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Are You Scaring Your Best Away?

As the leaves change color and carved pumpkins appear on everyone’s front porch, its time to think deeply about not scaring away your best guests and team members.

Are you ready to deliver for your guests as your business kicks into high gear?  Whether you deal directly with businesses or serve customers in your organization directly, this is a good time to take stock.

I travel about 30 weeks a year – spending many days on the road traveling to speak to organizations. One of the things I like to do with my airline miles is buy into one of the clubs that you may see in the concourses.  I decided this year, as it was time to renew my membership, that I would shop around for the best deal.

Price wasn’t the deciding factor, however.

I cared about a few key features:  Number of locations, access when I was flying alternate airlines, and availability at the airports I frequent most.  For the most part, I can usually get to my current airline club when I fly other airlines, so I use it fairly often.  As I was looking at a competitor’s offering, I was almost ready to pull the trigger and make a change when I noticed that the competing airline will be changing a key policy this year.  Even if you have a membership, you must be flying the airline that day (and have a ticket to prove it) to access the amenities.

That made my decision easy.  As my current provider has no such restrictions pending, and seems more interested in finding ways to allow me to use their services than limit my access, I renewed with them.

So this frankly ridiculous policy scared me away.

This week it’s time to look at things from two different points of view. One of the most important tenants of a service culture is that both the experience of the guest and those who serve them are top priorities to the best organizations.

Let’s begin by thinking about the team experience.

If you scare away your best team members, you’ll find that your culture will begin to erode. Since no one is closer to your guests than your front line team, ensuring their experience is top notch can lead to a Guest experience that is consistent and satisfying.

Now it’s easy to lament that this is management 101. But if that’s the case why are teams so disengaged and service so inconsistent? The answer is straightforward – most folks know this but they either don’t care or can’t be bothered.

Consider these questions:

  1. Are leaders at all levels of your organization looking at their team’s experience? If you lead leaders you must ensure they are engaged and empowered. If you lead front line teams then you must be sure they have the tools and training they need.  Even leaders and managers need to be cared for and led with intentionality.

  2. Have you looked at your team’s experience from start to finish?  Are you making it easy for them to do their jobs and knocking hassles out of their way?  Remember that as a leader you don’t have many responsibilities more important than taking great care of your team.  If you don’t see this as one of your top priorities each day, you may want to re-examine what matters most.

  3. Are you showing gratitude and appreciation for your team’s good works?  If you want to be sure that your team consistently repeats the same actions that delight guests, then be sure that you are recognizing what you want them to continue.

  4. Are you connecting the dots from task to results?  Does your team know the whole story of what you do as a company?  Have you connected what they do each day to the success of the customer and the business?

When you’ve nailed down your internal experience, you can truly deliver for guests.

Think about these questions on the guest side:

  1. Is your business spotlessly clean and professional?  This one should be the first on your list.  Above all, things should be clean and you should always present your most professional face.  If you think that guests don’t notice hand written signs, poor attire, or cobwebs, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  2. Have you scrubbed your policies and eliminated the stupid ones?  Just like what you may see with airlines or cable companies (not all, but many), do you have anything ridiculous that you should eliminate to improve your guests’ experiences?

  3. Do you have processes, policies, or procedures intended to make your life easier (and don’t improve things for your guests)?  This is a classic blunder by organizations.  Don’t fall prey to implementing anything that is designed simply to make make your life easier – it must first improve things for your guests.

  4. Are you delivering a truly great (and consistent experience)?  Is your team trained and empowered to deliver great service?  Do they know what great service looks like?  Do you have standards of service you have trained to?  Have you looked at each step of the guest experience to be sure that it makes sense in terms of seamless delivery?

So stay attuned to both your team and guest experience – they are one and the same.  How you treat your team (and how well they are trained and equipped) will translate into the guest experience they provide.

Have a safe Halloween and remember to treat all your guests, ghosts, and goblins like cherished friend.

Together we serve.


Tony Johnson, CCXP Customer Service Leader | Author |  Speaker

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