Do you recognize This?

How do you recognize good customer service?  I know – it is so rare to experience good, let alone exceptional customer service, that we may have forgotten that good customer service ever existed.  Perhaps it got lost while it was being outsourced – like lost luggage!

The problem isn't that we can't find good customer service.  The problem is that we don't recognize it – or rather we don't recognize and reward our employees when they provide good or exceptional customer service.  Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated.  We learn this as children.  Why is it that we suddenly forget this basic principle when we become managers?

Far too many managers are quick to criticize but slow or ineffective in their praise.  When they do offer praise, it tends to be generic (“Good Job, Al!”) and non-specific (“Way to go, team!”) 

While these attempts at praise and recognition are probably well-intentioned, they are meaningless.  What (specific) job did Al do well?  Where (specifically) did the team go to warrant your half-hearted praise?  As a manager, you should be setting concrete measurements and praising (publicly and privately) your employees who meet and beat these measurements:

“Al – I appreciate you arranging to have our UPS driver come an hour later today to pick up our shipments.  We were able to get an extra 200 Valentine's Day gift boxes out the door because of your effort.  I thank you – and our customers thank you.  Good job!”

“I want to publicly recognize our production team's extra efforts during January.  Because of their hard work and ingenuity, we were able to get 3 new products delivered to our trade show booth.  Because we were able to show and demonstrate these 3 products during the show we added an extra $300,000 in sales. Way to go team!” 

A quick search on the Internet will bring up numerous sources of tips, quotes and best practices for motivation and recognizing your employees.  Here is one site that I found this morning (Click here.)

It costs so little to reward and recognize good behavior – a handwritten note, an email, a handshake accompanied by a sincere expression of thanks for a (specific) job well done.  But it is so rare to see managers – or owners – employing this practice.  And their employees recognize – that they are not being recognized.

“There are two things want more than sex and money – recognition and praise.”

– Mary Kay Ash

Thousands of Pink Cadillacs confirm that Mary Kay knew how to motivate her independent sales force.  We can all learn a lesson from her.  Try it.  Pick up a couple of dozen “Thank You” notes and start using them at work – this tip works like a charm when your put it to work.  Just be specific, sincere and timely when you hand out your “thank you” notes.

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