On Saturdays, my wife and I enjoy doing our early morning long bicycle ride or long walk, cleaning up, and then going to our favorite grocery store.
Before we begin shopping, we usually enjoy a delicious, cooked-to-order omelet in the store’s deli.
We like this grocery store because of how well everything speaks to us as guests (that’s what they call their customers). The shopping carts, signage, farmers market feel, bakery, food tasting stations, organic and natural health products, and cheery flower shop all reflect their attention to their guests.
Most of all, it is the employees who make you feel welcome. They are pleasant, personable, and sincerely want to help you.
You get the feeling that they really care for you. They provide a positive shopping experience with a community feel.
The next thing I’m going to say may shock you.
I have strongly considered taking my Saturday morning brunch business elsewhere!
After all the good things I said about this store, why would I look for another place to eat on Saturday mornings?
Well, it turns out that the store has two areas that need improvement:
- The tables and sitting areas in the deli are typically not clean.
- The bathrooms near the food area usually have a strange odor in them.
My experience illustrates the challenge you face as business owners and managers.
Neglecting just one or two areas can compromise your best company-wide efforts.
What’s a business owner to do? Fortunately, I’ve discovered three steps that are pillars of customer service that help leaders succeed at serving their customers.
Every leader can create a culture of service excellence by following three simple steps.
Consider the Customer
A genuinely customer-focused organization sees things through the lens of the customer. This approach asks, “How does the customer see us?”
The Bible encourages us to consider others. Philippians 2:3,4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” (NIV)
Looking from the customer’s perspective is one of the things that separate outstanding organizations from ordinary ones.
Realize Everything Speaks
Every detail of your physical environment says something about your organization.
Everything the customer sees, hears, smells, tastes, or touches creates an impression and impacts their experience.
Anything that is out of alignment causes a disconnect in the mind of the customer… everything speaks!
Customers may not consciously pick up on every detail, but subconsciously, everything leaves clues about your organization.
What are the details saying about your organization?
If you can’t handle the small details, why should the customer believe that you are capable of handling the big, important details?
Here are some examples of physical items/areas to examine, in order to determine how they speak to the customer:
Entrance to property, parking lot, outside signage and building, entryway and reception area to office/showroom, hallways and offices, bathrooms, vehicles inside and out, equipment taken to customers residence/business, website, customer documents including emails, internal computer system screens and documents, phone system and messaging.
I’ve made a simple Everything Speaks Worksheet for you to use as a tool to examine your own organization. I created it for leaders and managers to use with their people as a way to cultivate a culture of customer service. It’s FREE, and you can download it immediately by clicking here. Feel free to print it or save it for your own use.
Deliver Little WOWS!
Customer service has become so bad that most us have learned to expect nothing. Anything that a company does, that is special, even if the employees smile at us, is like a gift.
If you routinely do things that your competitors don’t, you become a beacon of light in an otherwise dark customer service world.
When I speak of creating service wows, little WOWS, I’m talking about small, seemingly insignificant behaviors, consistently done, that please the customer.
Imagine your corporate culture in which every employee does these small things in the normal course of business.
This would be like anytime you see something out of place, you handle it automatically.
The impression that results is one of service excellence that makes customers say “WOW!” It also makes customers want to come back.
We can create a culture of customer service excellence by:
- Seeing through the lens of the customer
- Examining how everything speaks to them
- Serving your customers with little WOWS!
Don’t forget to download my free Everything Speaks Worksheet. I designed this worksheet to help you and your team identify the little things that make a big difference!
Do you have a favorite place to shop? What speaks to you about their business or service? Please leave a comment by clicking here and share this blog post with someone who serves you well.