Many years ago, I hired John DiJulius of The DiJulius Group to help our employees understand and embrace customer service as a competitive advantage. One of the key learnings is that each employee brings with them a foundation of knowledge and understanding of customer service that is based on their personal path through life. If a person’s best experience with customer service is staying at the Red Roof Inn, then that is the lens through which they approach customer service. This may be the standard you are trying to achieve or it may not be. Setting their baseline of acceptable customer service is a challenging but necessary task in setting expectations.
We found that morning huddles were an effective way to keep customer service expectations top of mind. For us, morning huddles were a quick 5 minute check-in each morning. We discussed real customer interactions that occurred recently and praised employees for going above and beyond using specific examples. This daily practice of rewarding success will allow the team to know what is expected and it gives them permission to try new things. As an example, we had a customer who didn’t like new dollar bills because they tended to stick together. One of our employees would keep a stack of old bills in the drawer to use for this specific customer. It’s a small thing, but for this customer it was important.
Uniquely Personalize Customer Interactions
Finding ways to uniquely personalize customer interactions is powerful. It can be as simple as looking at the name on the credit card at checkout and saying, “Thank you Mr./Mrs. Smith – we appreciate your business.” It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to do these things, but it does take leadership. The leader of the company must take a personal interest in setting expectations for employees, training them and recognizing them when they go above and beyond for the customer.