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Improving your business through Service

Why Improve Service?

Do you want business to improve? I think the way to do this is relatively straightforward, and yet it is something that eludes so many businesses.

So many organisations fail to focus on their customers. Last summer I went to our local service station to get my BBQ gas bottle re-filled. The attendant told me he didn't want to serve me. He didn't say this in so many words, but every bit of his body language told me he thought this was a painful task and he would rather not have to deal with me. He sauntered over to me, shoulders hunched. He didn't even bother to greet me. He kept his eyes to the ground.

It was such a painful experience for this attendant to serve me that it made me angry. I will do this service station a favour from now on, and not do any of my business with them any more.


Poor Service Everywhere!

We went to a restaurant recently where we saw a couple enter, sit down and wait... and wait... and leave. Even if the premises were busy (and they weren't), what would it have cost the staff to race over, welcome their guests and inform them they would be with them in a short while?

If we want customers to do business it is in our interest to make them feel good about it.

The secret to successful business is getting customers in the first place, but more importantly, getting their repeat business. 

Getting good service, let alone great service is not all that common. That means a business can set itself apart from its competitors by the quality of its service.


A Key Improvement – Service Standards

The key to improving service is putting in place some service standards for dealing with customers. These standards are bottom line expectations we have for all staff when dealing with customers. An effective way to do this is to get staff involved in generating the standards the business would like to set with respect to the appearance of the premises, how customers are greeted, how we answer the telephone, our appearance, and other relevant aspects of service

Each service standard can be considered by asking staff to consider why it is important, and who has responsibility for it.

In the case of the service station I visited recently, the business would have obviously benefited by having standards in place for greeting customers, like making eye contact, smiling and saying hello. In the case of the restaurant I noted, a relevant service standard for greeting customers could have been to welcome guests within one minute of them sitting down.

Too many organisations think customers are an inconvenient interruption. What would the consequences be of turning such a business around, to a point where it had a reputation of providing fantastic customer service?

 
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