Advance Performance | “Should great service be measured by numbers?” by Nick Bishop
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“Should great service be measured by numbers?” by Nick Bishop

“Should great service be measured by numbers?” by Nick Bishop

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Pick up any company journal and you will see claims similar to the following:-

  • We guarantee that you won’t wait longer than two minutes
  • 95% of our customers come back to us because of our service
  • We won’t transfer you to an outsourced “Contact Centre”
  • We deal with 80% of your enquiries at the first point of contact

In essence, our measure of service is based on a management KPI or business intervention as opposed to actually delighting a customer at each point of contact.  Ironically, some measures can be counterproductive to class leading service as they drive the wrong behaviours.

The model at checkout used by Lidl is to measure and reward performance by speed of items processed.  The implementation of “self-scan” checkouts has further reduced customer interaction and the chance to be that “friendly smiling face.”

Recently I visited Waitrose and momentarily stood in an aisle as I checked my shopping list.

“Can I help with anything, sir?” I heard.  I looked up and an assistant offered to walk me to each aisle needed to finish my shop. Totally unexpected, but happily accepted!

So does premium end and budget end create the service differential?  Do we have to pay for service?

Even when measurement of service is critical to the business the numbers need breaking down into end outcomes for the customer in such a way that each member of staff knows exactly how they can make a difference and the result for the customer.

So speed of service becomes “how will our customers feel when we are serving them so well that they rarely have to queue?”  And how can we make that a reality?

Measures are there to understand if the business is improving or worsening. Good managers will provide feedback in such a way that the staff know exactly what has to be done, the difference it will make, and the effect on the customer…Numbers in isolation are just that…Numbers!

Praise motivates and reward should always be provided instantly.  Managers should feedback when great service is observed and not wait for reports.

Managers must be visible and “coach on the job”Step Change Coaching involves giving factual feedback on an observed action and comparing what “best in class” would look like. The shortfall is then the development area.

I often wonder what the outcomes would be if the following survey took place.

Questions to the business:-

  1. What are the top  three things that are you doing to improve customer service?
  2. How will those be measured?
  3. What do the staff need to do more of?

Compared to questions to the customer:-

  1. What are the three things that the business needs to do to improve customer service?
  2. How will you know that the improvements are being made?
  3. What do the staff need to do more of?

If the business understands its customer base and truly wants to delight more customers, the answers need to be closely aligned!

While service starts at the top, it also means changing our measures and also recruiting and coaching our staff based on their passion for delighting each and every customer. It should be our nature to want to delight each person that the interaction with and in such a way that the interaction leaves us wanting to delight each and every customer in a bigger and better way.