Service Rules by Bryan K. Williams Enterprise

Webster’s Dictionary defines service as “work done for others”.

The three service rules are the Golden Rule, Platinum Rule, and Double Platinum Rule.

The Golden Rule
If I want to be treated nicely, then I should treat others nicely…if I want to have doors opened for me, then I should open doors for others…and if I want to be greeted with a big hug and high-five wherever I go, then I should give a big hug and high fives to others right?….Not so fast, it is a good baseline to have when developing the empathy muscle, it “only works when other people want to be treated the way you want to be treated”. Otherwise, you may end up turning people off.  Why wouldn’t everyone want to hear the evening news in a taxicab? The point here is that if you are committed to creating an exceptional service experience for each customer, then each customer’s wants, needs, and desires have to be acknowledged, celebrated, and acted upon.   Each time a customer, guest, or patient chooses to be served by you, they are basically saying “I’ve chosen you…now show me why I made the right decision”.

The Platinum Rule
It is about what your customers want and states, “Treat others the way THEY want to be treated”.  This rule means that you recognize that service is not about what you want to give; it’s about what others want to receive. If you give me what I don’t want, then you haven’t increased your value in my eyes. There must be a deliberate effort to uncover your customer’s wants, needs, and desires in order to take the guess work out of the equation.
It doesn’t matter if you “know what you’re talking about”. If you haven’t captured information to support your hypotheses, then it’s considered anecdotal. Once you confidently know what your customers want (because they’ve told you in various implicit and explict subtle forms), then you can proceed with meeting and exceeding those expectations.  After all, when it comes to service, what else can be more important than giving customers what they want?

The Double Platinum Rule
As I was leaving the store, the manager stopped me to ask if I got everything I wanted.
The attendant had given me what I wanted, but I was still upset.  So the Double Platinum rule is (you guessed it), “treat others the way they don’t even know they want to be treated”. To boil it down…anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. Don’t just meet your customer’s expectations, EXCEED them.

Grounding your service strategy in the three Universal Service Rules works well, because it heightens your empathy (Golden Rule), encourages a keen focus on your customer’s expectations (Platinum Rule), and challenges you to consistently think of ways to exceed those expectations (Double Platinum Rule).

For any service provider to remain relevant in today’s marketplace, it is critical to not just react to customer expectations, but to actively solicit them as well. If the customer doesn’t deem it as service, then it is not service .premise of “service is about what the customer wants”, will be a JUST BE A great starting point for success.

Sorry to say…but some people should not be serving other human beings

The prevailing wisdom from many organizations is that any person can be hired to serve. Given the right tools, training, and coaching opportunities, they too can become a service-delivering superstar. Not so. Being service-minded requires the presence of certain innate talents; namely, “caring”, “empathy”, “relationship building”, and the list goes on. As you’ve probably observed, some individuals are naturally good at those things, while for others it seems like such talents were surgically removed at birth. That is not to say that in order to be successful, one must be caring or friendly. It just means that “service” may not be their best opportunity to maximize their effectiveness 

If you take employees who do not like to serve people, and tell them exactly how the very best service professionals do it, they still won’t like to serve people. It is not about “knowing” what to do, it has to do with genuinely, spontanously,voluntarily wanting to be of service. 

Just last week, for example, I was in a well known electronics store.The “customer service” agent was standing right in front of me but blatantly ignored me…he pretended that I did not exist. I went to another store.I patiently waited approximately six feet away so I could be close enough to be seen but far enough to not impose.He might also be another candidate for the “Do not serve other human beings” award.I, the customer, should not have to see, deal with, or tolerate such blatant service tragedies, whatever be the reason for such behaviour be the personnel /stores.

“How can my organization prevent such scenarios from occurring?” The first potent answer is to select for service talent,means more than hiring nice people.It means that probing and open-ended questions are asked about what the candidate is passionate about, what they enjoy most at work, and how have they exceeded (not just met) expectations in the past. The ideal responses should revolve around helping, assisting, or serving other people. An alternative to selecting for talent is to select for values.For instance, if one of your organization’s top values is responsiveness, then try to select (not “hire”) people that at are very responsive.’

Have a discussion with your staff (individually if possible) and find out what are their true talents Find out who enjoys serving the customer, who enjoys problem resolution (and yes, there are some people who LOVE problem resolution), who enjoys dealing with numbers, who enjoys organizing projects, etc. Give everyone ample opportunity to do what they do best with constant support, feedback, and recognition. Some people that have been labeled as a “bad apple” may just be in the wrong role. Above all, to enhance service excellence, you must talk about service excellence, model service excellence and reward service excellence at every given opportunity.

If you run a Hotel or Restaurant, To Engage the Guest, You Must Engage  Those Who Directly Serve the Guest

For your employees, being engaged transcends showing up to work and doing what they are supposed to do.  It goes beyond constantly being on time and never calling in sick.  More than anything, engagement is much more than being “satisfied” at work.  Being engaged is synonymous with truly living the culture of the workplace.  It is about genuinely enjoying the opportunity to be a part of the organization and noticeably excited about contributing in a significant way, everyday.  Engaged employees are your role models; the ones that you’d like to multiply and replicate throughout your company.  They are the ones who constantly look for ways to exceed your expectations, and consistently delight customers with their urgency, inclusiveness, and follow through.  Basically, when you go to work and see that your engaged employee is working, you breathe a sigh of relief, because you know that your day will be significantly more successful

Have a townhall meeting to solicit their input on what the organization should consider as priorities in the future.  Hold mini focus-groups with a healthy cross-section of your best line staff The sharing of best practices is one of the most underutilized practices in many companies.Shine a spotlight on what currently works so that everyone will know exactly what you mean when the term “excellence” is used.  By the way, this also encourages your best people to continue churning out more best practices…which is always a great thing Believe it or not, your employees, like everyone else, have what’s called “tacit” knowledge.  Tacit knowledge means knowing something without openly expressing it. Chances are that Employee A has knowledge about the company’s “real way of doing things” that newer employees don’t have; including you and other managers. Employee A has also accumulated a wealth of insight into what initiatives have not worked, and why they haven’t. Trust me, the mere fact that you are seeking their expertise will earn you major points and will simultaneously help to engage them.  You should be able to walk up to any of your employees and ask about the company’s mission and get a clear, confident answer Furthermore, they should also be able to articulate how their department’s goals are aligned with the company’s goals The key here is to link, link, link. Link company goals to department goals, and link employee goals to department goals Employees in those organizations know exactly what makes their company unique, and they also know that their individual contributions are needed and valued John Maxwell once wrote that teams can make adjustments when they know where they stand. The key points are that the “scores” should be accessible and they need to be easily understood   Extract the data that is most relevant to that department and also show a few overall metrics that everyone affects (like Overall Satisfaction & Likelihood to Recommend).  Make use of every opportunity to connect with your workforce For engagement to take place, employees must feel like the company cares about them as individuals and genuinely wants to see them succeed.  You can’t fake it; employees know when it’s not genuine.
Involvement equals more engagement.  Solicitation of ideas equals more engagement.  Linking personal goals to department and company goals equals more engagement.  Regular two-way communication equals more engagement. People like to be involved in the planning of the work that affects them.  They crave it; even if they don’t verbalize it all the time.  So tap into their expertise and they will appreciate you and the organization for it.  The end result will be an army of engaged employees whose sole mission is to engage all of your customers all the time

To put it plainly, people should be treated the way they deserve to be treated.

Bryan K. Williams Enterprise, focuses on service excellence. The goal is to assist organizations, in various industries, to enhance their levels of customer service to world-class levels by  weaving Service excellence throughout the organization…at every level.