John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


IT ISN’T THEIR FAULT, THEY DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER!

I have this niece who is 20, and I have been bugging her for years to come work for me. I’ll even send her to beauty school! She is one of those bright, bubbly cute girls who lights up a room. She has a great personality and any business would love her working for them at the front lines as a receptionist, hostess, or any customer contact position.

ImageI got to see her over the holidays and asked her what she was doing. She said she has been working for a while at a Café and enjoys it.  I asked her what it was like and what her responsibilities were. As she explained them, one of the jobs the owner has given her was to make sure people who are not paying customers do not use the bathrooms.  My eyes lit up. I said, “Really?” She replied, “Yes, we even have a sign on the door that says so. Just today I saw someone who wasn’t buying anything headed to the restroom, so I ran after him and made him leave.  My owner says if they can’t pay for things, they don’t get to take advantage of our facilities because he then has to pay me to go in and clean up after them.”

I was shocked! This is my sweet adorable niece with the same family DNA. How could she think like this?  You are probably thinking how wrong I am about my niece, and that I shouldn’t want an employee like that.

Well, for starters, each of us has plenty of employees currently working for us, and I would love for her to work for me– with the proper customer service training, of course.  Her mindset is not unusual. It is more the norm.

It all goes back to Service Aptitude. No one is born with it; it is not innate. People’s Service Aptitude comes from two primary places: 1) life experiences and 2) previous work experiences.  Think about that. That’s it! No one is born with high service aptitude.  Most life experiences before the age of 25 don’t afford the know-how of what world-class service looks like.  And considering that nearly 80% of businesses out there are Average at best at customer service, that means employees have previously worked elsewhere. Not only were they not trained on what excellent service looks like, but they were poisoned with a policy-driven iron fist that teaches them that customers are out to take advantage of businesses and must be caught and stopped.

We all agree that the experiential side (how our customers are treated and cared for) is just as important as the technical/operational side of what the customer receives. However, our training contradicts that. We would never think of having an accountant, lawyer, nurse, doctor, hairdresser, or technician perform work without the proper technical training, certification, and licensing. Yet most companies have little to zero customer service certification.  To my knowledge there is no degree or even a college course that prepare our youth.

Action Plan

Don’t be discouraged.  This is the majority of our workforce. Keep reminding yourself that it is not their fault; it is our responsibility as an organization and as leaders to improve their Service Aptitude to a level that is acceptable before we allow them to interact with our customers. Make sure you re-evaluate what your soft-skill service training looks like, how well your existing and new employees know and understand your Service Vision, and how they impact it.  Be sure they know your Customer Bill of Rights, your Always & Nevers, the Secret Service Systems, what your service recovery protocols are, how they can easily go Above & Beyond, and that they have the permission and autonomy.

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices. John DiJulius is the innovator of a methodology called Secret Service a customer service system which consistently enables organizations to deliver World-Class Customer Experiences. Find out more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, the #1 National Customer Service Conference.



ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH COMPLAINTS? No news is sometimes bad news

Think about the last several times you had an experience less than spectacular. You left a business frustrated or hung up the phone more stressed than before you called. Unfortunately all of us can remember several probably in the past 48 hours. Next, think about contacting the company management about your dissatisfaction.  If you are like most people, you don’t bother to waste your time.  I never do. But then the customer service consultant voice starts talking to me on my way home.

Voice in my head:

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?

Me:

“I don’t know, I just didn’t, leave me alone”

Voice:

“But why?”

Me:

“Because they don’t care”

Voice:

“How do you know?”

Me:

“Just a feeling I got, no one there seemed to care. I would have had to wait for a manager to come out, then explain my story to him, and I know he would have thought I was trying to get something for free, and he probably would have been defensive. I would have preferred to talk to him 20 minutes sooner than waste my time.”

Voice:

“Maybe, but how often do you think this happens with your customers and clients in your businesses?”

Me:

“Uhhhhhhh, good question! How about minding your own business while I turn up my radio!”

Ouch! This happens all the time. We do it as customers, and our customers are doing it to us!!  If we are not making it easier for our customers to give feedback, then it is happening to us more than any of us realize. Our customers have better things to do with their time than hunt us down and complain.

Management Service Recovery Training

Customer Satisfaction and Resolution GRAPHIt is difficult to expect your front-line employees to handle service recovery when they have poor role models. Service Management Group (SMG), headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, who measures the customer experience for multi-unit businesses, found some startling information when tracking customer complaints. SMG discovered that managers were the main cause of the very worst problems. These were the situations in which a customer complained directly to the manager. But the manager made the original problem worse by being defensive or unwilling to solve the problem. One-third of worst problems-the ones where customers called into the company’s headquarters to complain-were about the manager’s failure to resolve the original complaint!

Give Permission, Make it Easy

There are several ways to give permission for our customers to communicate with us. Now I am not talking about satisfaction measurement devices that ask customers their level of satisfaction and how likely they are to refer.  That is very vitally important, I spent an entire chapter on it (13) in What’s the Secret?. This is something totally different.  I’m talking about giving your customers permission to communicate easily, in a non-threatening way; and not only giving them permission, but asking for their advice, their feedback, both positive and negative. Few companies ask their customers for praise, and lose the opportunity to celebrate and perpetuate that type of outstanding performance. However, very few companies have the courage to ask their customers for feedback if their experience was below what they were expecting.

How Accessible Are You?

 

Here’s a refreshing approach. When you shop for a car at Motorcars Honda/Toyota in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, you will notice a red phone in the middle of the showroom with a sign that reads: “Hotline to Owner Chuck Gile.”  Customers know that if any issues arise, they have the power to talk to the top executive in the organization. That provides great peace of mind and a zero risk of doing business with a company. On top of that, the red phone sends a message to all employees, demonstrating the lengths Motorcars will go to make the customer happy.

Grillsmith Restaurant, a Tampa-based chain, posts a sign that says, “I want to hear from you” with the GM’s picture on it and all the contact information, including the cell phone number.

Got Service? Prove it!
John Robert’s Spa rolled out an Experience Guarantee, where guests can pay what they think is fair if they were not totally satisfied with their experience, no questions asked. Did JRS get burned? Hardly. Any time John Robert’s got “short paid” it was deemed justifiable by the Salon Coordinator. It gave JR great feedback on who were the employees not providing the experience promised and more than 80% of the guests who didn’t pay full price, returned again.  John Robert’s retained 80% of their dissatisfied customers!  I would say it is working.

It is so simple: it is just marketing to your customer on everything: invoices, orders, at checkout, on the website, even in bathrooms.  Here are some examples of what companies have used:

 

Please tell us about your experience.
It is very important for us to know how we can be the best 

We want your advice on how we can be better

Did we hit the mark today? Tell us
Did we miss? Tell us, please!

Was someone a hero for you today?
We want to recognize them.

Were we the best part of your day?
If you can’t answer yes, that is unacceptable to us.
Please share with us why we were not.

Action Plan
How easy are you making it for your customers to share their experiences? Do you give them the impression you care, that you want to know, that exceptional experience is the only thing you will accept?  If you are not getting enough complaints, that may be telling you something.

 


Comments Off on ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH COMPLAINTS? No news is sometimes bad news


WHAT’S THE REAL SERVICE APTITUDE LEVEL OF YOUR COMPANY?

John DiJulius

John DiJulius

[tweetmeme source=”http://www.twitter.com/dijuliusgroup”]

When it comes to customer service, do you know the rating for your company, location or department? The DiJulius Group has created an incredibly powerful tool called the Company Service Aptitude Test (C-SAT).

The C-SAT not only pinpoints the Service Aptitude Level of your organization, but even more importantly, it lets management know where the strengths and opportunities are in order to get to the next level. The C-SAT is based on the “Ten Commandments” to providing a world-class customer experience.  These are the 10 principles shared by every great customer service organization. Now your management can take the C-SAT.

Click to take C-SAT


There are five levels of customer service:

This test is designed so that individual departments may take it and score themselves independently. It will take approximately 15 minutes to answer all the questions. If you are taking it to determine the level of customer service delivered by your company, there are two approaches you can take:

  1. Look at your entire organization’s customer service as a whole, or
  2. Look at the customer service of each individual department (i.e. sales, technical support, call center) or location.

If you choose to take it by department or location, you will obviously have to take it once for each department or location you have. This allows you to determine which departments, managers and front-line employees are stronger and which are weaker. Department scores may then be averaged to find an overall company score.

C-SAT REPORT:

Within seconds of completing the test, you will receive a C-SAT report emailed directly to you, sharing your company’s service aptitude level based on your answers (figure 2).  There is no charge, and you can take this test online as many times as you want.




%d bloggers like this: