I was reading an article on one of my key interests the other day – customer service. One, because that is a cornerstone of our business and two, it is what I expect when I go anywhere else. Here at the Complex, I think we do a pretty good job and we would expect to hear about it if we didn’t (with some caveats). Elsewhere, as you can imagine, there is a sliding scale of wanting to adopt this salesperson and take their parents/boss/mentors out for lunch all the way down to taking deep, ragged breaths while holding a cold compress against that bulging vein in my forehead. Usually, it is somewhere in the middle.
We often make conscious or even subconscious decisions when it comes to our desired service levels. Often people in a bank lineup, for instance, will let the person behind them go ahead because they want to make sure they were served by their favorite bank teller – the teller that makes them laugh and who they most trust. When dining at your local restaurant, don’t you sometimes feel disappointed when it’s not your favorite server serving your table? How many of us have stories of phoning a business and getting totally different answers whenever we talk to a different employee? How often have you heard someone say, “Just phone them again because it totally depends on who you get.” Luckily, with phone customer service, the advent of repetitive music on hold such as Sultans of Swing played on the zither, punctuated with a soothing voice telling us how important we are to them; that makes it just that much more palatable.
Some refer to this phenomenon “service roulette.” But it shouldn’t feel like a crap shoot every time someone walks into a business or phones in with a concern or question. Some thoughts on how to minimize the odds of your customers taking their hard-earned chips somewhere else to play are: You are only as good as your weakest link. Invest in your hiring, on boarding, and training!
Consistency is critical. One misstep or one poor performer is all it takes to lose a customer for life.
Ensure everyone understands the minimum expectations for outstanding service.
Create a system to collect continual feedback so you can identify areas for improvement and discover who your stars are.
Turn your star performers into, well stars! Recognize them. Use them to benchmark performance against. Have your stars conduct training sessions and mentor other employees so everyone learns the secret to their appeal and success.
I find myself doing that more these days – if I receive outstanding customer service, I tell that person exactly that. If one of our patrons passes on kudos about staff or a particular person; we make sure they hear about it. And as we seem to see a lack of nowadays, if you have a complaint, try talking to the business first to resolve your issue before broadcasting it to the panel of experts on social media.