It should be made clear that you expect all your employees to go above and beyond, that this is a company policy, not an individual initiative.Â Set standards and then ask the employees suggestions on how to exceed them.
Ask yourself these questions about expectations and reality:
Once you have have asked those questions, the answers should tell you a good deal about your dedication, commitment, and procedure. Consider these answers:
Obviously, this varies from business to business, but there are some constants in all aspects of a customer-oriented business plan. Everyone who contacts any business deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy, to be spoken to as an intelligent human being, to be served as promptly as physically possible, and to be sure that the person serving his or her needs is dedicated to the same goal as the customer. If the customer has a problem, the employee serving that customer must consider it his problem until it is successfully solved.
This can be answered best with the implementation of a mystery shopper.Â A person who walks into the business unrecognized, presents himself or herself as a customer, goes through every aspect of customer service, and then reports in detail on the experience can be invaluable to the successful business.Â It’s no good if the employees know that someone will be judging them and reporting back – they will only engage in atypical behavior that will not give you an accurate picture of your operation.Â Once you know what you business is providing, you can fix broken windows and work on what you should be providing.
Often the worst broken windows are people.Â Employees who do not get the idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, who won’t “get with the program,” who can’t push themselves beyond the abysmal standard we have set for ourselves in this society, have no place in a progressive, aggressive business. They need, quite frankly, to shape up or ship out. Get them out before they sink the business.
There had better be. If you’re not doing everything you possibly can to make the customer’s experience as satisfying and rewarding as it can be, you’re not doing all you should do. And there are very few businesses indeed that are doing all they can do.Â It’s a whisker shy of impossible.Â So think outside the box and consider what you can do that your competitors and others in related industries are not doing, and if it has a benefit to the customers you serve, try it. In most cases, you’ll find that customers will react favorably.
In most cases, there is very little or no cost in doing things the right way and getting noticed for it.Â How much does it cost for each employee to smile? How much does it cost for an employee to take a sense of responsibility for each problem he or she is presented? If an employee can’t smile, even for minimum wage, you have the wrong employee, period.
The mystery shopper can tell you if your employees are doing what you hope they will do – going above and beyond the call.Â Motivation is another story. Do the employees see a reward in doing things the right way? Are they being recognized for their extra effort (and I don’t just mean an Employee of the Month plaque on the wall)?
Make yourself visible to the employees. Make sure they know that this is a company plan, something that comes from the top and stops at every level down to the person who empties the wastebaskets. It’s imperative that your employees understand the benefits of exceeding expectations, and why you expect it to work.
You, as the employer, set the example. If you own a small business, you probably have some contact with customers yourself.Â You must go above and beyond in order for your employees to understand the importance of the concept.Â If you are an executive in a larger company,you might not have the kind of contact you once did with the end user.Â You have to use mystery shoppers and occasionally go to the sales floor or the customer service area yourself. See what’s going on and formulate strategies.
Ask your employees for suggestions, but don’t rely on them to the exclusion of your own ideas.Â Be innovative, creative, and open to ideas.Â only then can you exceed the expectations that anyone walking into your business might logically have.
The proceeding is an excerpt from Broken Windows Broken Business.