Fail

Aloha!

Hey, all this blustery rain has me thinking Hawaii. Nope,- haven’t been there, but I’m practicing just in case. 

My goal in connecting with you each month is to give you something actionable that you can use to improve your game as we teach and lead others. Think of it as “leader fuel” as we combine to do great work and serve others
My purpose always is to inform us, inspire us, and keep us focused on the road ahead.

Grab a cup of something yummy and join me for a bit.
I’m  currently enjoying a mug of gunpowder green tea I got at new shop on “the Drive”. Tea guy described it in reverential tones as being “superior” and “organic”. It sounds way more dangerous than it tastes. Pretty good actually. Hope I don’t blow up.


2018 Chapter 2: 

This Sucks, Blows and Wheezes!
 
Question: What happens when there’s a “massive fail” on our part on the customer care front?
Unfortunately, this does happen from time to time.  Someone on our MTR team totally blows it and fails to deliver on our standard of customer care, our values, or even the basic job description. This could be with a tenant, a supplier, a co – worker or one of our major investors. Emotions are running high.
 
Answer: I or someone else from our senior leadership team has to step in quickly, assess the damage and do relationship triage. Usually this involves a sincere apology to the offended party, a plan to set things right and a commitment to learn from the situation to prevent re-occurrence. 
 
I don’t mind apologizing on behalf of others when we screw up. Admitting failure and saying “I’m sorry” without throwing the offender under the bus comes with leadership territory.
“Sorry” is one of those life-lube things that reduces friction and heat and helps us reconcile and  move on.

 
It’s only normal for small misunderstandings to happen or we encounter difficult even abusive people who are impossible to deal with. These I consider small bumps in the road and don’t generally constitute poor customer service.
 
There are situations however that I would consider universally unacceptable.

  • Long wait times/response times on things like phone calls, emails or requests for repairs
  • Poor attention to detail or facts
  • Failure to understand or perform key aspects of the role or job description
  • Impersonal, unprofessional or needless negative interactions

Here’s the thing that really grinds my gears.
Repeated relational screw ups in the course of doing business that simply need not happen. Most times, damaging scenarios could be easily averted with a bit of thoughtfulness. When I or others need to keep doing damage control on repeat scenarios, that tells me someone is failing to understand that creating an excellent customer care experience is mission critical.

 An ancient proverb says A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.” So why even go there?
 
Longer term, here’s what can happen:

  • Lost trust with those involved
  • Damaged reputation
  • Negative community and staff morale
  • Loss of investor confidence
  • A lot of needless “sideways energy” gets expended

  Did you know….
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Source : Understanding Customers  Ruby Newell-Legner

Modern day investment icon Warren Buffet says “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”
 
 My “Wow” Experience
 
It was late afternoon. I was between appointments and feeling rushed when a minor disaster struck. As I turned the ignition key, I heard the dreaded click, click, click …. then nothing. I was in a parkade with a gate that automatically locked up at 5 pm. It was 4:20, so time suddenly became a factor. Blood pressure rising, I hastily dialed the roadside assist number on my automobile membership. “Within forty minutes” the friendly dispatcher said. I explained my predicament and she responded “we’ll do our level best to get to you as quickly as possible, Mr. Epp.”

35 minutes later the service truck arrived and the driver, a big guy with “Dan” on his shirt greeted me with a warm smile. “What seems to be the problem?” I explained. “Mind if I poke around a bit? I’ll try to get you up and running unless it’s something a bit more serious.

“Oh, and don’t worry about the locking gate thing, I took care of that on the way in.”

“Besides your car not starting, how’s the rest of your day going?” From there on he skillfully asked a questions and took an genuine interest in what was going on for me while he tinkered under the hood. “Looks like a dead starter motor. Where do you want the vehicle towed?’ I gave him the address of my mechanic’s shop. “O yeah, I know those guys – good shop.” After hooking up he said “hop in” and away we went.

Along the way we chatted about his new Ford diesel truck, grandkids, the Canucks, and some of his hopes and dreams for the future. Suddenly he asked, “where do you live?” I told him.”Why don’t I drop you off at home and save you the cab fare back?” He reassured me he’d lock up the vehicle in a safe place and put the keys in the drop box. As he dropped me off, I asked about the extra mileage charges. “Don’t even worry about that”. I felt a measure of reassurance and calm as I watched my car “on the hook” disappear around the corner along with a cheery wave from Dan.
My crisis that day had gone from an “Arrrgh!” to a “Wow!”.

The next day I got a survey email. Did our driver arrive in a timely manner? did he greet you in a friendly manner ? courteous? helpful? knowledgeable? reassuring? knew how to service you vehicle correctly?etc.
Turns out I was on the receiving end of a masterclass in customer care. Not only did this guy love his job, he knew about going the 2nd mile and doing it with a great attitude.

Turns out a that ones’ brand or reputation boils to the emotional aftertaste of a set of experiences.

Begs the question. How do people experience you?
What’s the emotional aftertaste?

Do they come away thinking Arrrgh!” or is it more on the “Wow!” side of things. 

At MTR, excellence in Customer Service is mission critical and one of the things we strive for. 

 Let’s go create some “Wows” this month.

Thanks for reading!
It means a lot to me. 
 
Lorne