When it comes to delivering service excellence to your customers, there are five actionable steps you can take today!
There are two kinds of businesses in today’s marketplace. There are those who keep making excuses for why their services are still not back at fully capacity after more than two years of a global pandemic and supply chain issues. And then, there are the rest who’ve figured out how to adapt and grow.
Among that first group, the excuses are familiar: “we can’t find enough staff,” “we can’t get enough supplies to arrive on time,” or “we can’t perform that service anymore due to high costs.” In truth, each time they say “can’t,” they mean “won’t.” Still waiting for things to get back to pre-2020 normal, they won’t adapt to meet the way things are now and in the future.
That’s not just a recipe for paralysis. It’s guaranteed obsolescence. There’s no shortage of businesses who have adapted, overcoming the same barriers that keep the excuse-making competitors stuck in the past.
Therefore, you must make a choice. Either you find ways to adapt so you can return your business today to the same level of service that your customers expect or prepare to see your business fail.
I want to see as many businesses as possible succeed and grow in this forever-changed marketplace. I even wrote a new book about it. So, here are five actionable steps you can take today to put an end to the excuses and, instead, fully embrace adaptability in how you deliver service excellence to your customers.
Delivering Service Excellence to Your Customers in 5 Steps
If you can’t find staff to fill a face-to-face position in your operation, consider how you can automate that service instead. For example, sushi restaurants in Tokyo figured out years ago how to implement tablets for placing orders and then delivering the food via mini-conveyor belts to the customer’s table. Other examples include airlines who have self-check-in and baggage tag printing, industrial supply companies with apps for clients to order from, and robotics in manufacturing. All good solutions are transferable to other businesses. Even yours.
Reassign tasks. Add a do-it-yourself option for your service offers. Most grocery stores offer customers the choice between regular and self-checkout. Banks provide options for online, telephone, kiosk or in-person banking. Can you offer a similar choice? Do the same with how to manage services without your operation. For instance, implement marketing automations for sellers to reduce reliance on inside sales and lead qualification. Ask yourself: do you really need lead qualifiers anymore? What’s wrong with giving sellers the leads directly from automated inbound inquiries?
Take your existing workforce and refocus the services they provide to customers. Sellers today can be 20% more efficient by using video in place of face-to-face transactions. And here at Engage, our traditionally field-based clients now find their teams are 30% more efficient by spending one day in the office per week making calls and following up with customers. So, consider transitioning your sales team to conduct all inside sales this way. Every percentage increase you gain from refocusing equals a potential percentage gain in the growth and profitability of your business.
You must reconsider where you look for new staff. In the last couple of years, some hotel chains that were previously struggling to find qualified employees decided to explore alternatives. For instance, they began hiring newly arrived refugees (not only giving them meaningful employment, but also the opportunity to learn English and to further develop their professional skills). Others are exploring the use of temporary workers (such as a client of mine who hires farmers to drive trucks during winter months), as well as hiring retired people who seek flexible working hours while topping up their otherwise fixed incomes.
Within every solution to a problem, there’s an incentive to leverage. For example, if you are struggling to find staff, consider offering incentives that appeal to your target audience. If a percentage of your best-qualified staffing prospects are in school, offer to pay a portion of their education costs. One client of mine pays 100% of the tuition fees for employees who opt to work daytime and attend classes at night. Not only does this solve their present-day staffing issues, it creates loyal employees who stick around long-term with the company.
Each of these action points shows you it’s indeed possible to grow and thrive even when your business is struggling with barriers outside of your control. The market doesn’t care about excuses. It cares about solutions. And it rewards those who adapt fully to change. Yes, solutions require an outlay of cash—all important things cost money—but your return on investment will be measured in months. Not years. That beats the price you’ll otherwise pay for doing nothing.