Last year, I was hired by a retail organization to provide leadership coaching to its senior executive board, and field team operators. Among their chief objectives, was to immediately improve and maintain a superior, and positive customer service experience, in their retail locations.
Compliance vs. Intent
The compliance department had submitted their recent training auditing results, compliance was high, but so was their poor customer service metric report?
The audits conducted revealed high rating on implementation, and execution of their customer service training modules, as well as the employees' knowledge around customer service experience objective...
So what was the disconnect?
I have seen this phenomenon occurred at many other organizations out there, most of them already have a comprehensive customer service experience training, many of these organizations truly believe in its overall business impact, however, there seems to be a major opportunity around influencing a permanent superior customer service driven culture, the disconnect is that in order to create and maintain a superior customer service culture, it must start with the organization's internal customer service commitment, serving their employees, as without a doubt, they are their first and probably equally important customers.
The secret sauce of "Customer Service"
Customer service begins at home! - You can't expect employees to provide a superior customer service when they are not being effectively customer serviced themselves. Employees can be trained and taught about customer service, they can even be expected to deliver it, but it will probably be inconsistent, and short-lived, no culture there, just compliance, well, sometimes.
Treat your employees the way you would like them to treat the customers. It's not just about training, and teaching is about caring, respecting, believing, giving, appreciating, recognizing and serving. it is about modeling those behaviors is just a matter of choice, your choice.
Benefits of a Superior Internal Customer Service
Think about you, as the person responsible for a team, a District, a Zone, a Region, how do you show up in the world when you feel respected, appreciated, cared for, believed in, recognized, served? Would I say you show up extremely happy? accomplished? re-energized? motivated? ready to give more? maybe all of the above? your employees are no different from you, and they too are worth it.
So, next time you think about superior customer service experience in your retail locations, think about the status of your superior internal customer service experience, and more importantly:
How are you influencing it?
What behaviors are you modeling?
What message are you sending?
"If you are not serving the customers, your job is to intentional serve someone who is" - JC