Change the physical environment, processes, equipment, technology, signage, etc. of an organization but not address behavior and your culture will remain the same. That’s what I experienced last week at a local car dealership. Let me illustrate.
Day 1 Morning – Called the Service Department and asked to make an appointment to service my truck. Their Service Advisor booked me for the next morning and reminded me that they had relocated across the street to a new building.
Day 1 Evening – Dropped off my truck using their ‘overnight drop box’ service. I specifically asked to be called before repair was made and that I needed to pick up my truck by 2 p.m. the next day. These two important customer expectations had a standard designated spot on the form I left with my keys.
Day 2 Afternoon – I called the dealership at 2:50 p.m. since I had had no communication from them. I was told my truck was not finished but would be available in 30 minutes. I arrived at 3:20 p.m. to find my truck sitting outside the shop but was surprised to learn the repairs were still not completed. The Service Advisor said they needed 15 more minutes.
Frustrated, I walked to the ‘new’ waiting lounge with its brightly polished floors and new furniture. Underneath the big screen TV and across from the free popcorn, soda, and coffee station, sat a big sign – “We Want Our Customers Completely Satisfied!” How ironic?
30 minutes later I was updated on the status of the repair. An additional 30 minutes passed before I got my truck back at 4:20 p.m. When I asked the Service Advisor why the repair took so long he said, “Our lead mechanic has been sick for two days and we are backed up. I guess I let time get away from me. Sorry.”
This is not the first time this dealership ‘dropped the ball.’ Their Service Department lacks basic customer service behaviors including: proactive communication and feedback skills; responsiveness; reliability; and empathy. But, the bigger issue is their culture which tolerates and reinforces this poor customer service – regardless of all the physical improvements.
Research indicates 70% of all significant change initiatives fail. The biggest reason – an overemphasis on process rather than people. That’s why I advise my clients to focus on four key elements to drive and sustain cultural change:
- Strategy – employees need to know how their behaviors every day impact business strategy (positively and/or negatively). Example: below average customer service can lead to losing high margin business
- Organization Cultural Processes – practice 12 cultural processes that Inform, Teach, and Reinforce desired behaviors that must be aligned and executed with disciple
- Individual Accountability – avoid blame/shame and instead focus on proactively influencing results by taking ownership
- Personal Engagement – live by the 4 Rights: doing the right thing; at the right time; the right way; for the right reason.
Customer service is simple – but not easy! It requires focusing on both physical and behavior change. Drop me a note at my email if you would like to dialog more.