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Customer Service with a Critical Eye: 4 Tips to Guide Your Path

Sometimes it pays to head out and take a walk.

In earlier posts, we have discussed Owning Your Dirt and how that can translate into success. The old adage of Management by Walking Around is a wise one – but make sure that the W stands for Walking with purpose rather than aimlessly Wandering. Too often when Leaders walk through their business they don’t keep eyes wide open for items that can really drive quick and noticeable improvement for their Customers.

The fact of the matter is that you have to develop those active visual skills to make you successful. There is no substitute for the critical eye of a well-developed Leader on a well-worn flight plan.

CLEAN ATTIRE IS PRICE OF ENTRY: Whether you have a standard uniform or simply a policy of business attire, you have to keep an eye on excellence here. Make sure that folks are dressed for success – and that doesn’t mean expensive. It means professional, neat, and appropriate. If you do have standard attire, then make sure everyone is wearing all the pieces and that they fit well. Please don’t consider a name badge beneath you or any member of staff. Wear them with pride and make sure that everyone is in lock step here. This cannot be a front line associate only mandate – if you want your team to wear them without fail, then Leaders must set a good example here as well.

NOTHING IS BENEATH NOTICE: Making sure your magazines aren’t out of date in the waiting room or keeping window sills free of dust is no less important than making sure that your product is amazing and your staff is friendly. Folks may not notice if your windows are clean but they sure will notice if they are absolutely filthy. Remember that when your Customers see deep attention to the tiny details they will assume that you are paying even greater attention to the big things. If you are in healthcare or running a restaurant, you never want your Guests worried about what might be going on behind the scenes. So keep your plants alive and your parking lot litter free, and they’ll assume that all is well throughout the operation.

STOP AND TALK TO THE TEAM: Its fine to think that you are super smart, but never believe that you have all the answers. In most cases, Leaders spend way too much time doing “fly bys” in their business rather than truly engaging with the team. If you want to solve problems more quickly, stop wasting time convincing your team of the mission, and get to the solution straight away, take the time to listen to your Front Line Associates. They have the deepest and most direct connection to your Customers, so it stands to reason that they understand their needs best. Take the time here to get to know your team and develop a rapport that will lead to trust. When your team trusts you, they will definitely want to help you win – and that means they’ll share all that great information with you. So stop in the morning and talk to your team. And no that doesn’t mean shouting a good morning greeting as you sprint to your office. It won’t kill you, and in fact, chances are you’ll find that you have some delightful people on your team. Get to know them and let them know you. . . it will be rewarding and informative.

DON’T WALK BY PROBLEMS: When you are out in your business you are going to find things that need addressing. There are going to be issues to be solved and Customers who need a hand. Set a great example by jumping in to help. Not only will this help fuel a sense of respect from your team, but it will make sure that your Customers enjoy a great experience. But there is another side to that coin. If you speak passionately about the need for cleanliness and you walk by something in need of a good scrubbing, your credibility is shot. The same is true if you neglect Customers, don’t wear your name tag, or ignore safety – good luck getting your team to buy in when they know you don’t care enough to set a good example. When you show a deep commitment to your principles and enforce them (even if that means jumping in to take action yourself), your team will respect that and help you pull the rope in that direction. This is also a great time to get your direct report managers involved as well. Encourage them to lead a walk through your business and listen to what they have to say. Not only will their fresh set of eyes help call attention to items you may have overlooked, but you can help them develop that critical eye we discussed earlier.

Overall, there is no substitute for keeping a watchful eye on your business. Let’s face it, most of our front line team members want to do a great job, but you can’t leave the Customer experience to chance.

It takes the entire team to deliver amazing Customer service, and that means Front line Associates and Leaders working together. Help your team keep a close eye on standards and work to break down any barriers that might be endangering a consistently great experience.

Until next time, keep a tight eye on your business and treat your Customers like cherished friends.


Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker

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