As a matter of interest this week, I decided to visit a local shopping center that had just spent millions and millions of dollars upgrading not just one or two stores but the entire shopping center. I had heard conversations from other people in our community that the end result was fabulous, and they were particularly delighted with the size and layout of the new stores including another supermarket.
These conversations got me thinking and tweaked my interest because what I noticed is that not one person spoke about the customer service they had received whilst either in the shopping center itself, or in the supermarket.
What we know from our research is that what is not talked about is sometimes more important that what is being said. So off I went.
Yes, the overall shopping center and the supermarket look fabulous. I cannot argue with that, it is easy to enter, there is so much more space, and everything looks so on trend – amazing!
Millions and millions of dollars have been spent to create the environment but sadly, just as I suspected, not much if any, has been spent on employee training, re-training, and upskilling.
Watching the employees, it was clear there was no consistency and no real confidence shown by the employees I observed and spoke to.
In fact, I could not see any difference in the service even though the store was the latest model. Like normal, some of the staff were great, some could not answer my questions, some of them were doing an okay job, and some looked like they were pretty bored and couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Overall, my customer experience was different depending on the employee I observed and then interacted with.
So, my point is whether you’re investing millions of dollars in your business or simply introducing a new way of operating, you have got to look at everything, including your team.
In this example, we have a brand new ‘wham-bam’ shopping center and supermarket and no change in the behaviors demonstrated by the employees.
You have got to look at what your plan is for your team?
What will your team going to be doing, what does their role include?
Will they be engaging your customers, and if yes – how?
What training do they require to implement new processes or customer service standards?
How can you help them to lift their game?
It’s got to be part of the plan, but it often seems to me that the team and team training, gets left out of the overall plan, or at best becomes an afterthought that is not executed effectively.
Recently, I’ve been involved in another project, where my clients have changed a significant part of their operations and are rolling out these changes in one of their flagship stores.
The difference is we spent one whole week, training their staff in how to deal with the change and how to talk to the customers about it.
Like I mentioned in my last blog Training that changes behaviour back on the job we thought about and planned the best way to train this operational change into the team.
We looked at the different customer service levels and we provided behavioral training to all leaders and frontline team members.
Setting Up To Succeed
When you’re thinking about setting up to succeed, what are you thinking about?
Maybe you want to include your team – get them together and talk about how are we going to create this new environment or communicate this new organisational change? And, How are we going to roll it out? How do we make our service stand out not just the environment.
Maybe you want to include your team – to talk about how we are going to communicate these changes to our customers? If a new environment, what are we going to do when customers walk in? What might our customers need to know? What might they not be sure about, that we need to explain to them? How would it look if we had a team engaging our customers in the store letting them know what’s different?
One of the first projects I worked on for lotteries in New Zealand – developing the lotteries and developing the stores, and it was only at the last minute someone thought about the training that would need to be provided and they quickly put together a training program which only told each store how to use the machine, and then they later on, they bought people like me in to really improve it. I became the National Training Manager, I developed a five day training course, for franchisees and the frontline customer service training program for all team members. The result of our training was an immediate improvement in revenue, we averaged 12.5% increase. New owners were set up to succeed and they did.
Another great example is Apple. I just bought an iPad, and their customer service was exceptional. They didn’t have the iPad at the store I contacted although I did the transaction with them. They then immediately organised another store to have it ready for me to collect within one hour.
Did you know Apple do not open a new store without a lot of training happening before they open and the level, they go to is extraordinary.
The result is measurable, their stores are always full of people and very few people I’ve ever met would have a bad word to say about the customer service they have experienced on the Genius Bar.
Apple know how to set up to succeed and they do it over and over and over again.
Which leads me back to my clients business, last week I was in the business observing and they’re doing an amazing job. As one of the senior leaders said, “you know, it’s like, it’s the best we’ve ever set up to introduce change”.
WHY? Because they thought about the people, not just the physical environment and the team were without a doubt the ‘icing on the cake’.
If you would like to have a chat with me about ‘Setting Up To Succeed and Behaviourial Training’ contact me I look forward to hearing from you