Customer Service: It’s All Relative

Customer Service: It’s All Relative

Apr 24, 2015

By Angela Megasko

The words you use to market your business are powerful, yet I bet some of those words are creating a customer service nightmare for you

Fast service. Courteous employees. Clean environment. Easy online payment.

The terms “fast, courteous, clean, easy” and so many of the other adjectives we use to promote our organizations are all relative. Their definitions can be as broad as the audience following you or buying your products and services.

Fast service may mean that your service technician is at your house to fix the hot water heater within the hour. To another consumer, if the technician gets there in 24 hours, the service can be considered speedy.

Courteous employees to me are those who smile, make eye contact, and ask with sincerity if they can help me. To another consumer, a courteous employee may be one who is simply present in the aisle of the store.

A clean environment is organized, dusted and well lit. If we are talking about a restaurant, the tabletops are wiped down and the floors are without crumbs and debris. If we are talking about a restroom, it would be well stocked with paper products, smell of cleaning liquids, have operational fixtures and dry countertops. Of course, there may be others out there who have standards even higher than these.

The easy online payment is yet another of those relative terms you may be using in your marketing plan that is getting you into trouble. If you are 81 years old and buying something online for the first time, easy is probably not the way you would describe your experience.

Using these adjectives can make it difficult for your employees to serve. It’s one of the reasons it is so important to create standards of operation, and use them as the basis of how shoppers will evaluate you in your mystery shopping program.

Creating standards will create a path to success for your employees.

When you coach your staff, coach them according to the standards you create. Be clear with behavioral examples; share stories of success when the standards were followed; and cite the reasons why the organization needs standards to operate. When employees learn that these guidelines exist for their ultimate success, compliance follows.


Customer Service: It’s All Relative