Maintaining Good Form: Everyday Tools, Exceptional Service
October 13, 2014
Every so often, we write about basic processes, explaining why it’s important to use them as service drivers in your business. This isn’t some idea dreamed up by our marketing department. The fact is, we’ve equipped our franchise owners with an arsenal of tools that create not only better job quality, but happier customers. It’s important to understand how and why.
Even the most routine aspects of a job can become a vehicle for showcasing your superior service – an opportunity to touch the customer in ways the competition simply can’t. In this post, we’re going to talk about some of those tools used by your crew, and how you can make sure they’re being used to create a service culture.
Uniforms. This may seem like a no-brainer. A well-dressed crew creates a sense of confidence in the customer, and the quality of work your team provides. But a uniform goes deeper than that. In fact, it may be the most important service tool you own.
Uniforms build a sense of consistency, creating the expectation that what happened on the job site last week will happen again. They also set the wearer apart from a professional in “ordinary” dress. Think about the phrase “men and women in uniform.” It refers to law enforcement or the military – people we can trust to protect us. Uniforms create trust.
In other words: while you may see your crew uniforms as a symbol of job quality, your customers have an even stronger, emotional response. Which means not only must a crew show up looking professional, they must demonstrate the behavior that their uniformed status suggests. A sloppy crew in street clothes actually has more leeway to provide mediocre service. But when a U.S. Lawns gardener puts on the gold star, he is committing not only to great landscaping, but a code of conduct: trust, consistency, commitment.
So, what does this mean for you as an owner? Be aware that your team is projecting an image, and make sure they’re well trained and capable of fulfilling it. Their understanding of exceptional service absolutely must be as rooted and authentic as yours. And it’s your job to make that happen.
Forms. Paperwork is probably not your favorite part of the job, and if you’re a larger franchise, someone else handles it for you. But all owners should understand the importance of forms going through a job site. And it’s not just for reasons of job quality, but of service.
LMR’s and QC forms are great examples. In a way, they can be seen as an extension of the uniform. Tracking what needs to be done with the client, accounting for every step completed – these checklists allow your clients to trust in your crews and your business. They create feelings like confidence and security. It’s personal for them, not a routine procedure.
Forms, documents and procedures can also help your employees provide better service, because they shift focus away from job quality, making it automatic. Instead, a crew’s energy can be directed toward the client, listening and responding, going the extra mile.
A famous ad executive once said, “nothing kills good advertising faster than a bad product.” Similarly, nothing kills great service tools faster than bad service. At U.S. Lawns, we’ve always been a service business, and the tools we provide our franchisees are all service-based. (Even if they are also operational, or financial, or HR related, or anything else.) If you’re going to use them, you have to use them with exemplary service, and train your employees to do the same.
Let’s dominate the industry, one system and process at a time.