How to Provide Great Customer Service While Making Safety a PriorityNov 18, 2021
In the last 2 years companies have had to implement new and improved safety protocol for both employees and customers. Some companies have used this shift in priorities as an excuse to not focus on employee and customer satisfaction. This is not an either / or situation.
Every company needs to articulate their organizational standards. Ideally, these standards are represented in a priority order. That priority order is in itself a standard. As an example – every Cast Member at Disney has heard “Safety, Courtesy, Inclusion, Show, Efficiency”. Four of these “Keys” have been around for more than 60 years – with Inclusion being added to the list in 2020.
Safety will always come first
Like people know how to walk and chew gum at the same time, companies can make safety a priority and provide great customer service and a great customer experience at the same time. Every employee needs to know the company’s standards, what they mean, how to live them, and their relative priority to each other.
The logical application of The Five Keys is that if you are focused on delivering one of the lower priority keys – you must make sure that you are not disregarding a higher priority key. With that being said – when you are focused on delivering a higher priority key, there is no reason to disregard a lower priority key. As a leader I was always focused on delivering all Four Keys (there was not a 5th key at that time). The priority comes in to place in terms of trade-offs. Let’s say you have a great efficiency project – getting people to their work location more quickly. That project includes having said employees cross the street where there is no cross walk …. wrong. This is not an appropriate trade-off. You must FIRST solve for the safety impacts prior to moving forward with the efficiency initiative.
I had a great example of this during my recent vacation with Disney Cruise Line. I had the opportunity to take what is called a back-to-back cruise. That means 2 consecutive cruises. While I’d love to say it was 2 long cruises – it was actually a 3-night cruise and a 4-night cruise. Due to COVID protocols all Guests are required to be COVID tested prior to sailing. This includes those doing a back-to-back being tested between cruises.
At first this safety requirement sounds like a huge pain and a major inconvenience. It was anything but. We were given a high-level understanding of the process when we booked our cruises. We received an in-app message about the process the day prior to the disembark/ embark process. We received another in-app message about the process the evening before. At breakfast our serving team confirmed we knew what we were to do.
NOTE – very often on a back-to-back you have the luxury of not changing rooms from cruise to cruise. This means no need to pack or schlep luggage around on the back-to-back day. As a Guest this was a great efficiency point.
In our case there were 13 staterooms travelling a back-to-back. The process included reporting to one of the nightclubs, being checked in by a crew member, being escorted off the ship and being handed over to a shoreside Cast Member. We were escorted through customs and then escorted to the COVID testing location. The COVID testing went quickly, the testers were prepared and friendly. We were then escorted to a waiting location. It was an air-conditioned tent. Comfortable chairs. A big screen TV playing Disney cartoons. Clear messaging as to what we could expect and what the next steps were. After about 30 minutes we were escorted back to the terminal to reboard the ship.
We were back on the ship by 11am.
Safety. Courtesy. Inclusion. Show Efficiency.
Everyone we encountered along the way was friendly and helpful. Lots of “welcome back” greetings from Cast and Crew as we returned to the ship.
The process was extremely efficient. We never had time to think “why is this process interrupting our vacation”. Not a lot of sitting around.
Everyone maintained our vacation vibe throughout the process … no feeling of not being on vacation between cruises. We watched Disney cartoons!
Have you articulated your company’s standards? Are they shared in priority order? Do your employees know how to make operational decisions that are aligned with your company’s prioritized standards? Company standards are not multiple choice. Always always always make safety your top priority. Make sure you have filters in place to engrain your company’s standards in all of your decision making. Ensure you have someone on your leadership team accountable for each of these standards ... while at the same time standards are everyone's responsibility.
If you’ve put safety protocols in place and feel as though you’ve allowed things like customer satisfaction, the employee experience, or business optimization to slip – let’s talk.
As a six-sigma blackbelt with 20+ years of Leadership experience and 10+ years of customer service experience – I’d love to talk about how to avoid your employee experience, customer satisfaction and financial results becoming collateral damage.
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About Me: I'm Heather Havey and being an integrator is in my DNA. My consulting business helps visionary leaders bring their big ideas to implemented reality. I’m passionate about efficiency and business transformation, and I will empower you to accelerate the achievement of your big goals. I offer customized, no-nonsense, real-world solutions designed to position you as the hero in the reinvention of your business.
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