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By Jana Love

I personally enjoyed our blog last week because the outcome was a GREAT customer service experience, where the associates went over and above to anticipate needs and deliver on surprises and delights. Shouldn't this be the norm? Why are so many service experiences disappointing? My theory ~ leadership is looking in the wrong direction. Too many businesses focus on sales and not so much on service. This is baffling to me because more sales come with better service. Randy Pennington says that in his experience, "Companies with bad service view it as a cost to be managed rather than an investment that creates a competitive advantage." I couldn't agree more. 

We so often hear the phrase, "It's not rocket science." Well, service isn't rocket science...companies just make it much harder than it has to be. I am a firm believer that great customer service has to begin and end with strong leadership. They must set the image and understanding of what delivering great customer service looks like. Too many organizations believe their catchy company phrases or tag lines about focusing on the customer is enough, and what we find is the catchy customer supportive phrase becomes the line item on the leadership list to be checked off instead of taking the phrase and developing an actionable campaign for everyone in the organization to understand and execute. If leadership isn't walking the walk and talking the talk, two things clearly happen,

  1. There becomes a very visual line in the sand of us (management and below) vs them (leadership),
     
  2. Without the leadership commitment, employees have the freedom to make their own decision on what customer service looks like from their perspective. As an example, I was recently in Tire Kingdom getting a tire fixed on my car. I noticed there was a fresh pot of coffee. As I looked around, they seemed to be out of cups. About that time an employee walked into the waiting room and I mentioned the cups were missing. His response was, "Yea, someone needs to buy those, I guess." I have to believe that isn't the response/decision that the company would want this employee to make.
     

As I mentioned earlier, this isn't hard, but somehow companies miss a couple of important components to creating the right formula for the opportunity of great service experiences. Randy Pennington sites 3 basic, yet insightful, steps to a greater chance at better service. He says, "Focus on these three areas if you want to make service your competitive advantage":

  1. People: Who do you hire? How are they trained, compensated, and rewarded? Do your front-line leaders develop them and provide a great environment in which to work? Who is promoted, and who is fired?
     
  2. Process: Is every process clearly defined, documented, and communicated? Are your processes designed to deliver the best possible result for the customer or the least expensive result for the company? Do you continually evaluate and update processes to stay current and relevant?
     
  3. Tools: Do your people have the resources and information they need to succeed? Are they empowered to actually use the tools at their disposal?
     
  4. Stop managing service as a cost. Start leading it as an investment."
     

People, Process and Tools.  Take a moment to see if your organization has capitalized on the importance of these three ares by developing them to the fullest. 

About Jana Love

After a successful career in Sales and Marketing with Marriott International, Jana Love, co-author of the ProLearning Blog, founded ProShop Evaluation Services, Inc. in 1989.  At that time, the company’s primary focus was mystery shopping of Sales/Catering and Reservations Departments.  In 2002, she rebranded and refocused her company, becoming ProSolutions, LLC, and expanded the company’s services and models to include a wide variety of consulting, training solutions, pricing research, and performance improvement options.  Jana’s passion behind the company’s tag line, “The Total Customer Experience Company” is truly what drives the business culture.  As the President and CEO, she leads her team in all efforts, which includes offering customized solutions to all of their customers.  

Contact: Jana Love

jana@prosolutions.net / 877-274-3971

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