brand promise, competitive advantage, Customer Service, differentiation, good will creation, Memorability, Uncategorized, User experience

Why You Should Remind & Require Employees to “Do Your Job” and Do It Well

In my last blog post, “In Praise of Praise”, I shared my thoughts about how, in this day and age of “digital sharing”, an organization’s success or failure may be very dependent on customers’ online reviews/ratings. The same success-failure relationship holds true for an organization’s customer service quality, which, of course, individuals likely take into consideration when reviewing or rating an organization online. As a marketer, I’ve always believed prompt, effective, exemplary, and customer-satisfying customer service delivery is an organization’s most important marketing tactic and a marketing “no-brainer” along with having an effective website that is optimized for SEO. In very competitive markets, where there is little differentiation between products or services offered, it often is the one and only true differentiator.

I’ve also always been a big stickler when it comes to doing your job and doing it well — this includes having high expectations of myself as well as my co-workers, and thus, my always wanting to deliver outstanding work, both in corporate and consulting roles. I’ll never forget how, while employed at my very first permanent post-college job in a prominent bank’s corporate banking area, it was noted in my review as a criticism that I had too high or unreasonable expectations of co-workers. I couldn’t understand that being a negative trait at the time, and I still don’t comprehend why it was a perceived as a weakness that I would voice a concern to my manager whenever staff in the Bank’s wire transfer area messed up a transfer for the Bank’s biggest corporate customer — whose relationship I and my boss managed.

DO YOUR JOB

Fellow Bostonians and fans of the New England Patriots are sure to be familiar with the “Do Your Job” command associated with Coach Bill Belichick in recent years. I’ve been thinking about this statement a great deal lately, primarily because I have had, or friends and family have shared with me, so many recent experiences where individuals didn’t, had to be pushed to, or refused to do their job. It seems like it’s becoming more and more common for individuals to:

  • deliver slow or no service
  • express through body language or spoken language that they’re annoyed that they have to serve or help you, or that you asked them to serve or help you
  • ask you to self-serve or do their job for them
  • be immersed in their cell phone and not their job
  • continue talking with their co-workers when they see you standing at the counter or in line waiting to be helped

A couple examples of the above. Earlier in the week, my husband and I visited a popular and busy museum in New York City. The individual working at the coat check did not speak to us at all when we came to pick up my coat and bag, despite having chatted quite a bit with us when we dropped them off. Instead, she was very slow to get up out of her chair and get our things for us, and seemed very irritated that she had to do so. The fact that she had spoken with us previously meant there wasn’t any kind of language barrier getting in the way of her communicating with us. Therefore, she could have said “thanks” when we handed her our token and ticket to pick up the items, wished us “a good evening” as it was late in the day, or commented or asked about our visit or about our returning to the Museum. Even a smile would have gone a long way with us.

A family member recently needed help with a technical issue he was having with some software. He couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t able to get the software to function right, despite numerous attempts to use it to accomplish a necessary task. Instead, he was asked to do an extensive amount of trouble-shooting and rework on his end by the software company, when the individual with whom he was interacting could have easily identified the glitch/helped him resolve the issue. Basically, he was being asked to self-serve. And — I know I’m stating the obvious — that’s a common occurrence right now. We’re being asked now to regularly self-serve at checkout lines at the grocery store or pharmacy when we purchase products, and even self-serve related to services we receive.  And, even some smaller shops have implemented such technology.

Sure there are times when it’s helpful or quicker for customers to be able to self-serve, but I don’t believe that individuals should ever be forced to self-serve, and if we have to self-serve, shouldn’t we receive some kind of product or service price discount? Self service should be just one of several service options offered to customers. By offering self-service, organizations may believe their customers will be more satisfied, and in some cases, that may be true, but the organization also misses out on the opportunity for an individual to rave about the exceptional/outstanding/world-class service they received — service that may be the deciding factor in whether they return to a store location or use a particular service again, or the deciding factor among those with whom a client shares information about your organization’s service level.

patriots

So, what are the marketing and management implications of all of the above?

  • Managers of front line staff need to regularly conduct an assessment of how those customer-facing staff are doing their jobs and if they are doing it well via:
    • service surveys conducted of customers — I’m going to give a shout-out to the Lucerne Hotel in NYC — because they recently surveyed me with an online tool at the beginning of my stay and after my stay. Way to stay on top of any possible customer service issues!
    • hiring a mystery shopper to provide customer service experience feedback if your organization has one or several storefronts or locations where individuals receive face-to-face/in-person service from an employee
    • customers reviews posted on Facebook, Yelp, Google, and any other rating/review sites that might be relevant to your particular industry
    • other tactics, such as listening in on a staff member’s phone call with a customer (this should not be done without the staff member being aware of it, of course, or at least aware that, at any point, you might might be listening in on a customer call)
  • Organizations should ask themselves whether ALL of their target audiences/customers will welcome having to self-serve. If the answer is “no,” and there are customer or prospective client audiences who likely won’t welcome self-service, then a service option where an organization’s employees assists or waits on customers is required.

I’d so welcome hearing your thoughts and experiences related to being the victim of someone’s unwillingness to do their job or being forced to self-serve. So, please do share!

Uncategorized

In Praise of Praise

One of the digital marketing needs I’ve been helping clients with lately is “Reputation Management” — how to respond to reviews/ratings/comments (both positive and negative) on various online review vehicles and how to best encourage customers and employees to share positive reviews and ratings if they are happy with your services or products, or with working for your organization.

Obviously, the easiest and best way to avoid having negative reviews posted about your organization is to provide outstanding customer service and exceptional products, and to treat your employees well. Nonetheless, the former doesn’t always make you online-attack-proof. Sometimes, despite all efforts to provide a good work environment and company culture, an employee may post his or her unhappy experience with your organization on a site like Glassdoor, or a dissatisfied customer may post a scathing review on your Facebook page, Google My Business profile, or some other rating/review vehicle specific to the type of product or service you offer, or industry in which you participate.

As mentioned above, your best defense is a good offense. Providing exceptional customer and employee experiences will minimize the number of poor online reviews your organization will receive. But, developing and executing an ongoing reputation management plan that proactively solicits positive feedback on review/rating vehicles from clients and employees to off-set any future negative reviews is another great defensive play. It’s like “insurance” runs or goals in the world of sports. It’s a great cushion to have in the game of online reviews.

Your reputation management plan should include the following:

  • audiences from whom you think you’d receive a positive review/rating
  • online rating/review vehicles on which you’d like the above audiences to post
  • timing of outreach to various audiences and means of outreach, i.e., e-mail, text, snail mail, social media, etc. to ask for online review completions

Sing-It-Loud-Sing-Praises-Clip-Art-Hoard-Preview-1

While some may think it’s not right or fair to solicit positive online feedback from others because it distorts what should be organic results, we disagree. As long as you don’t incentivize customers or employees to rate/review you, or lead them to believe you will penalize them in some way for not rating/reviewing you positively or for posting negative reviews/ratings, we think it makes perfect sense to outreach to satisfied customers and employees to share their thoughts.

The fast pace of our world means individuals often don’t make/take the time to sing the praises of an organization with whom they are happy — hence, why we titled our post “In Praise of Praise.” Individuals often only post reviews/ratings if they are dissatisfied with an organization. If this blog post encourages one person to take the time to write a positive Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook, or other review, then we’ve accomplished our mission.

In the spirit of the above, we always welcome the sharing of positive thoughts about the services we’ve provided:  https://tinyurl.com/yy8ml4hw

We’re always here to speak to you about your unique reputation management dynamics, and how we might help you address your organization’s particular online reputation challenges and opportunities. Learn more about some of the reputation management services that Results Communications and Research offers.