The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Thursday, November 24, 2016

OD Cautionary Lessons

There are times when teachable moments happen in a spontaneous way. You're not looking for them but they sort of leap in front of you as though challenging you to see whether you'll speak up or let them continue to fester. There are many risks when these situations arise.
  • The company brand suffers
  • Customers become annoyed and abandon the store or even the entire company
  • Customers take their business to the competition
  • Lack of training becomes obvious, causing further deterioration in credibility
  • Your business looks ridiculous
In an effort to avert these and other consequences of poor development initiatives and poor hiring strategies, here are a few cautionary lessons.

Cautionary lesson 1: Assign personnel to areas where they are most effective and then train them to learn and take on gradually increasing duties.

Cautionary lesson 2: Make certain a customer is treated with respect at every phase of contact. If they do not receive immediate attention because of high traffic, let them know that they are part of a queue and will be attended within the next [insert reasonable number] minutes.

Cautionary lesson 3: Don't put the customer through a chain of referrals that exceeds 2 unless it is absolutely mandatory. If the referrals are necessary, provide some reasonable explanation.

Cautionary lesson 4: Don't allow the wait time between referrals to amount to more than 2 minutes if at all possible. If the wait is longer, provide a reasonable expectation of when service will be provided.

Cautionary lesson 5: The customer will not be impressed when attending to their needs is put off by allowing the associate tell the customer they cannot be served because the associate is too busy doing something else that's more important. Don't be surprised if the customer responds that they have something else to do as well.

Cautionary lesson 6: When the employee is falling down on customer service, back office reprimands don't help rebuild brand. Asking the employee in the presence of the customer if the employee has knowledge about the service that was supposed to be delivered helps in the understanding on both sides of the equation. Immediately begin serving the customer while the employee watches and learns.

Cautionary lesson 7: Sometimes the customer who's being put on hold and referred around the store to all the personnel until they're back to the original is actually some type of expert who could be a consultant for your office. Refer to Cautionary lesson 2. Consider the image of the company that begins to form in the customer's mind as these types of scenarios evolve.

Chaos is one way to describe it. Is that what was intended?

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