Customer Service Assignment

As we come into the weekend, try giving your team this informal assignment. As they go about their weekend activities, ask them to to consciously notice the level of service they receive as they interact with companies and their employees. Ask them to look at the physical environment, observe employees as they serve them as well as other customers, and pay attention to the processes they experience during the interaction. What was good? What was not so good? What what was dismal? Ask them to mentally note as many details as possible.

At your next team meeting, request that members of your team share their observations and how the experiences make them feel. Did the experience make them definitely want to come back? definitely not want to come back? or just leave them neutral? Then ask the group how their observations relate to your organization and to their own jobs. This is a quick benchmarking experience that can pay great dividends.

When Walt Disney was planning Disneyland, he sent his "Imagineers" to visit amusement parks and carnivals, and to observe what customers liked and didn't like. He used this knowledge (particularly the dislikes) in the design of Disneyland. Rather than a haphazard layout, everything would be organized and themed. Rather that surly "ride operators," Disneyland would have "hosts and hostesses" who treated customers as "guests." Much of what makes the Disney parks what they are today came from this simple strategy of observing competitors and putting the knowledge to work.

Why not send an email to your team today? Simply ask them to pay attention to their experiences over the weekend, note how those experiences made them feel, and be prepared to discuss it at your next team meeting. I'm convinced it will be an eye-opening and beneficial exercise for the entire team.

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