Company car facing roadblocks in the city

What gets in the way of creating a great customer service experience for you and/or your organization?

Is it a process that is clunky, inconvenient and difficult for the customer? Is it people who aren’t properly trained or don’t have the right people skills? It’s easy to ask yourself these questions and self-diagnose your organization, but have you ever asked your people?

That’s exactly what my friend and client, Diane Kniowski, did. Diane is president and regional general manager at Univision. As she moved into this role, she realized the opportunities that would come from providing a better customer experience. The question she asked her team was simple:

If I can remove one roadblock that gets in the way of you doing your best work, what would it be?

While this question was general, it focused on what was getting in the way of success for both the employees and their customers. Her team came back with their answers and consolidated them into 26 areas of opportunity. To date, 25 of those original 26 areas have been eliminated. I say “original 26” because as some of these “roadblocks” were eliminated, new ones were discovered. This exercise, as simple as it sounds, was her way of creating a process improvement initiative that has been wildly successful.

This is similar to an exercise that we do in our customer service workshops. We ask participants to identify the problems and complaints they hear most from both internal and external customers. We add one extra question: “How often does this happen?” We list them all, vote on the top three, and then have a team discussion on how to eliminate or mitigate these problems and complaints.

Here is something interesting related to the “how often” question in our workshops. When someone says, “It happens all the time,” I ask, “Why?” Why hasn’t anyone done anything to at least reduce it from happening “all the time”? This is just common sense. Unfortunately, when you’re in the middle of your work, you don’t or can’t always take the time to step back and analyze certain situations.

What responses you get from Diane’s question or our workshop exercise will vary. Some answers will be major “aha!” opportunities, while others will seem trivial and unimportant. All must be considered, and nobody’s issue should be casually dismissed without a good reason as to why it won’t be pursued.

So, what are you waiting for? Sit down with your team and find your roadblocks to more success. Once these roadblocks and problems start to get eliminated, you’ll be amazed at how other issues start to resolve themselves. This translates into a better experience for both employees and your customers.