Empower employees to provide exceptional customer service

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Think about the gold standard for customer service, and visions of a famous mouse or Cinderella’s castle likely cross your mind. Few organizations get it right as consistently as Disney.

If you’ve visited a Disney theme park, you’ve seen how the little things combine to make magic. The parks are squeaky clean, staff is beyond friendly, and everyone works from the same script to create an engaging experience for guests. It all comes together to deliver a memorable encounter, producing loyal customers and brand ambassadors.

And isn’t that what every business really wants? Of course, we want to deliver a quality product. But, we also strive to give helpful, enthusiastic service that makes the buying process a pleasure. Our goal is for customers to come away from each interaction satisfied and happy to recommend our company.

Taking inspiration from “Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders,” by Steven Shallenberger, we lasered in on Principle 5 and looked for ways to incorporate the Golden Rule into every process and customer interaction. We asked employees for their interpretations of “being golden” for customers, and the feedback was awesome.

A member of the sales staff suggested our C-level executives call clients “just because.” We implemented the idea immediately, periodically calling customers to catch up or say thank you. More personal than an email and independent of a particular transaction or issue, these chats are a simple, effective way to create meaningful connections.

Another salesperson shared how he went the extra mile after giving a product recommendation to a customer in need of a special chair for one employee. He located a sample and drove it a significant distance for the employee to try. The client appreciated the personal attention and ended up ordering chairs for the entire office.

One of our customer service reps said her method of “being golden” for customers comes down to really hearing them. “I can tell by my customer’s voice if they need help with an order, or even if they have something personal going on. … Taking five minutes out of my day to help or listen to a customer is what makes me love my job.”

With the latitude to give them her time and a listening ear, she has forged solid bonds with her customers. Part of Disney’s success centers around this premise of giving employees the responsibility and authority to deal with concerns they come across during their workday.

Employees have some leeway in how they carry out the overarching mission of creating happiness with their specific job functions. Giving them autonomy to work out glitches within their domain is essential, as is providing access to other team members and supervisors who can help devise collaborative solutions to complex issues.

Whether acting individually or as a group, the goal is always to address problems head on and exceed expectations in every customer interaction.

Every employee’s role is pivotal to success. The challenges observed by our warehouse staff, marketing team, delivery personnel and accounting department all impact the overall customer experience. Soliciting ideas from all corners and encouraging creative solutions to the problems they encounter are important as we continually focus on our Core Value of Customer Service.

What are some ways you can empower your team to take actions that will inspire loyalty and trust in your customers? Put on your mouse ears, give it some thought and, in the words of Walt Disney, “Whatever you do, do it well.” ●

J.D. Ewing is Chairman and CEO of COE Distributing

J.D. Ewing

Chairman and CEO
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