A large bank came to me for the first time seeking a big improvement in its retail counter service. They asked me for “customer service training” but also complained about the shallow impact of classroom training efforts from other providers. I was hesitant. When there is a need to improve customer satisfaction, classroom training is only a partial solution, especially for a high-traffic, face-to-face service environment. To make it more effective, creativity is needed. So I invented a novel approach involving customers and staff, immediate feedback, and clear targets and objectives. Perhaps you can use this, too.
1. Set up a large colorful “Service Quality Thermometer” in the lobby. Place it where customers can use it easily.
2. Place three “voting buttons” next to the thermometer labeled “Good service,” “Service OK” and “Service needs improvement.”
3. Each time the first button is touched, a light cheery sound emerges and the thermometer goes “up” a notch. When the “Service OK” button is touched, the nice sound is heard but the thermometer remains the same. The button marked “Service needs improvement” makes no sound, but the thermometer drops a notch.
4. At the end of each day, post the results on an attractive monthly scoreboard marked: “How hot is our service?” Locate the scoreboard in full view of both customers and staff.
5. Over time, a standard will emerge for each branch of the bank. Gradually raise the standard to improve customer satisfaction more. Run contests between the branches. Give “pat on the back” recognition. Highlight past performance and illustrate ‘Our target for today!’
6. Ask customers who touch “Service needs improvement” for their immediate recommendations and feedback. Ask those who touch “Good service” what key elements of the interaction had satisfied their needs.
7. Based upon this genuine and immediate feedback, design a training program to help staff understand and deliver what really works.
Key Learning Point To Improve Customer Satisfaction
Excellent service quality training is important, and sometimes a classroom is the best place to provide it. But training should be always supported by a work environment that generates interest and participation. Measures to improve customer satisfaction need to be well-rounded to have an impact.
Action Steps To Improve Customer Satisfaction
Back up your training efforts with creative programs to involve staff, and customers, in a continuous journey towards service improvement. Use the “Service Quality Thermometer” idea, or come up with creative plans of your own to improve customer satisfaction. Creativity + Training = Results.
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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpliftingService.com.
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