Autumn Nears...

Thoughts on service...

Yes, every day’s a day at school. It’s what you learn from, like clichés are only clichés because they are, mostly, true. And you do learn every day, even on Saturdays. I try to switch of but you can’t. For example, to support our Customer Service courses, you can’t help but soak up our own experiences. It’s easy to recall the bad experiences (oh, it is!) but sometimes you have to take your ht of, though not literally unless you are wearing a hat, to Betty’ of Harrogate (though they are not just in Harrogate).

 The entire Betty’s experience is, well, an experience and if you haven’t, you should. Lovely food, great surroundings, often  pianist playing unobtrusive music and, above all, the staff.

 I don't know how they train Betty's staff but blimey they are good. I don’t even know if they DO train the staff (they do) or whether it’s just natural enthusiasm and love of the job. That something you can’t measure accurately, you just know.

When you come in, you are not  ignored or felt to be an unwelcome gust (or even worse, one that can be ignored), you are just met with a genuine interest and warmth. And as you will have to stand in a queue for a few minutes, or sometimes longer, this helps but nobody seems to mind the wait. Yes, the food is excellent, really excellent, but it isn’t cheap and you do have to be patient. Strangely, you don’t mind.

 The staff are attentive and show genuine enthusiasm for you and what they are doing. They smile genuinely (that’s via the eyes, by the way, and the periocular gland) and talk to you like you are, as you are,  human being. It reminded m of the FISH approach, which they may well use in their training, which stems from a normally boring environment which was transformed into a fun environment which attracted more business.

 The FISH! Philosophy, inspired by the Pike Place Fish Market in America, identified four simple practices that help anyone bring new energy and commitment to their work. And they maybe blindingly obvious and simple, but what great ideas aren’t?

 Provide amazing service that makes customers want to come back again and again

  1. Build a culture where employees love to give their best every day
  2.  Build effective leaders who inspire through their example
  3.  Improve teamwork and build trust

 We’d go further. Encourage your people to be people, and not people who are “at work”. They should be “at play” and they should be encouraged to do so by managers who understand the importance of human interaction.

Which, in the age of tablets and phones and general lack of human connection, you’d have thought may be an anomaly.  But look at the queues at Betty’s, look at customers coming out after a meal with a bagful of goodies and a broad smile on their faces and you’ll realise that some of the more “traditional” experiences are still valued. In fact, maybe more so now.

 And their Fat Rascals and Eccles Cakes are excellent.

 LAST THOUGHT... Economist John Maynard Keynes once predicted that no-one in Britain would work more than 15 hours a week.