Despite the growth of Amazon and other online retailers, some companies have been able to not only grow but thrive in the retail environment. In every case, the winning element that tips the scale to the local retailer is outstanding customer experience. And the key variable to that experience is the interaction of the customer with your staff.
Horses need hay, windmills need a breeze and employees need GAS: that “Give A S#!#” attitude that drives your staff to engage with and provide a great customer experience.
Unless you are a proud owner of a Tesla or other all electric car, you can’t get anywhere without GAS in your tank. It’s the same for your business. The number one thing for creating great customer experience is getting and maintaining a quality caring staff. But in our everyday experience we see a lack of GAS in so many of our commercial transactions.
GAS is that basic “Give A S#!t” attitude of your staff. You know the drill, the service department with no “service”. The salesperson who simply says “I think it’s on aisle 12”. The cashier with the far away stare. Or anyone who is more involved with their text message thread than you the customer.
We have read articles about the need for an outstanding customer service ethic, but what we have experienced is an erosion of the basics of service: staffers without any GAS. This is especially prevalent in companies with multiple locations and a large turnover is local managers. Sometimes people are promoted just because they show up every day and are either not trained or have the drive (GAS) to lead others in promoting service. Those people become the sales prevention department!
How do you as the employer help encourage “GAS” for your staff? Feed them! It’s not just money (but without a competitive wage it’s hard to find and keep the best candidates). We all want to feel appreciated and valued, but many managers only recognize a staff member when they are in “correction” mode. When correcting behavior, be sure to purpose this in a constructive, results oriented language. Scolding creates resentment. Guide/teach in terms of positive results to be gained, not the potential for negative retribution.
Feed them by acknowledging their importance to your organization. You ask them to go above and beyond in keeping your customers happy, be sure to apply the same to your own employees. Recognize and reward when you see outstanding service or get positive reviews. Share the positive and you will generate positive feelings.
Be a great Coach, find ways to motivate instead of just mandate. A current survey from Glassdoor finds that “healthcare insurance” is the most important feature you can offer. Closely behind is “performance bonus”. Find or create a metric that can identify great service and follow up with recognition and reward? Rewards can be anything that creates positive emotions. From a simple recognition to paid hours off to monetary rewards, it is the recognition that is key to promoting positive response.
A simple refrain we hear is “it’s the problem with millennials”. That’s a cop-out excuse. Are you realistically looking at the underlying issue? Sure, some folks don’t have the empathy gene. Either internal or socially driven, they may have an emotional block that can be impossible to bridge without therapy. OK, so don’t hire them for a front line job, unless you are willing and able to nurture and train them for a turnaround.
The interactions between your business and its customers will make or break your success. Anytime you can create “moments that matter”, you will win with your customers.
Be attentive to their needs. Sounds simple but it is missing from many interactions
- Hire for social ability
- Soft Skills are vital – empathy, listening, service
- Train for customer interaction and sales
- Communicate your brand essence / personality / solution
to ensure excellence
- Visual, mystery shop, customer survey
- Reinforce, refresh, reward (Fill up the GAS tank)
- Continuous reinforcement
- Empower, acknowledge, commend
When you have a staff with no GAS, you will need a big jar of Tums, because they will give you a different type of gas….guaranteed.