Hassles and inconveniences are not only dissatisfiers for your Guests, but for your team as well.
When employees have to work too hard to do their jobs they tend to give up. They tend to get frustrated. Then they tend to take that out on their Guests.
Frustrated employees give terrible Customer service and that is just the beginning. They not only mail it in when it comes to service, they also tend to erode your culture and flee in droves. This is all too common in organizations today and can be a terrible drain on organizational effectiveness.
When we ask our teams to “just figure it out,” it sets up a chain reaction that can be detrimental to the entire Guest experience. Most of our teams want to do a great job, but sometimes we just wear them out. When team members have a job to do, but they lack the skills or tools to complete properly, it begins a spiral into lackluster service. If you couple that with missing supplies or lack of time or incomplete instructions, then we are asking them to work even harder to complete their core job duties. Eventually they will just give up and start cutting corners – each employee or manager is different as to how much effort they will put into “figuring it out” before they just throw in the towel. But everyone has a limit.
So that is where we as Leaders must intervene. Whether it be with Front Line Associates or direct report managers, we have to be cognizant of anything that can get in the way of our teams delivering the very best for our Guests. Here are three specific steps to make sure we eliminate hassles that negatively impact our overall Customer service.
ASK YOUR TEAM THE RIGHT QUESTIONS This is where many fall flat. Many times leaders will wave frantically and say “just fix it.” That is all well and good in the moment, but unless you want to fix things over and over again, then you will have to do better than that. We have to ask meaningful and deep questions to get to the bottom of the problem (or root cause) – and often you’ll have to ask many questions to get to the heart of the issue. You may recognize this as the core of the FIVE WHY process – which is the process of asking “why” something is the way it is rather than accepting things at face value. The problem is that folks don’t often dig for the reasons behind the issues. Many times it is because we don’t really want to know what is going on at a deeper level. You have to be prepared for the dirty truth, as things can look fine on the surface, but as you dig you’ll uncover more than you thought you would. You could start questioning a process about why a location never opens on time and end up hearing about leadership issues, mismanagement, or payroll issues. The other part to remember is that you have to listen – there is no reason to ask these deep probing questions and then ignore what your team has to say.
INVOLVE THEM IN SOLUTIONS Once you uncover the root cause, you have to come up with a plan to correct. That may sound basic, but many organizations fail to plan a winning strategy to combat the issues. If you want to remind your team to clean the windows everyday, by all means don’t put together a plan to fix it. Without training, process, and validation there can be no sustained change. The other piece is that if you just feed your team the answers (or do it for them) you’ll either miss the mark with what they need to win or not give them enough ownership of the plan to make it successful. Dumping a plan fully baked into their laps will not help them embrace the change – in fact it could encourage them to actively rebel against it. It is much harder to ignore a process that you helped to create, so make sure that when it is time to problem solve for solutions that everyone has a place at the table. Ask for you teams opinion and make sure that the best ideas (not just your ideas) make it into the final plan. Be honest with yourself, you’ll never think of everything on your own, so harnessing the horsepower of the entire team will help you create a plan that leads to sustained improvement.
ADVOCATE FOR YOUR TEAM Sometimes your team needs an advocate. This could be a budget infusion for training; it could be infrastructure improvements; it could also be a policy that is getting in the way of success. Whatever it might be, sometimes as leaders we have to go to bat for our teams. This is never comfortable when you have to jump into the fray with your supervisors or the bureaucracy of a large organization, but your team will appreciate it. Not only can this lead to change that will benefit your team, but it can also increase their respect for you. When you stand up for them it shows you have sincere care for them and that builds loyalty to you and your mission. It also just plain feels good to your team and that will translate into kinder service to your Guests. One of your key jobs as a leader is knock nonsense, obstacles, and hassles out of the way so your team can focus on what matters – serving Guests well!
Starting tomorrow make time in your day to eliminate hassles and inconveniences for your team.
Remember that associates and leaders alike have a limited amount of discipline and can become frustrated quickly when obstacles they perceive as silly get in the way of them doing their jobs effectively.
The flip side of this coin is that well-trained team members with minimal hassles are much more likely to deliver consistently great service and treat their Guests like cherished friends.
Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker
Order my book: RECIPE FOR SERVICE Available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Recipe-Service-Inspire-Deliver-Customer/dp/0986391204