Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a customer service vision, part of Customer Service Foundations.
We all face various pressures that can make it hard to focus on delighting our customers. Think about the challenges you face in your own daily work. It might be angry customers, difficult coworkers, a tough boss, bad policies, defective products, or even personal problems. We're not supposed to let these things get to us, but it's not easy. We're human. Here's a story that illustrates what I mean. I once walked into a busy fast food restaurant to have lunch with two of my co-workers. This place was hopping. There was a line of people five deep at each cash register and the cars in the drive-thru lane snaked around the building.
I waited patiently until it was my turn to order. My total came to four dollars and five cents, so I handed the cashier a five dollar bill. He took the five dollar bill looked down at it, and then looked back at me and asked, don't you have any change? No I said I just have the five dollars. He gave this tremendous sigh, I hate people like you. The cashier put the $5 in his cash drawer, counted out my change, and then he slammed the coins on the counter. There, now you have some cents! I was too speechless to complain, I just took my order and sat down to eat with my co-workers.
Complaining probably wouldn't do much good anyway, since the whole thing happened right in front of the manager. He was too busy yelling at his employees to work faster, getting in everybody's way, and just generally putting people on edge. So why did the cashier treat me so rudely? If the cashier had ran out of change, he'd have to ask the manager to go get more coins. The manager's already yelling at employees, so asking him to stop what he was doing, and get some change, would probably make things even worse. Meanwhile, the cashier would have to stand at the register with a line of anxious people, unable to do anything until the manager returned.
Giving me 95 cents put the cashier dangerously close to making this happen. This may be an extreme example, but all of us face challenges that can sometimes make it difficult to serve our customers. The most important thing you can do to overcome this is to create what's called a customer service vision. This is a statement that describes the way you want your customers to feel when you serve them. A customer service vision can act like a compass to help point you in the right direction whenever you face a challenging situation.
Let's go back to the fast food restaurant. The cashier didn't want to run out of change and get yelled at by his manager, but what if the cashier also wanted to make sure I had a good experience? Instead of gruffly asking, don't you have any change? He could have asked, do you have a nickle, so I can give you back a crisp dollar bill instead of a handful of coins? I really didn't have a nickel, but I later learned that both my co-workers did. I would have gladly asked one of them if the cashier had approached it that way. The cashier could've avoided running out of change, and he would have made a positive impression instead of a negative one.
If you'd like to create your own customer service vision, I invite to you to download the worksheet that accompanies this course. There are three questions on the worksheet that will help guide you. I'm going to use a popular sporting goods retailer as an example to illustrate how you can do it. The first question, is why does my organization exist? Many organizations have mission statements that can answer this question. See if you can find yours. If yours doesn't have one, think about how your organization as a whole, serves its customers. For my example, the sporting goods retailer exists to help people enjoy the outdoors.
The second question, is how do you personally contribute to your organization's success? Associates at the sporting goods retailer help their customers get the right gear, so they can enjoy the outdoors. The third question is, how do you want your customers to feel about the service you provide? At the sporting goods retailer, associates tell me they want their customers to feel as though having the right gear helped them better enjoy their outdoor adventures. Now, use the answers to those three questions to try to create a one sentence customer service vision.
An associate at the sporting goods retailer might say, I help people get the right gear to enjoy their outdoor adventures. I can see this customer service vision in the service I receive every time I go into one of their stores. The people who help me genuinely want me to succeed in my outdoor adventures.
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- What is outstanding customer service?
- Identifying your customer
- Creating a customer service vision
- Enhancing likability in person, over the phone, and via email
- Actively listening to customers
- Going the extra mile
- Taking ownership of problems
- Diffusing angry customers
- Using data to evaluate and improve your customer service<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.