Fast Food Service? Time For an Overhaul.

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By a show of hands (yes really do this), how many of you went through the drive through lately and were given all of the above:

1.)  Visual acknowledgement (they looked at you)

2.)  Facial acknowledgement (they smiled at you)

3.) Professional acknowledgement (they thanked you for your business)

I’m not seeing many hands.  Figured as much.

Over the days ahead, I’m going to be writing on this very issue…drive-through customer service.  It’s not rocket science, but even with that in mind, the question is still this: why in the world is it so damn hard to get (minimum) good service at the drive-through?

Now, I do understand that not every fast food restaurant offers that same experience (I’ve still yet to go to a Chik-fil-A that didn’t provide me with, minimum, good service and more often-than-not exceptional service).  But there is clearly a problem that needs to be rectified.

And hopefully I can help alleviate that problem.  If only a little.

To be continued…

The Assassin

There are lots of ways to take out an enemy.  The deadliest member of any military isn’t the one pushing the button on the biggest bomb (though they can certainly do the most damage in one action), nor is it the guy driving the tank or flying the jet.  The most lethal soldier out there is generally the one with a single smaller weapon, positioned in hiding, and takes out one marked target at a time at just the right time.An assassin.

An assassin takes out one target at a time.  If gone unchecked, the damage done can be immeasurable.  To compare the concept to customer service, there is a deadly assassin on the loose in our companies.  Some companies have their defenses up and know how to stop him.  Others, though, are left struggling to keep him contained and, as a result, see their employees’ and businesses’ performance being taken out one by one.  That assassin has the same name, no matter where he’s found.

Apathy.

Apathy can do a number on any business when it sets in, affecting one or multiple employees.  The results can be staggering:

–  Robs employees of their enthusiasm for the business and the desire to make a solid contribution.

–  Begins to kill customer service when employees care about neither their jobs or the impact they’re having on their customers.

–  Ultimately destroys the business completely when customers who receive negative customer service experiences begin taking their business (translation – “their money”) elsewhere.

Apathy exists in many forms, ranging from employees not tending to customers to a total lack of excellence and pride in their work.  Rather than a lengthy treatise on the development of apathy, I want to share some ways to take out the assassin called apathy in your company:

1.)  Share the company’s vision and mission with the employees.  Most times people get into their jobs for the paycheck and not the payoff; the fulfillment.  By sharing the company’s vision and mission statements, and helping them to see that they’re part of the company’s success, employees can begin to see a bigger picture of why the doors to the business are open in the first place.

2.)  Catch your employees doing something right.  We have a tendency to be on the lookout for what people are doing wrong and to find where they need correction.  But by pointing out when an employee is performing with excellence and professionalism, you begin to condition them to work in that same manner.  as the old saying goes, you get more bees with honey than you do with, errr, bug bombs.

3.)  Make customer service the king of the business, not the cash register.  The bottom line will always be a factor in the health of any business.  This goes without saying.  However, without positive customer service experiences, the bottom line will grow more and more red as the customer service experience continues to dwindle and fail.  Under-committing and over-delivering on customer service and product will just about always yield return business.  Putting a premium on positive customer service will do you better than a pricey advertising campaign or a slick showroom.

4.)  Reward your team for outstanding service contributions.  Just as catching your employees doing something right is important, rewarding them for going over and above the “job description” creates an atmosphere for excellence.  The recognition doesn’t have to be extravagant; something along the lines of a mention at a team meeting or in the company newsletter, or even a little gift card could go a very long way in motivating employees to roll out the red carpet for the customer.

Those four action items can do wonders in eliminating the apathy assassin in your company before it can take out your employees’ productivity and morale.  Give them a try, let me know how they work.

QUESTION: How else can you eliminate apathy in your business?