Forget the corporate ladder and replace it with a career scaffold. Building stronger lateral foundations allow employees to progress further in their careersRead More
Groove Management Blog
Articles and Insights
Great customer service has become more of a rarity. When you experience great service, it really stands out. Having designed and conducted customer service training in several organizations and helped companies to hire hundreds of employees for customer service roles, I have created some tips and tactics that help to identify customer service success factors. During a recent breakfast meeting with colleagues I gained some new customer service insights.
A few weeks ago I met two colleagues for breakfast. We have a bi-monthly coaching circle breakfast where we provide each other with insights and advice on our different businesses. We meet at a hip and eclectic breakfast spot named Zada Janes in Charlotte, NC. My colleague, Calvin and I sat ourselves down at a high top table a few minutes after the restaurant had opened that morning. A minute later the waitress came over with two coffees and menus. I was impressed that she came with the coffees without us even asking. We are far from regulars at Zada Janes. I thanked her for bringing us the coffees proactively. Her response was that it is her job to anticipate the needs and desires of her customers. If we didn’t want coffee it would have been no problem to bring them to another table or even to pour them out. She went on to explain that she had worked in financial services in customer service for several years. The financial services job was maddening because she was not in a position to make things right with her customers. All she could do was triage their issues and then rely upon someone else. She said that waiting tables was empowering. She makes a daily habit of trying to anticipate what her customers want and then meet or exceed their expectations. She definitely exceeded our expectations and her explanation exemplifies the difference between ok customer service and great customer service.
Great customer service begins with anticipating the customers needs or desires and then meeting or exceeding them.
While this is a skill that can be taught, it tends to be more an issue of will than skill. This brings me back to what I have found to be an effective interviewing tactic when hiring customer service employees. I always ask the question, “Tell me about a place that you like to shop, eat or do business because they offer great customer service? What specifically do they do that sets them apart?” I firmly believe that if you cannot identify what great customer service looks like, you stand no chance of ever delivering it yourself. Therefore, this question helps me to determine if the candidate knows what great customer service looks like. It surprises me the number of candidates that struggle answering the question.
I know have an additional example of a place I like to eat because they offer great customer service. It is Zada Janes because the waitress anticipates my desire for coffee. Can you recognize great customer service and do you have a good way to screen candidates for it?
A commitment to learning and developing are key to an effective coaching engagement. There have a been a few coaching failures that I have learned from and they all had one thing in common; a lack of commitment from the coachee.Read More
Brian Formato shares one of the best failure stories ever. He’s the founder and principal at Groove Management, a human capital consulting firm focusing on organizational and talent development. He also created LeaderSurf, a professional development program that teaches leadership through surfing.Read More
Entrepreneurs often talk about the flexibility their jobs provide, but for me it is the freedom to be creative and innovative that is the most important aspect of being an entrepreneur. This is the story of my journey.Read More
Executive assistants are the unsung heroes of many organizations, but hiring amazing support is often a challenge. We have found the secret ingredient is discretionary effort and we have an approach to interview for that skill.Read More
Meetings are the death of work productivity. According to various sources there are 25 million meetings per day in the United States. That amounts to $37 billion in annual productivity lost as a result of meetings. Just yesterday I heard another example of a senior team in a large publicly traded company holding a three-hour meeting to plan for a full day meeting. The tyranny must end.Read More
Anyone who has ever lost a job knows that networking is a key to finding the next opportunity. Sitting at home blasting out resumes is not an effective way to conduct a job search. Job seekers need to be out meeting new people and selling their capabilities in person. Co-working venues are a great place to expand one’s network.Read More
In 2001 while in graduate school I learned about the theory of appreciative inquiry. That was the spark for starting Groove Management. It has been a long journey with interesting twists along the way.Read More
In business we often talk about the iceberg theory and the fact that more lies beneath the surface, but to witness it firsthand and to take away new learnings in Iceland was even more impressive.Read More