Letters to my child. Leadership, Business and Kaizen.

New Corporate Guidance: Customer Service presentation

Customer Service

Today I had a meeting with my employees about quality of service.

If you run a pre shift meeting at a busy restaurant, home depot or clothing store… or even if you are someone that deals with customers on a daily basis… the talk that follows may help you do better.

I opened up with a quick inspirational story about Jeff Arch and confidence. A story about never giving up and how your attitude affects your outcome.

Then I told the crew a story about one of my favourite Japanese restaurants. My best friend always asks them not to put avocado in the sushi. They always do.

[write on the board]

“Why do you think that happens?” [Write their answers on the board]: language barrier, lack of training, they don’t care, they are rushing, they think the customer won’t notice, poor customer service, complacency…

“Why is that server still employed?” [Write their answers, even if they are silly]: she is hot, she knows the owner, the managers don’t know she is bad, they don’t track errors, customers keep coming back,  there are no consequences.

Get the group working together on the answers, let them go back and add to the first question too. Then shift focus towards themselves. Point out some of the things that you notice are not ideal… if you work at a shoe store, maybe your employees lean on the walls waiting for customers… or maybe your servers are always checking their cell phones… or your shippers are delivering the wrong books to fill orders… or your cashiers are overcharging by accident.

This talk opens up the introduction of something CRUCIAL to correct bad behaviour: consequences. Acting on input from your bosses, outline a simple action plan to deal with errors… it should also include feedback.

In my case I received a memo from upper management and simplified to fit into four steps:


The level of simplicity should fit your workforce. First and foremost, they should understand the changes. Keep in mind that this is not an uplifting meeting. Nobody will be happy to be told that from now on if they mess up, there will be consequences… but it is a necessary talk.

If you chose to open with Jeff Arch’s story, circle back saying that a positive attitude will result in a positive outcome. You want a high level of customer service wherever you go… as such, you should aim to provide at the highest levels.

“This is not about other people’s attitudes. This is about you. Remember that what customers do to you is their karma… how you respond is your karma. Think about it.”

If this was delivered in a pre shift meeting. Make sure to touch base with each person at least once during the day to make them understand this is not about spying their every move.  It is about focusing on the job and reaching goals.

If they respond well… do like I did and buy them coffee and donuts during the break. Go around asking what they want in their coffee. If you have someone that constantly delivers the wrong product to clients or the wrong dish to customers, give them the wrong coffee.

They will get the message.

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