Envision this scenario. You’re an eye doctor and own and operate a small office with a storefront. You are dynamic, energetic and love dealing with customers.
You are careful to make sure each customer feels welcome and special every time they visit.
They love you.
The front end experience
A customer calls your office to make an appointment but has recently changed insurance providers. He asks the receptionist to confirm coverage since it’s so confusing to someone who doesn’t handle insurance daily.
The receptionist responds, “well that would require us to make a phone call, and it may take a few days because we’ve been really busy.”
Pause and think: How does a customer feel when they first call your organization? Do they look forward to calling back and do they tell their friends about the experience? Is it memorable? Why or why not?
The receptionist continues, “I guess you could fax us a copy of the front and back of your card and we could call for you.”
Customer thinks, Fax? You’re kidding me. But answers, “Uh, ok, I don’t have a fax machine could I scan and email you a copy?”
The receptionist sighs, “well our email hasn’t been working lately but you could try. It’s ——@hotmail.com.” Not working? Really? You have a website but no email?
She continues, “If you don’t hear from me in a few days, that means we didn’t get it so you’ll have to call me back.”
Pause and think: Do your employees have the right tools? Have you equipped people on the front lines to take care of customers? Are you looking to remove barriers so people can serve customers better?
Your customer never hears back from the receptionist so he stops by the office to drop off a copy of the new insurance card.
When he reintroduces himself and refers to the phone conversation the receptionist’s first words are, “well I probably won’t get to this today but hopefully in two days before I have to go on vacation.” She looks really stressed out and a little annoyed.
Pause and think: What is the front-end experience for your customers? What is the first response to customer requests? Is is a posture of helpfulness or burden? What would you like your customers to experience?
The leadership chain
If you were a fly on the wall and witnessed this exchange what would your reaction be? Clearly you care about and know how to treat customers, so would you blame the receptionist? Is it all her fault?
Maybe this was just a bad couple of days, but this affects the business. And in the end, it’s completely on us as leaders.
Even if you’re a CEO with 5 direct reports, how is your leadership getting passed on to them? If each of your 5 direct reports has 5 direct reports, how does it translate to those 25 people? What happens by the time you get to the receptionist?
How often do we evaluate how our leadership gets translated through the chain of people with customer contact?
It’s worth taking a hard look every once and a while.
Question: How is your leadership translating to the front desk?