Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Be Our Guest!

Thomas Peterson is quoted as saying ““The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people.”

Think about how we treat our guest. We make sure the house is clean. We stock the bathroom with amenities and make sure we have good food on hand. We plan activities for them. And we do all of that before they arrive. When we finally get that knock on the door, we welcome them with open arms and a smile. If they have a request we didn’t anticipate, we do what we can to accommodate it. We do these things even when we aren’t crazy about the person visiting!

So what does this look like one the job. Well, the anticipation phase would require us anticipating the questions and requests that come in most often and preparing ourselves to answer them. This could mean everything from having the right software open and/or directions for how to complete a task to rehearsing what you’ll say when the system is down or running poorly. It may even involve finding other ways to complete a task.

We also want to be prepared to answer that ringing phone with the same enthusiasm we would answer the door for a guest. Okay, we are humans not robots so maybe we aren’t quite THAT enthusiastic. However, we always want to be professional and courteous. And for goodness sake, we never want to answer the phone as if we are dreading that visit!

The second half of his statement involves treating employees like people. People are people and not machines. This means, from a management perspective, expecting bad days … they happen. People get sick, the have emergencies and sometimes they just get up on the wrong side of the bed. This doesn’t excuse poor treatment of customers, but in these cases a little bit of understanding can go a long way.

Also when it comes to improving production remember the horse. There is a carrot as well as a stick. Constantly cracking the whip and making all sorts of demands will only go so far. Use the carrot sometimes. This doesn’t always mean a monetary reward. It could mean stopping by and asking someone how things are going or sending an email to let people know how well someone is doing or of a particularly great customer service experience they created.

For co-workers, it means that you don’t have to love or even like all of your co-workers but that you treat them with the respect you would like to be treated with. Keep gossip about co-workers to a minimum as well as complaints. Likewise, give the kind of help to your teammates that you’d like to receive.