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Friday, August 7, 2009

One Reason Ideal Service Often Fails

Well, really, one reason an ideal in any area fails: if we’re not successful right away or shortly after initiating the solution, we often give up and say it doesn’t work.

Let’s get back to service for a minute. I’ve worked with a company that has an outstanding process for providing a world-class customer experience. For this company, it’s the ideal. A lot of research, development, and training have gone into ensuring their customers get the absolute best from the local teams as possible. The problem is often that the staff in these locations doesn’t follow through with how they were trained.

How is that possible? How is it possible that, with all that training and with such a great process, team members aren’t carrying out the ideal?

One of the main reasons I’ve been told is that the process doesn’t work for that particular team or that they tried to make it work, but:

1. “One of the team was on vacation or out sick so it threw everything off.”
2. “The schedule got messed up somehow so we ended up being unprepared for things happening differently than we had practiced.”
3. The list of derailments goes on.

Like I mentioned, once a wrench gets thrown in the works, the staff sometimes jumps to the conclusion that the customer experience process doesn’t work. Well, SNAFUs occur. Things don’t go according to plan. That’s life. Does it mean that if the settings aren’t perfect for the ideal to occur, the ideal isn’t doable anymore? It’s just that the fewer times the staff works to get back to the ideal, the less likely the ideal with ever happen…in any form. Then the teams slide back into mediocrity…for them and their customers.

What can the teams do to ensure they don’t forget the ideal? It comes back to believing. And it comes back to training. And it comes back to measuring. If the teams acknowledge that customer service and the customer experience as defined by their company is the ideal, if they have been trained and measured against that ideal, then they must return to the ideal with every chance they have.

Do you ever see the situation where the ideal gets pitched out by a group because it just isn’t working right now? Have you ever seen “following the ideal” just erode away over time?

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