It is good to be back in blog land, but prior to getting the creative juices going I was thinking about Customer Service, and I started to doodle the word Customer. Before I knew it, I had eight ideas and they all came straight from the word! So I now have a plan for a series of eight blogs revolving around these themes:
The first word, ‘Consistency’ got me thinking back to an earlier blog – http://www.cullenscholefield.com/easy-isnt-always-easy/ – which I was inspired to write back in 2015 when I was so impressed with the customer service I had experienced on an EasyJet flight. Just over two years later on my first flight of the year I found it difficult to believe the 360 degree reversal!
I suppose that EasyJet must have rolled out some learning and development (L&D) activity, as I was able to observe the same behaviours on many of the flights that I took in 2015. By 2016 there was a gradual erosion and now in 2017 whilst the teams are always polite, they are often caught up in their processes or more interested in chatting to each other. Two examples:
- Stepping on board a flight attendant barely acknowledged me as he was reading some documents
- Then my pet hate – often observed at supermarket check outs but now it has crept on to a flight. As two attendants were serving food and drinks they were chatting about the night before and also people they knew
How do both of these behaviours make me feel? Well, that I am being processed, and a part of a necessary evil. I feel I have no choice either as EasyJet is the only carrier to some of the places I go to.
So if I put my L&D head on, what exactly was the purpose of the earlier training? Considerable effort and cost had produced a really pleasant welcome on to the plane. It made me feel valued and cared for as a customer.
What now strikes me is that if we are to embark on expensive company wide programmes we had better be sure that they are sustainable and most importantly part of what the organisation is trying to deliver in terms of a demonstration of its values and approach to its customers. For without well trained people the customer experience is likely to be patchy. Without happy customers an organisation is likely to be less profitable and will potentially decline.
So the key learning points for me are:
- Ensure that your people have the soft skills to give your customers the best experience possible
- Focus on some simple courtesies first by involving your people in what these are
- Keep it simple and genuine! After all, who in their right mind enjoys those lengthy phone greetings often said with no meaning?
- Give your people coping skills for times when a customer gets unhappy. It will happen and your people need to feel confident when their time comes
- Do not roll out global development programmes unless you are going to reinforce them and refresh them regularly
So EasyJet, I look forward to your next L&D programme!
Have you had any contrasting customer service experiences recently? Or been involved with expensive training schemes that were here today and gone tomorrow? Contribute your experience below and join the LinkedIn discussion: