Friday, October 13, 2006

Random Acts of Customer Service

The other day I was banking at a Chase Bank branch in Bexley, OH. While I was standing in line, a young man with management potential carried a tray of various coffee drinks from Starbucks to the counter. He efficiently distributed the coffees, lattes and achiato something or others to the tellers behind the counter and behind glass in their office areas. I asked him if he were the manager. “No I’m not but if I were I’d be doing this a lot more often.”

Now here is a person who the value of random customer service for colleagues. He knew that doing something nice for those he worked with would pay significant benefits to Chase and its customers. A simple act like bringing coffee to staff or faculty can be an amazingly simple and effective morale and good service booster. It says “you are valuable. I appreciate you and what you do.” And that act of random customer service pays off in better service to students. Happier students = better retention.

A person who feels valued and rewarded for what he or she just does as his or her job is a much happier worker. Sure money and raises are always welcome and bring smiles but they disappear when costs go up and the raise is absorbed by living. So let’s discuss some easier and even less costly methods that I guarantee will improve service, productivity and retention.

Happier employees will always treat students with greater care, kindness and attention. People who feel good about themselves and their contribution to the company will try to pass that feeling of pleasure and pride of recognition on to every client they work with for at least the rest of the day..

So the message here is simple. Anyone who supervises others, commit yourself to performing random acts of colleague customer service.

An example. The first week of any semester is a hectic and difficult time for staff at a school. The rush of work, the flood of students lined up before them and they student issues they have to solve simply wear them down. This is especially so of offices like registrar or bursar/ Bursar in particular has to face hundreds, thousands of students and parents who suddenly realize they have a bill to pay, or still owe money and can’t come back to school. Bursar personnel are especially hit. They have to tell people they must pay to go to school and hear how tuition is too high and all you care about is my money. Granted, some bursar folk were selected from people deemed to cold and ruse to work at a DMV, but even they feel the heat.

When I was a college president, I used to make sure I got to all the offices to thank everyone for doing a great job. Bursar’s and registrars twice a day at least. Then, in the middle of all the crush and rush of business, I would take orders for coffee and pastry. Then I would go, get it and deliver it personally to each worker. This simple gesture of random customer service really paid off.

PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR STAFF AND WATCH THE GREAT RESULTS. It can be unannounced buying of coffee for everyone, or some doughnuts/bagels or whatever will please people. A few pizzas for lunch in the break room. Take workers to lunch as a thank you for great service and work. Try telling a worker that he or she has done a great job today and should take a few more minutes for break, or even let the person leave early for the day to say thanks. Most of the time, the person will be so thankful for the attention and offer that he or she will not leave early – might even stay a little later because he or she feels the work done is appreciated. And if he should leave early, I can assure you that his productivity will certainly improve more than high enough to make up for the time off.

And the simplest and least expensive way, just remember “please and thank you”. A very simple “thank you for the way you handled that. It is appreciated” will boost spirits each and every time. And by the way, thanks for reading this posting. I and the readers of this blog would like to hear your valuable thoughts and your random acts of customer service. . They are always

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