The other day, I was playing golf – or in my case chasing a little white ball – with a friend and we were paired with a couple of guys to make up a foursome. We all got to talking what we did for a living, and when I told them that I worked with employees to improve customer service they asked me what, in my estimation, is the number one thing employees need to do to deliver great service – a little free consultation which I happily provided.
I told him that employees first and most importantly had to have GAS which of course got a laugh. My golfing friend quickly blurted out that he would begin taking his employees to Taco Bell before every shift. I chuckled and told him that GAS stood for Give A S**t! Employees must first and foremost Give A S**t! If they don’t, there is little chance of customers being served in any meaningful way.
Then I broke it down a little more. GAS not only stands for Give A S**t, it is also an acronym that stands for something a little deeper.
G = Give because you want to. This is an attitude of serving others because it is in your blood, you just like helping and do it because you want to, not because you have to. This spirit is the key to any type of real hospitality. And for those of you worried because you are thinking it isn’t in everybody’s blood, it can be developed but only when the leadership of the organization demonstrates service as a course of habit.
A = Act when you need to. Although you may have service in your blood, there are always those days or moments when you just find others disagreeable or hard to deal with. It is at these times that employees have to get into actor mode and become characters. This is where standards and actions need to be trained much like directing characters in a play. These are fallbacks for those times when serving just isn’t coming naturally.
S = Send the right messages all of the time. No matter what, we all must consider the messages we send in our actions, appearance, gestures, etc. This, again, is where company standards for attire, responsiveness, branding…the list goes on and on…must be trained and reinforced. Everything customers see and experience defines the organization and makes an impression that customers then communicate to others. It is imperative that the organization define the messages it wants to send and then ensure consistent delivery of those messages.
Ultimately, it does come down to giving a s**t …about attitude, ability to put on the show even when you don’t feel it, and communicating excellence with every action. It requires training, reinforcement, coaching, and recognition of great performance. If you are a business leader willing to put in that effort, you will see service improvement, happier, more loyal customers, and higher revenues.