Archive for January, 2012

Customer Service Consistency

Good Customer Service? – It depends how you sing it

An experiment – Please sing the Eagles ‘Hotel California’ from the first verse (you may get some ‘what the…?’ looks if people are nearby). I’ll get you started… “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…” How far did you get before the words became a tad ‘ad-lib’? Please continue the experiment and get some of your team to sing it. How was their version? Were the words, harmony, tempo the same as yours?

So how do you think it would sound if you all got together and tried singing it at the same time with different words / harmony / tempo? Not pleasant I’m guessing. The problem is, all you had to work with was a song title – albeit a very popular song title (for anyone over 35 that is).

Here are some other very popular ‘song titles’. Customer Service – Safe work practices –Good work environment. They are all very popular (i.e. we hear them frequently) however I bet you are dealing with the gap of these songs being ‘sung’ in often very different ways by different people. And what happens when customers experience varying levels of service, or not all the team contribute to a good work environment?

A more fitting word for these ‘song titles’ is Standards. And the key to getting greater consistency in the delivery of these Standards is to provide your team with more than just the title. Instead of just telling team members (new and existing) that they need to provide ‘great customer service’, give them sufficient detail / examples / coaching etc. so they begin to understand how this song is played here. Otherwise the only reference point they will have is how they were allowed to play it at their last workplace.

Our clients are very clever – they document all their Standards and then have their teams regularly review, challenge and improve them. And when these companies sing, it truly is music to their customer’s ears…

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin

Actual to Ideal

Close the Gap

Finding and keeping the right people

“There are no good people to hire!”…. Bull$#!t!!

This month I was invited to speak at a state conference in the Kimberley. The topic was one of the most contentious facing virtually every employer, in particular those in regional and remote WA… ‘How to attract and retain the right people onto your bus’.

Those attending were delightful people, but they did not hold back with their beliefs of ‘There aren’t any good people out there!’ They were however quite open to my reply ‘Of course there’s good people out there! They are just on someone else’s bus…’ Their next concern was equally as common as their first – ‘But how do we attract them when the resource sector offers so much money?’

I had them complete a short survey where they each prioritised a list of 10 employee motivators. The list included money, security, work environment etc. and was taken from research that has been conducted repeatedly over the past 50 years.

The room was made up predominantly of management. And predominately they listed these as their top 4

  1. Money
  2. Job Security
  3. Career advancement
  4. Good conditions

However what the research shows and what my experiences reinforce, is that this is what employees want most

  1. Appreciation
  2. A feeling of ‘being in on things’
  3. Sympathetic help with personal issues
  4. Job security

(Money ranked 5th) The question I posed to them was this – ‘Can you provide the 4 things employees want most and support that with a good income and opportunities for them to be paid what they are worth?’ (e.g. KPIs tied to bonuses) Overwhelmingly, they agreed.

If ‘colossal incomes’ is a battle you can’t win, why fight it? Particularly when you may not need to fight that battle to wind up with a win – for all concerned.

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin

Actual to Ideal

Close the Gap