I was running errands a few days ago and stopped at McDonald’s for lunch. I was greeted by a very friendly young lady as I entered the restaurant. I ordered my food at one of the new self-order stations and then waited. While I was waiting for my food, I noticed a very positive vibe among the McDonald’s crew. There was laughter and light hearted chatting, they were clearly enjoying their work day. The manager, who was also laughing and chatting, noticed me and told me that I could have a seat and they would bring my food to the table. I declined her offer and told her I didn’t mind waiting at the counter. I was actually thinking to myself that I didn’t want to sit down because I was enjoying watching this very engaged team led by, what I was assuming, was a great manager. My assumption about the manager was confirmed a few minutes later when I overheard one of the McDonald's crew tell a customer, “She’s a great boss!”
When I sat down with my lunch, I started noticing that the laughter and chatting wasn’t just taking place among the McDonald’s crew but also between the crew and the customers. The other customers were really engaged with the McDonald’s crew and it became apparent to me that some of those customers were regulars at this McDonald’s. Of course they have regulars, who wouldn’t want to come back to such a positive, fun place with what is the best customer service I have ever had in a fast food establishment.
I know, nice little story but what’s the point? Well, at Print Audit, great customer service is important to us. It’s part of our core values and we have actually won awards for our customer support. Personally, I think great customer service is as one of the keys to the success of any company including Print Audit. After all, it really doesn’t matter how great your products are, if you don’t treat your customers right, they won’t come back. And, they will without a doubt, tell everyone they can about their bad experience with your company. So, this experience at McDonald’s got me thinking about how is it that this McDonald’s restaurant and Print Audit are able to provide such great customer service?
It happens that the day I visited that McDonald's, I was in the middle of reading “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. If you haven’t read Start with Why or heard any of Simon’s Ted Talks, you should (https://www.ted.com/speakers/simon_sinek). If you aren’t familiar, Simon’s theory is that as a leader you have to establish “Why” you do what you do (your vision) before you determine “What” you are going to do and “How” you are going to do it. If a company is going to provide great customer service, the leaders have to envision a company with great customer service. The manager at McDonald’s obviously had a vision for how customers in her restaurant should be treated and that is absolutely the case at Print Audit. John MacInnes has always made supporting our clients well a high priority.
If, as a leader, you place high value on exceptional customer service, the next step is to communicate that to your team. The McDonald’s manager had clearly done a great job of communicating the importance of customer service to her team. At Print Audit, we have several ways to ensure that our team understands that good customer service is important. Years ago we created a mission statement that read, “Have Fun, Build Great Products and Wow the Customer.” We worked hard to make sure that this mission statement was communicated to our team. It is introduced during our employee onboarding process, it’s on the front page of our employee handbook and that mission statement was part of our Corporate Culture Map for many years. That Corporate Culture map hangs proudly in our main boardroom for all to see.
Another important element to being able to provide exceptional customer support is building trust within your team. Leaders need to build teams with common values and beliefs who get the vision. To do this you have to hire right, train your team and then trust them do what they do best. Simon Sinek points out that trust is a reciprocal behavior, once the leader has built trust with the people that work within the organization, individuals will work to the benefit and long term interests of the organization. I saw many examples of the trust within the McDonald’s team. Every member of the team was dedicated to ensuring that the customer’s experience was a good one and carrying out the manager’s vision. And, there couldn’t be any better evidence of the trust between the manager and her team than when one of the team told a customer what a great boss she was. At Print Audit, there is an immense sense of trust within our team. This trust is not only between the managers and their teams but also across all of the functional teams. Everyone at Print Audit is dedicated to ensuring the vision is met.
I witness everyday the great service and support our team provides to our clients. And, it’s not unusual for our clients to write emails to the management and executive about the great support our team members have provided. I’m guessing that the manager at McDonald’s gets lots of positive feedback as well. If customer service is important to you as a leader, make sure you have a clear vision, communicate that to your team and build trust within your team.