Looking busy is vital. It is also related to my favorite word: Perception. You will have customer patience willingly bestowed upon you if you look busy and competent, so remembering to consider how your operation appears is key. Did you know that customer service scores are often higher during your peaks than in your valleys? Believe it!
In my previous life, I managed 14 locations for a very large company. We measured our customer service almost obsessively, so metrics are something I can definitely speak to. Our peaks, easily 300-500% higher than our valleys, came on Mondays mornings and Friday evenings whereas our valleys were mid-afternoon and mid-week. Our customer service surveys were done by a 3rd party analyst that supplied data about the times the customer had visited along with their rating of our service.
Finding out that our least satisfied customers had visited us mid-week when we had plenty of staff, product, and time was horrible. We were leaving the worst impression during the times we had the most opportunity to do things right. It turned out that without a line of people and 4 phone lines beckoning our full attention, we got up more slowly, we answered the phone with less enthusiasm, and we were less attentive to detail – our customers had clearly noticed!
Operating as though you have a line of people and the phone ringing off the hook is an exercise that pays off when it comes to customer satisfaction.
My attention to the gravity of these perceptions has made me hyper-sensitive to businesses that do not get it. In fact, I think the invention of the mobile deposit has saved my sanity because banks can be incredibly guilty of this! When going in to make a deposit, I would usually see something like this: 1 greeter at the door, 2 tellers managing the line, 1 person handling the drive thru window, and 2-3 others sitting or milling around behind the tellers. I realize that the greeter and employees behind the tellers could have been doing something important for the bank’s business. However, as the person who had entrusted my hard-earned money to this bank, I saw more people not helping customers than I saw helping them.
Had they appeared busy or otherwise engaged, I would have felt that I was simply waiting my turn. Watching them do very little with no hustle while avoiding eye contact with the line was maddening. I don’t think I ever waited long, and I was always impressed with the friendliness and competency of the tellers. Unfortunately, I was rarely “completely satisfied” because my impression was that I was not their first priority.
The organizations that figure this out first will achieve a whole new level of loyalty. How have you overcome these kinds of perception issues? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!