How To Avoid The "Woe Is Me" Employee Mentality
Many organizations today, regardless of business model or industry, are experiencing the same struggles – customer demand is at an all-time high and staffing is a major issue. This toxic combination can leave even your best team member saying, “woe is me…we need help!”
As a business leader, not only do you have to focus on your customers and hiring new team members, but you cannot forget that supporting your current team members is now more important than ever. Here is why – even your best team members will eventually wear down after dealing with an increase in upset customers, a backlog of orders, and a long list of missed opportunities. Regardless of what your primary issues may be, the "woe is me" attitude will bleed into your customer experience - if it has not already!
What you can do about it
Here is one way to support your teams. Hold an Internal Culture workshop with a focus on departmental communication and handoffs. During the workshop we identify the interaction points that have the biggest impact on the customer’s experience. Examples can include customer check-out in retail, or a follow-up call in the service industry.
Then, take it a step further, and focus on where you typically drop the ball on customers during these critical customer interaction points. Examples here very often include poor internal communication, careless internal customer hand-off, and not properly setting expectations the first time. Once we have identified these common issues, the team can start to work together to find solutions. What steps can you take to provide better internal communication and handoffs? Where can your behind-the-scenes staff, or "invisible service providers," better support your front-line team members, and vice versa? What efficiencies can be identified during handoffs that could save steps for several departments?
This process not only gets teams working together in a team environment, but it also very often uncovers opportunities to improve the experience both internally and externally. Simply removing some of those steps that happen simply because "we’ve always done it that way" can always be a great start.
Here is an example of one company’s successful workshop. Mid-States Concrete Industries was dealing with information and experience gaps at critical customer handoff points from department to department. While most companies experience this, Mid-States decided to do something about it. They held a workshop that included representatives from each department involved in a customer’s order – from start to finish, and they included departments that interact with customers, as well as those behind the scenes.
The first part of the workshop identified the most critical touchpoints the organization had with customers. Each one of these touchpoints was analyzed by participants and they worked together as a team to do the following:
- They identified service defects in these most critical customer interaction points, building better awareness and proper protocols.
- They validated that their most important operational standards were still in fact valid and achievable.
- They created experiential standards designed to truly set Mid-States apart from competitors.
- They created above and beyond scenarios designed to further enhance the customer’s experience and build relationships.
Once step one was complete, the participants went back with a critical eye to review all internal handoffs that take place during the customer’s journey. Their goal was to knock down barriers that exist and look for ways to provide better communication and support between departments as the customer’s order travels through the sales and fulfillment process. Some solutions included taking time to add a team debrief meeting at critical points of the process as opposed to relying solely on email. An "experience checklist" was created that helped ensure each department knew the standards that were to be followed throughout the sales and fulfillment process. And a post-order debrief and review were added once large orders were set to deliver.
Today, the customer’s journey is a primary focus of all team members at Mid-States, as they strive to deliver a consistently excellent experience along with their consistently excellent products.
Dave Murray is the Senior Customer Experience Consultant for The DiJulius Group and has helped dozens of companies create incredible systems that allow them to consistently deliver superior customer service. Dave’s experience has varied from leading call centers and front-line team members, to working closely with key partners and stakeholders.
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