The business world takes a downturn in activity. Bright, colorful decorations adorn streetlamps and shopping centers; the economy is given a boost by increased consumer spending; holiday music triumphs over Top-20 hit music on the radio. “Do I smell the holidays approaching?”
Service seems to improve during or approaching any holiday season. This remarkable phenomenon is driven by multiple factors. Retailers put all their staff on high service alert as they attempt to capture the consumer’s hard earned dollars. Sales are encouraged by the powers-that-may-be in “Mega-sale” periods. Every white, blue and knowledge worker is anticipating or has already received their bonuses or promotions. Or just quite simply people just seem merrier.
What is it about holidays that service standards tend to increase? There are more hellos and thank-you’s as you enter or leave the premise of businesses. Best of all these greetings are paired with authentic smiles! You, as I would like believe the basic standards or service has skyrocketed. However, all these pleasantries tend to fade as the seasons pass on and we’re back to service drought.
There are three elements a service oriented organization can explore to increase service levels: the Environment, Individual Motivation and Interpersonal Relationships.
During the holidays, it is inevitable the surrounding environment is brightened with colorful lights in businesses, community areas and even private homes. This brings about a very pleasant environment to all and we are transformed into nicer people.
The environment of your customer contact areas affect the demeanor of your service staff drastically, so keep it colorful and bright. Ask and accept staff opinions on how the areas they work in can be improved. For, if they are happy so will each customer that comes in contact with your front-liners.
During the holidays, people in general are more motivated to please and are more prone to the curling of the edges of their lips making it less arduous to crack that million dollar smile continuously.
Maintain motivation levels high by practicing the three F’s: Focus on the needs of the staff; Follow up on their requests and Furnish them with continuous development. Focusing on the needs of service personnel by knowing what their real needs are by conducting Staff Satisfaction Surveys; discover what motivates the individuals who form the face of your organization. Subsequently, make an authentic effort to follow up on feedback collected in the survey. And last but not least furnish them with their requests (budget and policy permitting of course).
Everyone seeks acceptance, forgiveness and provides cheer to friends and family during the holidays, be it for religious or social reasons. There is a high emphasis on improving relationships during this time of generous giving. Forgive those who have trespassed you, give to those whom you love and most importantly satisfying gastro intestinal requirements by being invited to complimentary and delicious meals.
Does your organization place emphasis on interpersonal relationships of the countless individuals that front your products and services? By providing personnel with the tools and avenues to improve this crucial element of individual well being, you are opening a pathway to consistent inner happiness in individuals and undying loyalty to your organization. The synergy of closely knit service delivery teams will outperform multi-million dollar investments into re-branding and re-positioning without exception.
It doesn’t need to be the holidays till your organization focuses of the above three elements. The key to consistent and continuous stellar service lies in individuals and this cannot be neglected whatever industry you may compete in. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to delight myself as much as I can with “holiday service” by retailers and service providers before it stops and I’ll have to wait another year before it comes around again. “Happy holidays and a Happy New Year!
CEO/Senior Managing Consultant