John Eklund, Pro Mach

Remove the Barriers to Great Customer Service Experiences

By John Eklund, Pro Mach | Permanent Link


I think we tend to forget that the most critical element in creating a great customer service experience is giving your people the power to make a great customer service experience.

Read it again this way: if you don’t give your people the power to create awesome customer service experiences they can’t create awesome customer service experiences.

I was at Starbucks this morning, ordering my usual chai tea latte, and I decided to try one of their english muffin breakfast sandwiches. We rang it up and I promptly moved to the other counter where they deliver your order. My tea came out and I took a seat to get out of everyone’s way, figuring my sandwich would take a little longer. A chance for me to check email and relax for a minute. After about 5 minutes I realized the sandwich probably wasn’t coming so I mentioned it to them. They apologized and quickly went about making it and then proceeded to hand me a coupon for a free beverage. It reads:

A cup should never be half empty.
We apologize if your Starbucks experience was anything but wonderful. We want to know how we can make things better and always invite you to share your thoughts with us. The next time we see you, please enjoy a beverage, on us. We hope your next visit is better.

On the back there’s a Customer Relations phone number and web site.

I wasn’t upset about the muffin, Starbucks is very busy in the morning and it’s understandable. But they have empowered their employees to make the decision on when to do the right thing. There wasn’t a manager that had to approve this, as far as I could tell. They just handed me a coupon that will cost them about $4 the next time I visit the store.

Do your policies sometimes get in the way of letting your customers have the best experience they can? Have you empowered your customer facing people to “do the right thing” at all times, letting their discretion and understanding of each unique situation dictate how it’s handled? Do they need to get a lot of levels of approval while the customer seethes? Think about what you can do to break down those barriers and you’ll create more opportunities for truly great customer service experiences with your business.

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