There are so many times I can look back and wish I could have done something different in a given situation. The key to making those occurrences as intermittent as possible is to know how to act in each situation. I know this seems like you should have some mind reading talent or be a mystical wizard to figure this out. However, the closest thing to this would be a great training program that helps people deal with those disheartening issues. Through strong policy development, reinforcement, and accountability you can assure that you head off the majority of issues you will encounter before they ever happen. All of those worries about bad reviews on social media can be virtually eliminated with good preparation.
Effective Policy DevelopmentI spent several years with McDonald's in Service and Operations Management and I was simply amazed by the Standard Operating Procedures manual. They have spent countless hours preparing for what could happen. I had a variable clearinghouse of answers to most any question I would have while working for their company. Incorporated with their effective hands-on training and E-Learning modules I was able to tackle basically any operational issue.
Being with many organizations in most forms of the Service Industry, I have been through very strong orientations and some that weren't so effective. Many of the issues in dealing with potential opportunities can be knocked off in a thorough and effective orientation. That first impression for an employee can also plant key tidbits into their mind that will give them tools to deal with important issues. I will talk about essential tools that go into the employee's mental toolbox often. It's a concept that is critical to affect great experiences.
ReinforcementPlanning effectively to reinforce strong policy is a very practical way to help build up the framework for good customer service. Many great tools could include shift meetings, continued training, and periodic testing. Using these training vehicles can power your team in the area of training. Using different methods to accomplish these will mix up the training process and keep things fresh and current. Role-play can be very effective in giving real time knowledge in the face of a potential client or customer. Looking over a previous review from the Internet together, or Mystery Shop scorecard can give you a great training tool during meetings. There is no substitute for effective testing to analyze what training may need to occur in many issues. The key is to keep up with all of this so you know what you have been doing and what topics you might need to refresh. Keeping it fresh and informative, they will thank you in the long run.
Hold Them AccountableAll of the best training can go by the wayside if you aren't willing to hold your staff accountable. I have worked with companies and institutions that have some of the best training offered, but because they are afraid to hold someone's feet to the fire, it is rendered pointless. In some cases, lack of accountability could be a matter of life or death. Administering the wrong medication or mixing the wrong chemicals can kill someone. If techniques aren't performed adequately it can cost a company production time. Not adhering to a diet request could put someone in the hospital. If people don't know consequences could hang in the balance, people could become complacent and it could be potentially harmful to a staff member or a customer.
If you remember to keep these counseling sessions professional and concise you will also avoid backlash from the employee receiving feedback. Have another manager handy to assist by just being there to reinforce your position. Plus, there is accountability there to support you. Handle discipline privately; calling out an employee in public is a slippery slope that rarely goes the way it should. Keep it short and answer any questions. Make sure to document each issue. It's important when going back to handle further discipline. Most companies require this to dismiss an employee.
You don't have to be a jerk; it's always better if you are being nice in these situations you are being nice. You can't fault professionalism. Sometimes letting someone go puts them in a better mind frame and is a doorway to a better opportunity for them.
Train for SuccessThe best way to deal with issues that could adversely effect the bottom line of your company is to train your staff effectively. Make sure they know what they need to succeed right off the bat and continue to show this regularly. The more you work with your team and show them what they need to know, the easier it is to diagnose trouble issues early.
I am interested in your feedback. I don't have all the answers, and I rely on the minds of great people to feed me morsels that will help me to be a better trainer. Feel free to drop a comment below, or an email if you'd like to discuss consulting or a more personal question that you don't want to place out in the public eye.
Thanks for taking the time to check this out. I will try to write weekly and keep current information up for you to utilize.