World-class service companies have what I like to call a "customer bill of rights" that every person in that organization clearly knows and follows 100 percent of the time. Would you ever expect to see a Disney cast member on break, in full uniform, chewing tobacco and spitting on the ground near the front entrance where guests are walking? Doubtful. Would you ever think a Ritz-Carlton employee, when asked for directions to the ballroom, would respond, "I don't know. I work in housekeeping."? Highly unlikely! One of the most effective ways to elevate your company's customer service level is by instituting your own customer bill of rights.
If anyone is going to wear your uniform or name tag or represent your brand, you need only a small set (6 to 10 actions or standards) for your employees to live by. These non-negotiable standards are also referred to as the "Never and Always" list. The critical importance is that if they do occur, you have to be confident enough that your employees recognize and understand the list and would "never" do this and "always" do that instead.
If your company does nothing other than institute the "never and always" list, makes everyone aware of it, and your customers rarely experience a "never" and consistently experience an "always," then you are in the top 5 percent of customer service organizations! As you read through the list, you will see that they are all simple and commonsense. Yet the majority of businesses and front-line employees too often execute the "Never" list and don't consistently execute the "Always" list.
Ideally, you want a maximum of 10 of each, following these criteria:
Some things you would not see on a "Never and Always" list are things such as "Always be professional" or "Always return calls promptly". Why? Because they are vague. What is professional to one is completely different to someone else. What is "promptly"? To one person it may be two hours; to another it may be two days. Here are three examples:
The second problem with "No problem" is that it sends the message that what the customer is asking is not a problem for the employee. However, when we are serving others, it is not about our convenience, it is about what the customer wants. "No problem" places the staff member's comfort ahead of service to the customer. Customers want to feel that their interests are first and foremost in the mind of the staff member--not that they may have inconvenienced someone by being a customer.
Excellent alternative responses are "Certainly," "My pleasure," "I would be happy to," "Consider it done," and "Absolutely." These responses elevate the professionalism of your employees and start establishing a culture of hospitality where the customer is first.
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