This past week while doing some strategy work with a client, we attempted to order in lunch. We quickly found a local establishment online that clearly stated “we deliver.” After identifying our menu choices my client gave them a call to which I was fortunate enough to overhear. Here is how the conversation began:
Client: I would like to order lunch however I just want to confirm that you deliver?”
Restaurant employee: [long pause] “Can you call back in 20 minutes?”
Client “Why? Will you be able to deliver shortly?
Restaurant employee: [another pause] “I’m not sure, I have to ask my delivery driver when he returns in 20 minutes.”
My client promptly thanked the employee and hung up. We ordered lunch from another establishment.
It only takes one employee to make or break your most valued customer relationships. We’ve all experienced exceptional customer service which influenced our desire to return to the establishment, and possibly even refer others. On the contrary I’m sure you’ve also sat through less than stellar, or even painful customer experiences that cemented your desire never to return to the establishment again.
When you manage within or run a business it’s easy to loose track of what your employees are doing. The larger the business, the greater the distance between you and your employees daily actions. I call this the value distance; your employees bridge the gap between the value you are attempting to deliver to customers, and the value you actually deliver to customers.
Relative to your own value distance, consider ways to monitor and improve the value your customers are experiencing with the following:
- Periodically shop your business to understand what your customers are experiencing.
- Test your employees on how to interact with customers, especially irate or frustrated customers.
- Continuously provide feedback and ideas to employees on how to minimize the value distance.
Question: Are your shopping your business to assess the value distance? What ideas, feedback and training are you providing to support employees in best serving your customers?
© Shawn Casemore 2014. All rights reserved.
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