Different people value different things (gasp!)


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Heard on the Streets with Sean Brown

During 2018, I heard several service issues repeated in organizations across the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

One common and concerning issue is differing service attitudes and mindsets of team members in different locations. I heard this concern as our clients and prospects spoke about their employees, branch locations, franchises, partners, and affiliates.

Here’s one example:

Sarah has been leading her team at a mid-sized casino for more than 30 years. She understands the local area better than anyone and knows that 90% of her guests come from the surrounding area. The pace is slow and the friendly atmosphere puts customers at ease as Sarah’s team cater to their preferences.

To Sarah’s customers, this is great service!

But recently a group of new employees transitioned to Sarah’s casino from another location that is much busier and faster paced. These new employees are known for delivering great service at their previous location.

But will they understand Sarah’s different customers and different service standards? Will these new employees retain their enthusiasm for service even as they must change their style of service delivery?

Sarah needs a solution to bring everyone into agreement, and doesn’t want to rely on situational examples only. She needs a common service language to help all of her employees understand what different customers want, need, appreciate, and value. This is important in her casino, in service, and in life; because different people value different things.

One customer may want super-fast service and no-nonsense answers to their questions. The very next customer may enjoy a slower pace of delivery, and lots of friendly chatter. One casino patron may want to be engaged and encouraged, while another prefers a feeling of privacy while gaming.

What these different situations have in common is that each customer desires a certain kind of service – and wants the service provider to understand that and adjust accordingly.

When employees come to work with different ideas about “What is good service?”, this can lead to confusion and may limit your organization’s ability to create an excellent service experience for a wide range of customers, and an aligned company culture with a wide range of employees.

But when Sarah can explain that she wants her team to deliver desired service to each and every customer, this use of “common service language” aligns everyone around the need to truly understand the preferences of each and every customer.

Does your team have, or need, a Common Service Language?

  • Do different groups of employees use different words or phrases when discussing service levels, issues, complaints, compliments and suggestions?
  • Is there any slang used to describe your customers or jargon about your service that is unique within different departments?
  • Do you have a common set of terms for defining and achieving Service Excellence that apply to all your customer groups, and to all your internal service?

If you notice that different groups use different language to speak about similar service situations, you have identified an area of disconnect that may be bridged with a better and more useful Common Service Language.

What did you discover? What problems is this creating? What changes can you imagine achieving?

For more insight on how to create and use a Common Service Language in your organization, download the free assessment questions: Does Your Company Have a Common Service Language?

Categories: Common Service Language
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