Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Job well done: task and essence

When it comes to customer experience it is all down to attitude. Job tasks (place an order – clean a shelf) vs. job essence (understand and accommodate customer’s needs)

Most companies introduce and teach newcomers the tasks of the job, the procedures and work-instructions, but the essence of the job is left to be understood “between the lines”, Customer Service suffers when this is the case and in the long run so will your sales.
Ex I needed a white shirt (you know the classic one to use under a suit), went to a GAP shop could only find t-shirts so I asked the lady stacking the T-shirts “where do I find a white shirt?” with a great smile she pointed to the back of the shop and said “you see to the right of the jeans on the back wall there are all the shirts we have”. Had she done her task of stacking the t- shirts and helping customers who asked? Absolutely I knew exactly where to go. But had she performed the essence of the job she would have walked me over there questioned what kind of shirt I was after  and helped me finding the right style and size.

To ensure employees also understand the essence of their job it is key they are told about it, if I tell you your tasks are to stack shelves and help customers finding their way in the store, but not what I really mean by “helping the customers find their way” I am not clear on what their job is really about. In the above example when I arrived at the back wall I saw loads of shirts but no white ones, and could frankly not be bothered to ask again so I left the shop without purchasing anything.

I do not think this is neither complicated nor a new visionary way of thinking, but why is it then, that so many of us are measured and appraised on the tasks we perform instead of whether we perform the essence of the job? Granted it is easy to appraise on tasks – they are easy measured, and you can quickly tic boxes – but to appraise on performing the essence of the job, takes much more time and energy as a leader you have to really observe and explain, suggest and observe some more.
But I promise you it is worth the investment of time and energy, you will have happier employees (they know what is expected of them task and essence) and you will have happier customers (their needs are being more than met) and your bottom line will enjoy it too.

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