Getting feedback is so important from customers. Can we agree on that? In most cases, leaders that care are nearly begging to hear from their customers. When we get this opportunity, we must take advantage of it.
In many cases, front line staff receive the feedback from the customers. In Eric Chester’s great book Getting Them to Give a Damn: How to Get Your Front Line to Care about Your Bottom Line, he talks about the importance of leaders being able to relate a work situation to something more personal to the employee.
In this post, I wanted to focus on the importance of taking good messages. Since most of my front line staff are college students working in a Recreation Center, I will connect it to what is important in their lives. We are continuing to work on these techniques with our staff so part of our brand is responsiveness and correction.
Many times, customers will come up to our service counters and say something like “there is a treadmill not working properly”. I have heard staff respond in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:
- Nothing but a stare. You can see the wheels spinning for the staff, what could they be thinking? “So.” “Why are you telling me?” “Is this my job?”
- “Thank you. I will let someone know about it.”
We cannot accept that a staff’s polite response is enough. None of these staff responses are moving toward resolving the issue that was the source of the feedback. I would like to see this interaction expanded upon into the following:
- “Thank you for letting me know ma’am” (if the staff can address by name, even better!).
- “I want to make sure this gets fixed. Let me get a sheet of paper to write down the information.”
- “What treadmill was it (if they don’t know the number, ask the customer “Do you have a moment to show me the machine you were using?”
- “What was not working properly?” “Was it doing this the entire time you used it?” Get detailed information.
- “I will let my supervisor know about this immediately. Would you like a follow up regarding this?” (even better, staff know the customers name and they follow up on their own, see my recent blog on Owning the Customer) Get the customer’s name and PREFERRED way to contact them.
- “We will work to get this corrected, thank you for letting us know.”
WOW! A customer that hears this AND then the issue is taken care of is going to be impressed with the responsiveness of your brand. Here is an example of how to relate it to a staff person’s personal life (especially a Gen Y person/Millenial).
Joe is graduating in two months, and has been actively looking for gainful employment. He lives with a roommate named Frank, who is a knucklehead who only thinks of himself. He has heard Joe mention he is looking for a job, but Frank didn’t really listen and doesn’t really care (Why did Joe chose to live with Frank anyway? That’s another topic).
Joe recently had an interview with a local employer, who is a diligent recruiter and bases her hiring decisions in part by doing research to see what kind of person she has interviewed. This recruiter goes to Joe’s house, but he is in class. Frank is on his front porch drinking beer at 10a in his underwear. The recruiter is taken aback, but she regains her composure and asks Frank if Joe is here. Here is how the conversation unfolds:
- Frank: “No he isn’t.”
- Recruiter: “Do you know when he will be home?”
- Frank: “Nope.”
- Recruiter: “Can you tell Joe Suzanne from Bob Evans Corporate Office was here?”
- Frank: “Yup”
The recruiter leaves her business card with Frank and takes off. Frank passes out on the porch and the wind kicks up and blows the business card into oblivion. Joe comes home and Frank wakes up.
- Joe: “What’s going on?”
- Frank: “Someone was here to see you. Some lady in a business suit.”
- Joe: “Who was it? What did she want?”
- Frank: “She said she was from some corporate office. She gave me her card, but I don’t know where it is.”
- Joe: “I interviewed with three women at the career fair. Is this all you know?”
- Frank: “Yup. Is it important bro?”
- Joe: “Yes it is you worthless waste of space.”
If Frank was interested in serving his “customers” Joe and Suzanne, he would have taken a detailed message. Instead, Joe may have missed the opportunity he was looking for. Every action or inaction has a subsequent “butterfly effect” that moves on down the line.
I hope you enjoyed this post, have a great day!
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–Click here for my book review of Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas
-If interested in having me work with your organization, please call me at 513.330.0319 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.