In September last year, my favourite blogger, Seth Godin, wrote a great article he called “One at a time. Over and over.”
In it, Seth spoke to the fact that it doesn’t matter to the customer that you’re serving right now; that they are 100th customer for you that day, that you have dozens of other things that you have to do or that last week you got an awesome online review. In that moment, to that customer, there’s just this one experience that they are having right now.
And that’s what happens. Over and over. Again and again. One at a time.
At Human Experience we spend every day measuring the execution of our client’s service and sales standards.
The organisations we work with are the brave ones, because they are willing to proactively seek feedback from an objective third party. They are committed to improving and maintaining their standards to get better business results. One at a time, our shoppers go in and assess their service delivery and one a time we send the reports off. Over time, our regular reports provide incredible insight into what is happening on a larger scale and where improvements need to be made.
Late last year I had a phone call from one of our clients. She explained to me that she was feeling frustrated and challenged by the fact that on the 3 most recent mystery shopping reports, her team had scored zero on their ‘Acknowledgement’. The service standard she was referring to was that every customer should be acknowledged within 30 seconds of entering her store. The acknowledgement may be as simple as a staff member making eye contact, smiling, giving a verbal hello or asking the customer a question.
She explained to me that when watching the customer interactions back on CCTV her team always had a reason for why the person was not acknowledged; they had just come off the back of a really busy period, they had just dealt with a particularly tricky customer, they were having a bad day because of issues at home.
I listened to my client. I asked her if she wanted to change her service standard around acknowledgement. She said no, she really wanted her customers to be greeted within 30 seconds. And so, I told her that she needed to find a way to communicate and coach her team that this service standard is critical to their success and that it’s a non-negotiable.
It’s at that point I remembered Seth’s article, I forwarded it to her, and we read it together. We spoke about how it didn’t matter to the customer walking into the store how busy the staff were just before they walked in, or that the last customer was hard work or even that one of the team were having a bad day.
In the moment with that customer in front of you, service is only about what’s happening for them there and then. Service is about doing that, over and over again. Not just some of the time but every single time, all of the time.
I’m interested to see how this client goes, if anyone can shift the behaviour of a team, I believe she can.
In its most simplistic form, service is about standards and consistency. It’s not sexy. And while it’s simple, it’s certainly not easy.
If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
I wonder what your team are doing?