A man lived right by the railroad track. For years, the train roared by his bedroom window at two-o’clock every morning. He grew so accustomed to it that it never disturbed his sleep. One night no train came through. The usual train was taken out of circulation for maintenance and a substitute was unavailable. At precisely 2:00 AM, the man lunged from a deep sleep and exclaimed, “What was that?!”
Customer service can be a lot like the man in the house beside the track. We take it completely for granted. We stop seeing the details of our customer’s experience; we cease standing in our customer’s shoes. Processes become a lot like wallpaper to a resident and we become afflicted with a type of blindness that keeps us from appreciating our customer’s world. That is until something like the COVID-19 Pandemic jolts us into suddenly noticing the unnoticeable. An important customer leaves angry because we are slow responding to their rapidly changing needs, a key account is lost to the competition because we are out of stock on a key item, or a sneering review on our poor response to the pandemic on the internet awakens us from our numbness.
What a fabulous opportunity we have today! While engagement numbers were up prior to the pandemic we will undoubtedly have the opportunity to improve on these important aspects of work as employees begin the office re-entry process. Gallup reports that 35% of employees worldwide were actively engaged in 2019. While this is a new high for the metric look at the opportunity! The majority of employees were “not engaged,” while another 13% were “actively disengaged.” The remaining 52% of workers are in the not engaged category.
Engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work. Gallup’s extensive research shows that employee engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes essential to an organization’s financial success, such as productivity, profitability and customer engagement. Engaged employees support the innovation, growth and revenue that their companies need. Are your employees engaged? What are you doing to keep them engaged? This is especially important with given the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Today’s fickle customers are quicker to leave than ever. As the country begins to reopen don’t wait until it is too late to take an empathy walk in your customer’s shoes. Call your department, disguise your voice and request something out of the ordinary and watch what happens. Get a friend to mystery shop your area and report on what she or he experiences. Encourage those you serve to be brutally honest in their assessment of their experience. Service blindness can stunt your growth and stymie your success. Open your eyes and witness service through the lens of your customer on their journey through your organization. Then, go to work improving what you have taken for granted!
Be sure to catch Chip’s recent post at; https://www.forbes.com/sites/chipbell/2020/05/11/customer-experience-lessons-from-my-free-cat/#104aa49a96fa