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The 3 Ps of purpose-driven customer service (Part 2)

The Revelation ConversationLast week, I presented Part 1 of an activity that will enable supervisors, managers, and leaders to produce fresh suggestions for how the team can consistently deliver purpose-driven customer service.

Part 1 introduced terms to distinguish between actions and behaviors, job knowledge and job skills, job functions and job essence, and organizational purpose and job purpose. These definitions will be helpful when facilitating the activity with your team. This post also presented the 3 Ps of purpose-driven customer service: position, purpose, and process.

As we move into Part 2 of the activity, it’s important to have clarified the position or job role, its higher purpose, and the process to be examined. With the position, purpose, and process decided, together with those in the job role who are closest to customers and the process in question, it’s time to explore and identify purposeful actions and behaviors that can be incorporated into the process to operationalize purpose-driven customer service.

1. Set the course. Begin by sharing the group’s objective: To identify purposeful (i.e., in alignment with organizational mission, vision, or purpose, and core values) actions and behaviors, reflective of the chosen job role’s higher purpose, that can be incorporated into the process with the goal to enhance the process and achieve KPIs and other desired outcomes.

Below is a template you can use to guide the activity. Notice that the position, purpose, and process have already been defined for the group.

FIGURE 1: Purpose-Driven Customer Service Activity (Template)

Click to enlarge

In this example, the general manager has selected the position of front desk agent. The job role’s purpose has been revealed as: to create a loyal customer — one that will share positive word-of-mouth about the hotel/brand, be less price-sensitive, and return/repurchase. And the process to be examined is guest check-in.

2. Involve the team. The assembled team, the frontline staff that’s closest to the guest and process, is invited to brainstorm a list of job knowledge and job skills required of the position to reliably execute the check-in process. Record their answers on the flipchart or whiteboard in the appropriate column. These are the transactional elements of the job role.

3. Get creative. Ask the team to identify specific actions and behaviors that can be incorporated into the check-in process that are reflective of the higher purpose of the job role: to create a loyal customer — one that will share positive word-of-mouth about the hotel/brand, be less price-sensitive, and return/repurchase. These are the purposeful qualities that can enhance the customer’s experience.

Prior to calling out top-of-mind ideas, encourage the team to take some time to consider and explore the following resources to identify relevant actions and behaviors:

  • Their own observations and experiences as a customer, regardless of industry.
  • Relevant publications, such as trade magazines, that feature trends, innovations, and best practices inside the lodging/hospitality industry. (While these can be accessed on-line, it might also be worthwhile to have hard copies of trade publications handy for this activity.)
  • Review sites. Trawl reviews on relevant sites like Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Yelp, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Within the verbatim reviewer comments are concrete examples (as customer testimonials) of actions and behaviors that made lasting positive impressions on guests. It’s true that some reviews will detail sensational one-offs that cannot be operationalized, but most will depict actions and behaviors that can be incorporated into existing processes or suggested, encouraged, and modeled by leadership.

The timeframe will vary depending on the group size, access to handheld technology, and whether hard copies of trade publications are available, but anywhere from 15-30 mins. should suffice. Provide note pads and pens and ask participants to jot down the ideas they glean from their conversations, personal reflections, and the resources accessed.

4. Mine for gold. When the group is ready, after spending 15-30 mins. tapping into their own observations and best practices from competing hotels, tap into this newfound intelligence by asking for suggestions of specific actions and behaviors that can be incorporated into the check-in process to elevate the guests experience, achieve KPIs, reflect core values, and make progress toward the higher purpose of the organization and job role.

Below is what a completed grid might look like for the position, purpose, and process identified.

FIGURE 2: Purpose-Driven Customer Service Activity (Complete)

Click to enlarge

Supervisors, managers, and leaders can do this for every position they oversee—and for multiple processes. Identifying required job knowledge and job skills will be easy. In most cases, managers and frontline staff can simply reference existing job descriptions to complete these columns. Identifying job purpose, however, requires more thought, reflection, and, as illustrated by the airline baggage handler referenced in Part 1, more questions.

With the 3 Ps in place, you’re ready to set the course, involve the team, get creative, and mine for gold in the pursuit of purpose-driven customer service!

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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