In a blog post titled, Service Magic, Scott Brown makes a great point:
A magician’s magic, just like customer service magic happens, because of pre-planning and processes, physics or mechanics and even sometimes slight of hand. Service magic happens much the same way. To our customer a pleasant exchange with one of our employees was just that. But we know that it happened because we took the time to hire, train, reward and develop quality employees. Service Magic occurs when we take control of a situation before it happens, so when the customer experiences it – it appears seamless and natural and even pleasantly unexpected.
Scott gives us a lot of bang for our buck in that paragraph. First, he’s right, “service magic” as he calls it, is best when planned. Think about Olympic athletes whose endeavors looked so effortless. Then think about how many hours of practice they must have accomplished before it appeared effortless.
In order to have an effective plan, leaders need to ask powerful questions in order to start conversations. These questions should be asked of your employees but know that you’ll also need to factor in customer conversations and marketing data before you make any decisions.
First, the questions senior managers should be asking themselves:
- Is our organizational culture an asset or a hindrance in delivering service magic?
- If it’s a hindrance, exactly what do we need to change?
- Are we focusing on the right competencies when we hire employees?
- Are we correctly rewarding employees for delivering service magic?
- Do we tolerate employees that consistently deliver substandard customer service?
- How does that impact employee morale?
- Does our employee training add value to our ability to deliver customer magic?
- Do our policies and procedures add to or subtract from our ability to deliver service magic?
Remember the saying, “Two heads are better than one?” Well, if that’s true then six heads are better than two. In other words engage your employees in conversations at staff meetings, in newsletters, and in one-on-one conversations and ask when it comes to delivering service magic:
- What are we doing right?
- What could we do better?
- What are our competitors doing?
- What obstacles stand in our path?
- What additional resources do we need?
As your conversations move closer to the customer, they need to become more tactical.
- When a customer walks into our store and all of our associates are busy, how will we greet that customer?
- What can we do to enhance his or her experience while in our store?
- How can we improve the quality of our service after the sale?
- Is our Web site easy to navigate?
- Are our store associates aware of promotions offered online?
- How can store associates use the Web site to meet the customer’s needs when the store is out of stock?
- What can we do to improve the speed and quality of complaint resolution?
- How can we capture data so that we can remember the customer when she returns?
- What are our customers’ communications preferences?
- Do we have the right inventory?
- Do we offer a clean, safe, comfortable environment for our customers?
- What can front line staff do to exceed customers’ expectations?
Asking these powerful questions (and being willing to listen objectively to the answers) is the first step toward creating and implementing a plan that will provide service magic. Undoubtedly, you can think of more or better questions, but the key thing here is to start the conversations. Then create a plan around their answers.
I’m not a magician, but you can still follow me on Twitter. I’m txglennross