Seriously, how can we control how all our frontline staff and team members behave? You lay out the challenge, Jaq, but what’s the solution?” Well, I’m glad you asked.
The way you tap into people’s feelings, customers and staff, is by becoming acutely aware of behaviours. In a professional setting, defining behaviours for each of your company’s values is often the missing link in creating a great service culture.
One of the best ways to address inconsistency with customer service is to ensure that everyone on the team and in the business is clear about the behaviours that are expected when they’re interacting with customers.
“What you do at work counts, but who you are and how that’s experienced by others counts twice as much.”
How visible and clear are your company values and the behaviours you want to encourage in your team’s service interactions?
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a day and take yourself on a customer journey. Ring the main phone line, send an email enquiry, visit a store. Whatever it is you do, create a mystery-shopper scenario where you get to experience firsthand the behaviours of employees. This is not about catching people out, but rather about experiencing how customers feel when they interact with your business, and using this to fine-tune the behaviours you want to see in your business.