Do the Right Thing
Originally published: 01.01.18 by Jim Baston
A simple approach leads to an exception service experience for your customers.
What is the difference between these two approaches: “doing things right” and “doing the right things?” Which of these approaches do you feel best serves the customer’s needs? Which of these will lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction?
Doing the right things is the approach that best serves customer needs and will lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Doing things right is obviously important, but it is a subset to doing the right thngs. Doing the wrong things right brings little value.
As service providers, you have a keen interest in meeting the needs of your customers. Most of you are continually searching for ways to improve your service levels, exceed your customers’ expectations and provide an exceptional service experience.
Doing the right things will help you achieve these goals.
Despite your intentions of delivering an exceptional service experience, you sometimes sabotage your own efforts because of your approach to service delivery, specifically when you take the doing things right approach.
The doing things right approach is job-focused. Being job-focused means that performing the work to specification is top of mind. If the task is to repair a broken unit, all attention is on completing the repair as effectively and efficiently as possible at the exclusion of almost everything else.
You can default to a doing things right approach when you’re under stress and the stakes are high. The unit has failed; you must get it up and running as quickly and economically as possible. Calls must be made, parts must be ordered.
This single-minded focus on the task can detract from your goal of delivering an exceptional service experience.
You may fix the unit, but miss an opportunity for addressing the real customer need.
A relentless focus on doing things right may also cause you to be perceived as rude or condescending. I am not suggesting that it is a bad thing to be focused on the task at hand. In fact, this focus is critical in order to make the repair as efficiently as possible.
It’s just that, when you lead with a doing things right approach, you can sabotage your efforts of delivering an exceptional service experience.
Doing the Right Things
Doing the right things is customer-focused. Being customer-focused is different from being job-focused because customer-focus is centered on solving the problem from the customer’s perspective and not solely on the task of correcting the issue.
It is a subtle difference, but an important one. While the doing things right approach is intent on repairing the broken unit, the doing the right things approach is focused on solving the customer’s problem.
By being customer-focused, you put yourselves in your customers’ shoes so that you can better understand the issues they may be facing and the underlying reasons for their request. With this, you can then proactively address those issues to ensure that you do the right things in response to your customers’ needs.
Doing the right things involves asking questions to probe for the real issues and using creative problem solving approaches to address them. This approach helps you to ensure that your service closely meets the needs of your customers and thoughtfully helps them achieve their goals.
Make Customers Feel Special
You may not be able to “see” a customer-focused approach, but you can “feel” it. When you focus on the customer, you see the problem from the perspective of how the issue impacts them.
You can consider such things as how the customer might be feeling, what they might need right now, how you can ease the impact of problem and what the right solution might be. If the customer is obviously stressed, it might make sense to spend a moment reassuring him or her instead of immediately reaching for the solution.
If the repair will be significant or if a replacement is the only remedy, a conversation about their future plans before making a recommendation will put you in a position to suggest a better solution for them. If the customer is adversely impacted, steps can be taken to ease the pain of the immediate problem.
If there is no obvious solution, alternatives can be suggested to address the situation until the problem can be solved. All of this adds up to doing the right things and this shows the customer you care about them as individuals and contributes to an exceptional service experience.
Benefit to You
Although your customers will receive great benefit from your doing the right things approach, it actually creates tremendous benefits for you. A doing the right things approach does not require you to work harder, just differently and the rewards for this change in mindset can be career changing.
Just think about your own personal experience of being a recipient of customer service. Did the way the person who served you impact how you treated them? If they took steps to understand your problem and earnestly tried to resolve the issue, did you show more patience as they worked to find a resolution?
If they couldn’t provide you with exactly what you were looking for, were you more willing to listen to their suggestions and perhaps more accepting of their recommendation, even if it was not exactly what you initially requested?
If they were polite and courteous and treated you like a human being and not a number, were you more courteous and respectful of them? Do you think that as a result of the way you responded to their approach, that their experience in doing their own job might have be improved?
A doing the right things approach can directly and positively influence how your customers treat you. That is because, as human beings, you tend to respond in kind to how others treat them. When you become more customer-focused and take steps to fully understand the needs of your customers, you can influence how those customers will treat us.
Through a doing the right things approach, you can create a world where the customer is less demanding and emotional, more respectful and reasonable and more patient and forgiving.
Taking a doing the right things approach will contribute to customer satisfaction, customer retention and profitability. It will also contribute to a more enjoyable and rewarding working environment. you can reap the benefits of doing the right things by focusing on solving the problem from the customer’s perspective rather than simply the task of fixing the customer’s equipment.