Employee Engagment: A Leadership Series
Number Five of More than Seven (probably Nine or Ten)
Approximate reading time: 2 minutes
In This issue:
- Managing Involvement - Speedy Analysis
- Rob's Corner - Invest in Employee Learning
- Public Workshops
- More Original Content from FSTD : Current Blog Posts
- Beta Testers Needed: Online Choice Analysis Workshop Nearing Completion
Last week’s tip was, “If finding the superior solution is essential, be absolutely certain you have all the information required before you even think about choosing the course of action without involving your team!” This week we’ll look at a phenomenon know as “Speedy Analysis”.
The Speedy Analysis guideline kicks in if finding the “one best” course of action is essential...the course of action chosen does make a difference but you, the leader, do not have enough information to successfully choose the best course of action alone, and you do not know what information is missing and/or how to get it. For the Speedy Analysis guideline not to apply, the leader must know exactly what information is missing and exactly how to get it.
If the leader must knows exactly what information is missing and exactly how to get it, then the leader can go to the team member(s) who have the information and get it.
On the other head, if the leader does not know exactly what information is missing AND / OR exactly how to get it. The Speedy Analysis gudline applies. Notice that the guideline specifies “AND / OR”. If either one is “lacking”, the guideline applies. When the Speed Analysis guideline applies the leader should assemble the entire team, or as many team members as are available, in one place to expedite gathering the missing information.
Getting the team all together at once is the heart of the Speedy Analysis guideline. Why, you might ask. Let’s go back to the “AND / OR” to see why. If the leader does not know either what is missing or how to get it and kicks into the one-on-one mode, the situation becomes, take your pick:
|A shot in the dark
Luck of the draw
|Toss of the dice
Let’s say there are 10 people on the leader’s team. The leader, in the one-on-one mode goes to team member one, no luck. No luck with member two. And so on. If the leader is really unlucky, he or she will not get the needed information until he or she asks member ten, and that assumes a team member has it. If the team is all together you get the needed information on the first try, or find you need to go outside the team to get it. Bet you are starting to suspect why this is called the Speedy Analysis guideline!
Today’s tip should come as no surprise. If you don’t know either what information is missing or how to get it, assemble the team and ask them as a group. Next week we’ll start to look at participation as a key ingredient in commitment.
Musings on Customer Service
Many companies are now singing the right tune;
some are simply a bit off key
My family and I went to eat at a local restaurant. Sponsored by a well-established fast food chain, this restaurant is a pilot: the company is seeking to appeal to more of the sit-down crowd, and we are in one of the test markets. The parent chain has a competitive advantage compared with most fast-food companies: they have for years made customer service a priority. Each customer interaction is designed to tell the customer "we value you." This new restaurant shares that emphasis.
Our waitress was pleasantness itself. Smiling, easy with words, prompt. Remembered our order. Checked back in periodically to see how we were, but didn't hover. And more. All good.
Yet, every time we thanked her, her response was, invariably, "my pleasure!" Same exact sing-song delivery each time. By about the fourth time, it had gotten under my skin. I grumbled about it to my wife. She accuses me of being overly picky at times, and I suppose that there is some truth to this statement.
What I was expressing was, in actuality, a minor degree of disappointment. When really great customer service is received, the message that is heard, and one that makes me feel really good, is "you are important. I care about you." Now I know that this is, in some respects, a charade, that companies and the individuals who work in them and who serve me are driven by a profit motive. Each and every time.
And really great customer service - World Class Service - is only possible when the company rep actually does care. When the company has really considered how it structures the total buying experience, and how that experience is perceived by the customer. It is obvious when internal systems have been put in place to support the company rep as she serves the customer. Training is part of that - how to engage the customer, how to respond at various points, etc.
Our waitress was obviously well trained ... in one sense, a bit too well trained. She was taught to say those two words verbatim as the only correct response to a customer's "thank you." From both a service and a communications standpoint, she should have been taught to express genuine appreciation every time a customer thanks her, to acknowledge the customer each and every time, but to use any of a variety of phrases (for example, you're welcome, no problem, absolutely, no - thank you, etc.) to express that sentiment. Then it wouldn't risk appearing "canned."
On a related note, a recent Wall Street Journal article ("Customer Service as a Growth Engine," 7 June 2010) detailed the efforts of three companies - Walgreen Co, Comcast Corp, and American Express Co. to improve customer service. These companies are making important process improvements: they now measure customer issues resolved rather than number of calls processed per hour. (See our case study here to see how we assisted a telecom client with the exact same issue ... back in the early 90s).
But again, in seemingly minor ways, some of the companies are missing the boat. To quote the article, "Rather than answering a call by saying "Thank you for calling," agents now say: "How is your day going?"
As in my restaurant experience, the words that this company is training its people to say hit my ear as script. I KNOW THAT I KNOW THAT I KNOW THAT YOUR REPS DON'T CARE A FLIP ABOUT MY DAY. Nor do I expect them to care about that. I do expect them to engage with me on the human level, to hear me, and to take responsibility for getting my needs met.
This isn't rocket science. Your customer wants to feel genuinely valued. If you don't know what that means in their eyes, ask them. As for our waitress, she did receive full gratuity because she and her company were really trying to provide (and in most aspects, did provide) great service. They just need to think more carefully how the words they train their people to say are actually perceived by the customer.
Customer service is increasingly a key differentiator. Almost 7 in 10 americans switched at least one provider in 2009 due to poor customer service, according to the WSJ article quoted above. How would your customers grade your company on its service? Would you "receive full gratuity"?
- Trouble Shooting Logic
- August 24-26, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- September 20-22, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- October 25-27, 2010, Atlanta, G
- The Sales CODE, September 14-15, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Performance Coaching, September 23-24, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Mastering Involvement, October 28, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Trouble Shooting Logic Train-the-Trainer (T3), November 8-19, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Openers, Initiatives and Low Elements - November 30-December 1, 2010, Utica, MS
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Trust, Low Ropes, High Ropes and AlpineTower - December 2-3, 2010, Utica, MS