Are your part-time employees delivering the customer experience you want? They can be! In this episode, Jeannie Walters shares actionable strategies to help your part-time workforce understand the importance of a top-notch customer experience. From fostering a culture of customer feedback to implementing a Service Code, she guides you through the process of aligning your customer service with your overall customer experience mission.
Have you ever wondered what makes a customer feel valued and cared for? Hear how to integrate your customer experience standards into your hiring, onboarding, coaching, and performance reviews, ensuring that your team knows exactly what is expected of them.
Tune in to discover how you can transform your part-time workforce into customer experience superstars. Trust us, you don't want to miss this one!
What's a Service Code and How Do We Use It? [Experience Action Podcast] -- experienceactionpod.com/2092963/12581385
Experience Investigators Learning Center -- experienceinvestigators.com
Experience Action. Let's stop just talking about customer experience, employee experience and the experience of leaders. Let's turn ideas into action. Your host, Jeannie Walters, is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker and founder of Experience Investigators, a strategic consulting firm helping companies increase sales and customer retention through elevated customer experiences. Ready Set Action. One, two, three, four.Jeannie Walters:
Hey everyone, it is Jeannie Walters. This is Experience Action, and I'm here to answer your questions all about customer experience. So, let's listen in.Listener Question:
Hi, Jeannie. Our restaurant franchise employs a lot of teenage workers and they often don't deliver quite the customer experience that we would like. What would you recommend to help frontline employees especially younger workers who might not have as much real-world experience really understand why the customer experience is so important to our business and the critical role that they play in delivering that great customer experience?Jeannie Walters:
Another great question here, and I bet many of you have this type of situation. Even if you aren't in the restaurant or hospitality space, you might be dealing with part-time workers, you might have teenagers or people who have multiple jobs. They're essentially clocking in and clocking out, and so how can you make sure that they understand the importance of customer experience and really their role in it? Order up. Now, the caller here mentions that she notices that they just don't have the right experience, right. Maybe they've never been in a professional environment or, if they're teenagers, maybe they just haven't had enough life experience. So what we need to do as customer experience leaders is make sure that we're aligning the expectations for customer service with our customer experience. If you're dealing with a part-time staff, like many of you might be, there are two things I really recommend here. One is to actually make sure that you do have some sort of feedback program or strategy in place so that you can continually receive and also share the feedback that you get from customers. Please keep in mind this should not be something that can be gamified. No cheating, no cheating, no cheating. And, what I mean by that is if you only have the one through five card and people kind of pick up on the fact that if they get a lot of fives, maybe they really get recognized, maybe they get a bonus, they might start asking for those fives. And that's not why we're asking for the feedback. We're asking for two reasons. One, so we can address anything for our customers. If something went wrong or if they have a great idea, we want to go ahead and implement that. Let's do that. That's a great idea. And then, when you're in customer-facing roles, you want to really use the feedback as a coaching mechanism, not as a punitive mechanism. So if you start getting feedback that one of your servers in your restaurant often gets comments like "was slow to take my order, was rude, I couldn't find her for the check, any of those things and you see that pattern again and again, then what you want to do is use that for coaching and you want to say this is the feedback we're getting. What can we do about this? What do you think is a good way to address this? Now, obviously, if it doesn't improve, that is another conversation that might lead to "ey, this isn't working. But we don't want it to be used as something like a public shaming where we put up the scores for everybody and say, hey, you know, Brian is at the bottom of the list again with customer feedback. We want to use this in a positive way, so that your part-time workers really see this as a benefit, as a way to get better at their jobs and as a way to get recognized when they do a good job. So, one thing is to make your culture one of customer feedback. Just make it an ongoing thing. Now you might be thinking we're not going to send surveys, we don't want to print those cards, any of that. That's fine. You still get feedback. As a manager in a restaurant, for example, you could walk around and simply check in. You can observe. You could even sit in the corner in time how long is it taking people to get their orders? All of these things are simply pieces of input so that we can make better decisions, we can get to those insights we need in order to take action and deliver on the kind of customer experience that we want. So, number one make your culture one of customer feedback. Make it just part of who you are and how you operate. That way, people will start seeing the connection between their behaviors and the feedback that they get. The second thing here is to make sure that you're not assuming, that you're not saying things like "Isn't this common sense? When things are happening again and again. We know that not everybody has the same life experience we do. We all grow up differently. We maybe had different expectations at our kitchen table. Some of us ate dinner every night. We had manners. We were taught certain things. Some people had to grab and go because of their schedules. They didn't really learn table manners. So we have to take it on ourselves to teach what we might consider to be common sense. One of the ways that I like to do this is with a Service Code, which I've talked about on this podcast before, so we'll be sure to link to that episode, but essentially bringing your employees into that discussion about what should our customers expect from our service. So instead of saying, well, we should just put the customer first, they might not know what that means. So let's get clear about that. When we say put the customer first and maybe you're standing at the host's stand and you get a phone call to make a reservation and somebody walks in the door, which customer should you put first? It's those types of things we want to get really clear on. What are our expectations of that employee, based on our customer experience mission statement, what are we really trying to deliver for our customers? So, to create a Service Code, there are a couple questions to ask. One is ask what interactions customers have with employees. So, if we're working in a restaurant environment, we want to get clear on kind of what is that customer journey? Where are we interacting, whether it's the host or the server or the cook? How are we defining what those interactions look like? Get clear on that. Simplify standards. So really look at this as an inventory of who interacts with the customer, as a prompt to consider what's most important. Second, you want to look to your CX Mission, to direct behaviors. For example, if your mission is all about friendliness, it's critical to think about how that can be turned into behaviors. So define what does friendliness really mean. Leverage the time together, if you can, with your staff, with your employees, and brainstorm a list of emotions you want customers to feel. So really get into this. What do we want them to feel? We want them to feel valued. We want them to feel cared for. We want them to feel like they're at home. Get into what you really want those emotions to be and then decide on three to five behaviors that are universal in the service you want to deliver. So this is really where we get into things like how can a customer expect to be greeted when they walk into our restaurant? How can they expect to make a reservation if they call? What are the expectations that they have for every point of the journey? Now, once you've completed a Service Code, it's time to use it. You can use this for hiring, onboarding, coaching and reviewing performance. It's an ongoing way to really get clear about what those expectations are, so that we're not making assumptions, we're not making judgments, we're not saying this is common sense. We're getting clear and we're setting the right expectations with our employees so that we can deliver on the right expectations for our customers. So, for example, a Service Code might include things like we greet every single customer with a smile, we show up and ask politely if they have any food allergies or anything that we need to be aware of. When we are asked questions like where is the restroom, we walk the patron over to the hallway, whatever it is. The other thing I'd say is that if your workers have never been in a finer dining establishment, they might not really understand these expectations.MC:
I've never been to a fancy dinner before.Jeannie Walters:
So it's up to you to explain why walking somebody over makes them feel more cared for and why they're going to remember that as a moment that they felt valued at their favorite restaurant. We really want to walk through: what is the customer journey, where do we show up, how do we interact with the customers and what is the absolute, universal way that we conduct business with customers? What is that experience like? You can even get into timing here about customers should not wait more than eight minutes before a server approaches them about their order. If a customer needs to wait more than 10 minutes for their check after asking, we'll check in with them and provide them with an update. Now, I'm just saying these off the top of my head, but you can see that you can get specific about timing. You can even say things like mistakes are corrected promptly and employees are empowered to provide a replacement item. You are empowered to remove something from the bill. You could say things like the tie goes to the customer. When in doubt, the customer is believed and served. Now, obviously, there will be certain cases that fall outside of this Service Code, but take those as a case-by-case instead of a universal way of doing business. Get clear with your staff, with your employees, with your part-time workers, about what are the expectations and why, and then follow that up by coaching, using the Service Code and customer feedback. Help them connect the dots about why this is so important and then really recognize and celebrate when they do the right thing. Let's get more real about defining what service looks like. That will make everything else easier. Well, now I'm hungry. We've been talking about restaurants, so now I think I'm going to head off to my favorite restaurant. That sounds pretty good. And just a reminder, we have lots of resources, articles, videos for you at our learning center at experienceinvestigators. com, and we always love hearing from you. Don't be shy. Leave me a voicemail at askjeannie. vip that's Jeannie with two n's Dot VIP. That's our new link for voicemail for this podcast. We cannot wait to hear from you again. I can't wait to answer another question and until then, keep delivering great experiences for your customers, keep setting those expectations, get clear about your success and keep asking these questions. They're great. I can't wait to talk to you next week. Thanks! To learn more about our strategic approach to experience. Check out free resources at experienceinvestigators. com, where you can sign up for our newsletter, our Year of CX program and more, and please follow me, Jeannie Walters, on LinkedIn.