Are you ready for a new year, a new summer season, a new round of tourists? Are your employees ready? We always have training in place for new team members and often we have development programs for existing core employees. Being prepared for expected interactions is easy enough to accomplish. Why then is it often challenging once business gets busier? When things don’t go according to plan employees can feel unsure of what to do or how to act.
Troubleshooting is a key skill for anyone working in the service industry (and I don’t mean taking aim and shooting). When dealing with people and their experiences there are many variables and that makes a plan hard to follow. After years of dealing with all kinds of people employees learn how to roll with the punches. But for newer and younger employees it’s hard to work outside the plan. For example …
- when a customer complains , is it your company policy that employees simply pass their concern on to a supervisor or can they deal personally with a customer in resolving the situation ?
- If systems go down, does the team know how to keep things running as smoothly as possible, or do they just tell customers they can’t help?
- at extremely busy times can team members adapt and multi-task or do they stick to what their regular assigned job is?
- is there an outlet for stress or are employees susceptible to blowing up in front of a customer?
I have spoken before about the importance of consistency in a company’s service experience. Different employees need to offer the same level of experience and a standard needs to be relied upon even in changing circumstances. That happens when the team is confident they know what to do and how to do it, especially when things don’t go according to plan 🙂
I am an optimist. The concept of expecting the best and planning for the worst is at the heart of my service philosophy. I expect the best of people, and plan for the worst situations. Being able to share with teams the secrets of working together to master tough situations and achieve great results for customers is my greatest accomplishment.
A famous optimist has the perfect quote that applies beautifully in the service world. Randy Pausch was a university professor who wrote “The Last Lecture”, passing on his life’s wisdom to his students once he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I often tell workshop attendees that we aren’t saving lives in the service industry, but we can have the same level of integrity as doctors and first responders.
“Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’ If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.” ― Randy Pausch
If you want to be truly prepared, make sure your team knows what to do in those worst case scenarios. If you need help, I am happy to pitch in! Contact me at <firstname.lastname@example.org>