Relationships & Revenue

Should Great Service Include Nice?

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Service often appears to be better actually isn’t.
  • Often employees are going through motions without any real feeling or care - they're simply repeating back learned lines.
  • By not empowering employees to really believe in their work and the value they bring, organizations risk employees simply going through the motions.

I’ve been noticing an interesting trend recently. Service that appears to be better actually isn’t.

Here’s how it works.

I go to a shop to have some work on my car done. The person comes to my car and I tell him what I need. He tells me “That’s great”, but that he wonders if he can go through everything he is actually supposed to say. I go along.

He then proceeds to say everything he needs to say. Not in a friendly, conversational tone, but it a hurried monotone fashion. Instead of looking at me, I spend the time looking at him while he looks everywhere else. I’m basically a prop.

Well, maybe the guy is new. Totally possible.

I then go to pay and it’s a different person, but all the same things. I get all the words you are supposed to say, but none of them are actually in a conversation with me as the person looks around me and past me. Again, I’m just kind of prop that brings up a certain cue of what needs to be said.

The last bit is when I get in my car and another person says, “Thanks for coming. Have a nice day.” On the face of it, this statement is a bit like cold pizza – it’s hard to get wrong. But somehow the phrase left me colder than I was before I visited the shop.

While it’s hard to fault that staff for the experience since they were doing their jobs, it’s also not hard to imagine that if I ever went somewhere else where the service “felt” better, it wouldn’t be a tough call, assuming that the quality of the service was the same, to make the switch.

The real danger here is that if your organization, or aspects of it are simply going through the motions, you're actually inviting the potential for someone else to come and take your business way. And they’ll have done by simply being nicer.

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