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Making customers happy? Selection is the key
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Making customers happy? Selection is the key

Stories about customer satisfaction have one thing in common: an employee who truly listens and goes above and beyond plays the lead role. This is evident, for example, in the anecdotes that are consciously shared within the supermarket chain Jumbo. When a can of tomato puree exploded for an elderly customer, supermarket employees whitened the wall. And when a 96-year-old lady had visible difficulty with grocery shopping, she was offered weekly assistance with her shopping.

A hot shower

In the Hot Shower-stories of the consumer program Radar as well, employees who go the extra mile take the lead role. For instance, there was a cinema owner who opened a theater specifically for a grandfather and grandchild to watch a screening of Woezel and Pip. Even though it was the grandfather’s mistake to visit on a day when there was no children’s movie playing…

TNO has conducted research showing that the majority of these ‘Hot showers’ are related to ‘after-sales situations’. Furthermore, they involve resolving issues caused by customers themselves or a third party, or problems where the customer is not entitled to a solution. Therefore, the TNO researchers rightly conclude that recruitment and selection are key to success with customers. The advice is to invest in individuals who are willing to go the extra mile, as they are the vanguard of your organization.

Club spirit

Recruiting and selecting those vanguard players is easier said than done. Every applicant you ask will claim to be customer-friendly. However, just like in top football, vanguard players who make a difference are rare.

On top of that, they must also have a sense of belonging to the team. The vanguard players should resonate with your company values and be willing to live by them. Additionally, they should also fit in with the type of customers you have and the products or services you offer. If you sell a technically complex product, your employees need to understand what it is all about. If you have a restaurant, they need to be able to create a welcoming atmosphere.

Creating the environment

Having the right people is not enough. If you want them to go the extra mile for customers, you need to create an environment where these vanguard players can succeed. By environment, I don’t just mean a pleasant work environment but also a solid support system where everything aligns. Ideally, it should be one where the customer’s needs are paramount, as we do with customer chains following the iPM method. This way, you connect your vanguard players with the rest of the organization.

The third environmental factor is you! You serve as the example for your vanguard players. If you want your employees to act like the supermarket employees in the Jumbo examples, it’s important that your employees see your customers as individuals who occasionally deserve extra attention. They will only do so if you also see them that way and act accordingly.

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