The last time my mom went for groceries, she was having trouble finding an item. One of the employees saw her and asked her if she needed help finding something. She said yes, told him what it was and he led her to the aisle he believed the item was in. My mom had been there already but knew it was possible she had just missed it. Turns out it wasn’t there. The product wasn’t a make or break item on her list, so she thanked him for trying, found the rest of her items and went to stand in the check-out line.
She had been in line for just a few minutes when the same employee tapped her on the shoulder. He had found what he thought she was looking for and then took the time to look for her and bring it to her. It wasn’t exactly, but was a close enough substitute that she said yes. He then went one step further and asked if she needed more than one, because if she did, he would quickly run and get some more.
This service professional went way above and beyond what my mom expected. But the story doesn’t end there. According to my mom, she has yet to be served by anyone in that store who is not professional, friendly and focused on the customer. That kind of consistency does not happen by chance. That kind of consistency happens when there is a strong service culture in place, instead of a culture of apathy and doing just enough to get by.
I would venture to guess that the people responsible for leading the entire team have been known to go above and beyond with their internal customers. They have created service standards and provided their team members the tools, resources, support and personal example to live up to those standards. Their laser sharp focus on service and on their customers, both internal and external, create an environment where service flourishes.
Each and every service individual needs to own their own role in the customer experience. Bad management and lack of support is not an excuse to perform at a lower standard. At the same time, management needs to own their role. When service levels are low or inconsistent, everyone needs to look in the mirror and ask “What do I need to do to change our environment from a culture of apathy to a culture of service?”