Service and Systems – A Dancing Machine
Sometimes I wonder if my endless rantings about technology and how systems can help increase productivity is the end all for Kitchen and Bath Dealers. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, you can improve efficiency with systems but that will be all for naught unless you have a Customer Centric Culture. Aka be nice to customers….
You could have wonderful software that streamlines the business but if the team isn’t focused on making that customer’s experience awesome, then who cares what you are using. It’s going to fail and fail big time!
The secret to success is to have the right culture about customer service and then have the right tools in place to be able to deliver it. Service and systems live in an enriched symbiotic relationship. Wow…check out the big brain on Thad… (No that was actually more for the folks that dig “Pulp Fiction”😊 and trust me, I had to look up the word myself.) A symbiotic relationship is when two different things benefit from the other. i.e., Customer service is better when it is supported by systems…and the ideas and feedback surrounding the customer experience will help guide the development of the technology used in that endeavor.
You need to be strong in both areas to become a great company. So, if my blogs seem to be leaning towards the tech side of the equation, it’s only because there is a serious lack of advanced systems used in our industry. Yeah, I am not including excel spreadsheets in those advanced systems to run your business. (BTW, I had a dealer tell me once that they were hesitant to show me their pricing excel sheet because they thought I would go out and sell it…. tempting but trying to push an abacus to people who use a calculator is not my gig 😊 Sorry, I digress and will rein in my ADD.)
Did you ever get a chance to read “The Customer Service Revolution” by John Di Julius? If not, you should. In fact, you should buy one for every person on your team. It’s that good!
One of the things that the book talks about is attitude vs aptitude. I think the best way to explain it is like this: If I had a friend (and that’s a big if) and their car broke down, maybe they would ask me to fix it. Well, my attitude would be, I absolutely want to help you but on the other hand, my aptitude or ability to help would be shamefully low. Like, the car in question may never run again if I got under the hood and started messing around. It really wouldn’t matter how much I wanted to help. Without the right skills and tools, I’d be dead in the water.
As an owner or manager, you should be asking yourself five questions:
- Do I have a team of people who possess the right attitude towards helping customers? If not, that’s an easy decision. Just because it’s harder to find good apples doesn’t mean you should hold on to the rotten ones. Moving on!
- Does the culture support a great customer experience? When was the last time you participated or gave a customer service training class? Don’t answer that, it might be very incriminating.
- Do you have the right processes and systems in place to support that customer’s experience?
- Is the team trained and understands how the processes and systems work to accomplish the goal of outstanding customer experience?
- What is your metric saying about how well you are performing when it comes to providing a great customer experience? i.e., Referrals, closing rations, customer surveys, turnover etc.
Yes, I said the bad word “turnover”. How often do people decide to leave a company that has a great culture and support tools? It’s hard to create a great company when you are spitting people out.
I am trying desperately to get these blogs down to smaller bite sizes, so people have time to digest (?) them. That being said, how did you feel about your answers to these 5 questions?
Last thing and I will let you go. Market update – things are slowing and will get slower for a while. This is the best time you have available to work ON the company and not IN it. When things get busy again, it will be all hands-on deck time. Take advantage of it now and work towards improvements. Hopefully they will allow you to scale up this next time without all the chaos. Wouldn’t that be nice?
To be continued next week…
Be bold! Thad
PS If you get a chance, check out a new KABS demo. We’ve upgraded the 2020 Design Integration to pull all the products from the file. So it’s not just cabinets, but sinks, faucets, etc. Anything from the over 600+ 2020 Catalogs. It’s pretty sweet!!