Going the extra mile is part of business ethos and can be a key factor in your success

Going the extra mile

Isn’t it remarkable how customer service can vary so dramatically from one company or organisation to another? This applies pretty much regardless of whether in the public sector, private sector or charity sector. Also, whether retail or professional services. Some recent experiences have got me penning this blog!

Having come from a primarily retail travel background, then moved into senior Operations and HR and roles, before setting up my own Career & People Development Consultancy over a decade ago, I have always believed that you ‘live or die by your service and reputation’. Going the extra mile and striving for consistent excellence in customer service has been ingrained into my psyche and are mantras that I drummed into my previous managers and staff and are now a key part of the ethos of my company. However, a number of recent personal experiences have got me questioning how many companies or organisations really do deliver service that both surprises and delights you? More often than not, the surprise is of an unpleasant nature and experience I’m sure you will agree?

The good….

As a soon to be father of the bride, I set about looking for an appropriate wedding suit for the big day in Portugal. I was really dreading this, as I detest shopping. What I really wanted, was someone to take away the pain of the whole experience for me! I made an impromptu visit to an independent suit retailer in the City of London, whilst working in the area, before Christmas. My first experience was highly positive. The owner of the store asked me all the right questions, which would help to narrow down the choice to a quality lightweight suit, which would be ideal for a spring wedding in Portugal that I could also use for business purposes. He was most helpful and left me with his business card and a feeling of confidence for when I was ready to try and buy. As there were also a number of other quality suit retailers in a small radius, this seemed like a good area to make comparisons.

The Bad….

And so I did, with my wife, during the post Christmas sales. After three or four dreadful experiences, ranging from total apathy, I will grudgingly speak to you in between conversations over my Bluetooth earpiece, making immediate totally incorrect assumptions on style and price and the classic ‘we won’t let out of the store until you buy from us today’ look, we ended up at the store I first visited.

Going the extra mile….

Service that surprises and delights and going the extra mile

The owner remembered me and within minutes we had narrowed down the choice to three fabulous suits. If only we had gone there first but you have to humour the wife, don’t you? Within minutes, there was a clear winner for colour, style and fit, except that the trousers were a tad too small on the waist. ‘Not a problem sir, as we can have those taken out in no time’. Great but would they be the perfect fit? Not perturbed the owner pledged to have them ready for me in half an hour, while we went for a coffee and if they didn’t fit right we didn’t need to buy. Now this was going the extra mile and a real surprise! True to his word he called the tailor and when we returned the trousers were a perfect fit, even allowing some extra room for the wedding meal! He also agreed to a special discount on the sale price, including some other minor alterations and the suit would be ready in a few days.

The result….

Returning a couple of weeks later for the final fitting, everything was spot on. Even though we had already paid for the suit, the service was still exemplary. I felt a million dollars and ready to walk our daughter down the isle. We were all delighted, and all my cares were taken away. With the minimum of fuss and even some joviality, I had purchased what is undoubtedly a ‘premiership quality’ suit, altered for me, at about the same price other stores were selling their ‘lower league’ quality equivalents. The store owner had even made the whole experience a pleasant one, so now just to focus on my speech!

What was the difference in customer service?

This store owner was solutions focused and consistent. He asked all the right questions, so drilled down to the nitty gritty in no time at all. He took real pride in the service he offered, remembering people who had previously visited his store and making us feel welcome, rather then treating us an imposition. He also took great pride in the quality of his stock and his knowledge and expertise, which shone through. He clearly had our best interests at heart, which gave my wife and I massive confidence and belief that we were doing the right thing.

Even in the sale, this was an expensive purchase after all. He did not sell or pressurise us at all. So, what was different about his approach? ….this was clearly going the extra mile, wasn’t it? As some of the great sales gurus would say, he did all the right things to let us buy from him! Would I buy from him again and recommend to my friends? Of course I would, without hesitation.

Just think how much this one sale can have influenced a significant amount of further business for the store, as a result of our recommendations? In fact we have already recommended some friends to get their wedding suit from the same store. So why is it so difficult to find consistent customer service like this then? Was it because he was an independent rather than a large chain store retailer that he took more care? You would like to think this might be the case but we had bad experiences at other independent stores.

Business ethos

Going the extra mile is a mindset and can be part of your business ethos. We are justly proud of our SMP Solutions 3 Pillars of Success ethos. ” There are no traffic jams on the extra mile” the saying goes! However, can you imagine how much better would your company or organisation would be if you started to fill it up by surprising and delighting your customers or clients?

 

 

 

What Lies Beneath – Building your team to become a ‘remarkable’ organisation!

When you look at an iceberg what do you see? A massive chunk of ice seemingly suspended above the water line? What you are actually seeing is only the tip because at least 90% of the iceberg lies beneath the surface; it’s hidden from view.

Is your organisation yet to recognise and realise what actually lies beneath the surface?

Let’s take a look at the difference in meaning between above and below the water line, in relation to team development. Above the water line relates to team work. This is what happens to keep the engine or your organisation ticking over. Team work gets the job done, in other words your team is ‘OK’. Below the water line is where the greatest benefits lie. This is the place where team development happens; the place where the strengths and talents of your team lie. Team building will take your business forward, in other words it’s where you can become a ‘Remarkable’ organisation.

Why settle for ‘OK’ when you can achieve ‘Remarkable’?

Consider the team work that is taking place in your organisation. Is ticking over enough or is your engine completely out of tune and in desperate need of a full service? In order to maximise the full potential of your people, how will you move from team work to team building, and then back again? Having worked with a range of teams across Private, Public and Charity sectors, we have achieved many team building successes, often against very challenging agendas. One of the most significant outcomes of our team facilitation and team away days has been the opportunity for our clients’ teams to shift the focus of their thinking from the past to the future; to be able to look forward, together.

It’s about moving what’s hidden to become obvious

For your team to successfully progress from team work to excel in team building, you must answer these questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • How did we get here?
  • Where are we going?
  • Why are we going there?
  • How can we make it happen?
  • What are the obstacles?
  • When will we make it happen?
  • Who is responsible?

From here you will create a starting point from which your team can begin to develop and build together and manage change. Change is a key word that will impact on the level of success you can ultimately achieve. From your responses to the questions above, change will naturally occur. Why? Because as you explore potential opportunities, communicate more openly, discover and share common goals and values, the need to embrace change will become more and more apparent.

Gain a new perspective on ‘Who can do’ and ‘What can be done’

Team building is about exploring beneath the water line to extract the talents, skills and strengths of your team. This helps to shift the mindset from getting by or working as a team to who are we and what do we stand for. As your team builds you will discover that your shared values can be the blueprint for your success. Together you will realise and readdress opportunities and clarify what is most important for your organisation.

Showcase the best your team can be

Become more ‘obvious’ to your clients and competitors. Obvious equals raising your brand awareness and is a positive reputation builder. Obvious is what lies beneath that you can bring to the surface. Be remembered for being a remarkable organisation and stand out from the crowd!

If you want to know more about team development and team building check out our website for more information