In his acceptance speech, new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson urged everyone to get energised. We’re responding with a new DAILY video on our UK Forward Channel. Each is in our acclaimed SpotLearn incisive format to give you that important energise boost. Click on the UK Forward Energise tab to watch each episode.
Using symbols and models can help people grab concepts, making things easier to understand. So here’s a way to communicate to your people the importance of an all-round positive customer experience. It’s called the Change Maker Tricycle of Customer Service.
Whilst this item is aimed at the hospitality sector, it is applicable across most businesses. Just adjust to suit yours!
Your Three Wheels
There are three wheels to the tricycle
- Service efficiency where everything needs to be working to get satisfaction
- The quality of your product or offering meeting their expectations
- And the Hospitality Skills of your people
Service efficiency is the need to ensure that you have systems and procedures in place to help your people deliver the right type of product or offering. Efficiency and timeliness is vital. These can be policies for handling problems or complaints or it could be the right type and effective technology systems
Having the right quality of your physical product or offering means that the ‘bricks and mortar’ elements at least meet if not exceed the expectations of your customer. This can include the cleanliness and fittings in the bedroom, restaurants, lounges, fitness centres.
Remember quality means fit for purpose so it doesn’t have to be totally overboard.
The first two components represented the back wheels of the tricycle. But it’s the front wheel, BIGGER than the other two which steers your tricycle in the right direction.
Most managers are smart enough to teach people about welcome skills and most teach new staff about using technology, systems and procedures. Unfortunately most only skim the surface on teaching hospitality skills
Using the Change Maker Tricycle of Customer Service
Lose a rear wheel?
What happens if a rear wheel comes off? For example, the quality offering wheel. Let’s say they get a warm greeting and check-in and then go to their room which is dirty or things not working. The result is that their experience has been marred.
If it’s the service efficiency wheel then let’s say again they get the warm greeting but something goes wrong in the service such as the key system not working, the credit card machine inoperable, the computer system down, slow service at check-in causing the tired and hungry guest to wait 20 minutes for the key.
But the front wheel?
The two rear wheels are usually handled by sound training which most people have or should be given. But the front wheel, the one that steers your tricycle is often ignored. You see this as someone arrives at reception and sees the top of a receptionist’s head “Checking-in?” It almost wants to make you say “No, I’m standing here with my suitcase as it’s a hobby of mine seeing how many hotel lobby’s I can visit with my suitcase!” I know that sounds facetious but I’m sure you get the gist. Or when you go into the dining room by yourself and the waiter says “Just for one?” in a condescending manner.
It is important that the front wheel doesn’t come off and that your people are taught hospitality skills in the form of interactive communication. They need to know to smile, make eye contact, have the right body language, and anticipate guests and how to start the right kind of customer interaction.
Everyone is in the driving seat
It is important for staff and managers to know that everyone can be in the driving seat of the tricycle. Everyone can bring out their best side. Everyone can work to anticipate customer needs and make sure that all three wheels work in harmony to meet customer needs.
How to use this Change Maker learning
Use the Change Maker tricycle model for your next training session or meeting to illustrate to them the importance of the three wheels and that everyone needs to ride the Tricycle of Customer Service to provide hospitality excellence.
What’s your thoughts?
What’s your experience with standards of customer service? Are they improving at your organisation? Where are you making changes? What are you doing to monitor and measure service standards?
How do you score on the supplier four?
Over the last few years we’ve had some frenetic activity at The Preferred Supplier with our programmes and presentations, filming of buyers and coaching on tendering. But one thing has arisen a number of times.
I’ve been by asked many what I think are the essential attributes of a great supplier. I’m not talking skills, resources or facilities here but instead the spine or the core that gives form to the selected or differentiated supplier.
My suggestion to you is that the difference lies in the four core areas of CRIC – Committed, Resilient, Innovative and Compliant.
Here’s a brief overview of each of the 4 parts of CRIC. Read through and think how they apply to you and how you score with each of the four.
Committed is about a commitment to continuous improvement and the ability to be evidential about that improvement. Now, wrapped up in this is commitment to quality, commitment to consistency and commitment to customer service. It’s also about “keeping your promise to your customer” such as commitment to delivery on time. Far too many suppliers reckon they are committed to say quality because they have ISO qualification but forget that it is daily living that commitment that sets the excellent apart from the average. You can measure yourself and be evidential in your commitment by asking us about The Preferred Supplier balanced scorecard.
Resilience was something addressed by Nick Edgar, of IP Group who are fund managers, when speaking at our The Preferred Supplier event. Resilience is not totally internal, for example about your financial strength, but also external about resilience within your own supply chain and the market your serve. Start thinking, how strong and reliable are your suppliers because that’s what your customer is likely also thinking if they are to select you?
Innovative is to-day becoming an abused word! My friend, Charles Sellers, is an acclaimed expert on innovation and passionate about the need to start thinking just what is true innovation. When I talk about innovative actions he makes me think if it is truly innovative by asking which of these three things can be said about the innovation. Is it the same as, similar too or different than? I can’t stress how important innovation is in being the preferred supplier but, at the same time, it has to be true innovation.
Compliance is something far too many suppliers hope will go away – but it won’t! A recent CIPS survey showed that 54% of companies expect compliance demands to increase this coming year with only 2% thinking it will decline. But compliance is an all-embracing word. Compliance in what? It differs across company, organisation and sector but don’t ignore the essentials of inclusion, environmental and health and safety.
CRIC is my core four attributes or make-up of a selected or preferred supplier. Have I missed anything truly essential? How do you measure up to the four? Where is your biggest challenge?
7 Change Maker ways to improve meetings
One area where you can make quick and productive change in your organisation, and show your leadership as a Change Maker, is to make your team meetings more effective and productive. Coming up are my suggested 7 steps check-list to help you achieve this.
A few smart changes can result in meetings that get more done more quickly and cause fewer headaches for everyone.
How to be a Meeting Change Maker? Here are 7 practical action steps:
- If the meeting has no clear purpose, don’t have it! It’s amazing how many meetings are held because they’ve always been held. The biggest culprits are those “same day, same time” sessions that people have carved into their calendars. For every meeting, try to come up with a compelling statement that describes the purpose, and identify at least one intended outcome. If nothing worthwhile seems to surface, the same will happen during the session.
- Take the agenda seriously, but not too seriously. There are times when digressions are worthwhile and when certain issues should move up in priority. It’s a fine call every time, but sometimes that fixed agenda has to go out the window.
- Don’t use meetings to rubber-stamp decisions. Often teams come together and try to pretend a group decision when they’ve already “pre-decided” the outcome. If you simply want to communicate information, save everyone’s time and use e-mail.
- Strive for meaningful dialogue. When six people are around a meeting table, it’s like having six computers at the ready. In fact, people are far better than computers because they also have hearts. Instead of “leading” the meeting, learn to facilitate the session. Instead of making statements, ask questions. Instead of raising objections, ask more questions.
- Be your own constructive critic. Are you talking too much? Are you holding back? Are you listening to understand? What would you say about you if you were sitting across the table from yourself?
- Wrap up each meeting with a group evaluation. With everyone contributing, decide what went right during the session, what could’ve gone better, and what should be done differently the next time. Commit to one or two practical improvements.
- Cut down on those meeting minutes. An hour-long meeting should yield a page or two of notes at the most, and these should be circulated no more than two days after the meeting. Use them to keep track of major discussion points, decisions, and assignments.
Have you any extra tips to add to the checklist? What works for you? How do you avoid time-wasting meetings?