Guest Blog: Looking at your business through customers’ eyes – embracing service excellence

Patti-Rowlson-Lynn-GuilianiIf you are a business owner, manager, or a dedicated employee, don’t you wish everyone thought about your business the way you do? Customers would receive better service, teams would run more smoothly and businesses would be more prosperous if all those representing a company incorporated ownership thinking. This means looking at the business through the customer’s eyes and embracing accountability, efficiency and service excellence. One needs to move beyond a level of normal initiative, and take genuine ownership in the following areas:

• “Your building’s look” I often see an employee walk right past some trash on the floor or near its front door to enter. All representatives need to take ownership in the appearance of their place of work. From parking lot to customer counter we need to see what the customer sees and look through their eyes to exceed expectations.

• “The appearance of your staff-your customer service ambassadors!” Your employees are your brand far more than you realize. It is the service they deliver and their appearance in dress, demeanor, professionalism and genuine concern for the customer that creates that first and lasting impression for the customer. Dress code is always a hot button amongst companies. Why is this? If in fact we are holding our employees accountable and we have a written dress code …simply follow it. This of course must be modeled by leadership first. A professionally dressed staff makes for a great first and lasting impression!

• “Employee actions” All too often customers wait while two co-workers have a conversation about “last night’s date, a joke, perhaps a previous customer’s frustration.” All these actions are observed by customers. The representative is failing to focus on the customer and be dedicated to them. This is one of the most common errors in retail service. We have all experienced it, with varying levels of frustration, as we wait until the co-workers complete their story before providing service to us. Here are some other areas for improvement:

• Chewing gum. (I have yet to meet a good gum chewer! Gum chewing has no place in business.)

• Eating or drinking where customers can see you.

• Applying make-up or any type of personal grooming.

• Personal phone calls.

The above examples are driven by leadership…

• Does staff know what is expected?

• Are they held accountable?

• Are there consequences? Is there a formal coaching program in place at your company? (2-10 minutes daily with each employee).

• Do you have measurable standards of service?

• Are your leaders modeling what is expected so staff see what good looks like?

The great thing about Ownership Thinking is that people love working for a company that embraces it. Why? Because they’re proud! Everyone wants to work for a company that delivers great service, looks professional, and has a clean and tidy appearance. And of course that’s where the customer wants to go too! It’s win-win all the way. I often get my classroom laughing asking “Who wants to get a discount root canal?” or “Do you want heart surgery from a doctor with old furniture and a cranky receptionist?” He could be the best surgeon in town but you want him to look the part!

Put your best foot forward in all aspects and bring in the business.

I started my business over 18 years ago doing mystery shopping. This is a blessing and a curse! One’s expectations are for good service and often disappointed. Once you learn to look at your own business and others through the customer’s eyes your vision will become much broader. This is exactly the type of ownership thinking all employees need to incorporate in order to successfully rise above the others. In today’s market it is only service that will differentiate you from the competition.

• Sales campaigns and promotions. Is your point of sale material and advertising professional and appealing to the eye?

• Might your business be looking cluttered or in disarray?

• If you offer coffee and cookies is the area tidy and clean?

• Are your employees dressed professionally, and well groomed?

Go outside your building and walk in with a new approach and eyes. Look at your business as your customer does.

Ownership thinking also means looking at the business as if it were yours with regard to costs and never being wasteful. If you are an owner reading this you know exactly what I mean. Representatives need to use products as if they were purchasing them from their own sources. I often witness unnecessary waste that the customer fails to recognize or appreciate.

The last area of ownership thinking has to do with self-development. Those that will rise above the others are continually learning. We need to live in the learning zone and make a commitment to add knowledge, experience and new ideas on a regular basis. C-A-N-E-I – Constant And Never Ending Improvement.

Here’s to your success!

Thank you to Lynn Guiliani  of Progressions Inc. Sales Training & Consulting for sharing this article with us!

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