The other day, I was in an airport toilet and I saw a cleaning checklist. It hung in a corner and it listed items to be cleaned, the persons responsible and the supervisor’s notes. The checklist is updated after every shift. My observation got me thinking about three crucial components of customer service – Checklists, Confirmation and Consequence.
You see, we tend to think of service in terms of pleasantness or niceness. But the baseline for service is delivering a good product. Niceness is icing. But, there must be a cake first.
Checklists are about clearly spelling out what your team should do and when, so there’s no ambiguity. It’s about helping managers to keep track of deliverables and performance. If one item on the checklist is skipped, it warns you in advance, that customer service is being compromised.
I discovered that the military has an interesting way of giving instructions. After a superior gives a directive, the subordinate must confirm that they understood by repeating it. If there’s any variance, the superior has a chance to explain, until there’s understanding.
When you visit a restaurant, the waiter typically writes your order. But sometimes, he returns with the wrong item! Apparently, what he heard was not what you said, or what he said was not what the chef understood. When a client orders a product/service, you must confirm the specifics of their request, as well as their expectations, so you’re on the same page. You may even do a follow up meeting. Sometimes body language communicates a whole lot more than what is in an email.
Finally, when there is no consequence for bad service, good service will never be assured. How many times has your flight been delayed in Nigeria? Typically, the airline says, “Sorry” and moves on. There is no financial consequence and as such, the delay will be repeated. Alternatively, with UBER, you can rate a driver poorly or complain if there’s bad service, and you’re guaranteed compensation. It is therefore in the driver’s interest to not repeat the incident or he will face real consequences.
I strongly believe that any customer service process will not function optimally or successfully scale up, without Checklists, Confirmation and Consequence. What do you think?The baseline for service is delivering a good product. Click To Tweet When there is no consequence for bad service, good service will never be assured. Click To Tweet