Tips for Standard Operating Procedures (SOP):

  • Begin by identifying the ideal customer target for the company, and then deploy the “right employees” to cater to the needs of the “right customers”.
  • Clearly outline responsibilities and obligations to ensure that employees understand their execution directives, and customers are well-informed about their own responsibilities.
  • Avoid relying on assumptions such as “I thought.” Rather than letting employees and customers independently define the service quality through imagination, specify the direction and expected outcomes. This ensures that both parties reach a consensus on the expected standard of service.

In recent years, a Chinese variety show spawned a widely imitated quote among netizens: “I’m not interested in what you think; I care about what I think!”

We often observe individuals falling into the trap of expressions like “I assumed”, “I thought”, “I believe you should” or “I think it’s this way.”

These subjective “feelings” often lead to scenarios where employees fail to meet service expectations, resulting in customers perceiving a disparity in service quality.

Referring to our previous article titledDealing with Millennials & Gen Z: One Simple Trick to Identify ‘Problem Employees’’, we discussed how a company primarily focused on professional services emphasizes the key aspect of managing expectations between service personnel and customers, starting with the careful selection of the “right” individuals.

What defines the “right” person? And how can one effectively identify and attract such individuals?

Step One: Understand the “Right” People You Seek

The concept of the “right” people goes beyond just employees; it also includes understanding the ideal customers envisioned by the business, their characteristics, lifestyle preferences, and more.

By aligning with this target customer profile and integrating the right individuals into your designed service system, customers are more likely to experience satisfaction and thus develop a sense of contentment throughout their service journey.

Step Two: Define Responsibilities and Obligations Clearly

During interactions between employees and customers, it’s essential to establish clear guidelines for the tasks at hand. This ensures that customers understand what outcomes or results they can expect from the service system and the necessary actions they must take to achieve them.

For instance, in a fitness center, customers are assured they can achieve certain body standards, provided they adhere to the guidance of fitness coaches.

Similarly, based on our past consultancy experiences, we often encounter stubborn bosses who expect desired outcomes or performance after consulting with us, but they will change their approach without discussion even after our advice, leading to discrepancies in results.

When the desired outcome is not achieved, these bosses seek advice on how to achieve their goals, yet this cycle repeats endlessly, hindering their progress. Therefore, when signing contracts with businesses, we clearly outline the responsibilities and obligations of the business owner. If they fail to adhere to these instructions, they cannot blame the provided information for any lack of desired results.

Step Three: Clearly Define Goal Direction and Desired Outcomes

Reflecting on our earlier discussion regarding “assumptions”, “beliefs” and “feelings” are essentially mental constructs.
If customers are unaware of what they can truly expect from the business or if the purpose and outcomes are not clearly described, they are essentially in the “assuming” stage.

Likewise, if employees lack clarity on the direction they should follow or the specific outcomes they should aim for, they too may fall into the trap of making assumptions.

Important! Continuous Training for Employees & Customers:

For example, consider engaging/purchasing design services from a design company. Many customers end up disappointed because there are two types of design services provided: one follows the client’s instructions and preferences, while the other is based on the designer’s creative interpretation. Typically, the former is cheaper, and the latter is more expensive.

The critical factor lies in customers’ expectations. Everyone wants the best quality at the lowest price, but in reality, such a combination does not exist.

Unfortunately, designers often fail to clearly communicate to customers, failing to say, “We can only provide this level of design for such an offered price.” Consequently, customers believe they have found a bargain. Later, due to continuous changes or switching designers, they end up paying a higher price.

From the customers’ perspective, they are understandably dissatisfied and unhappy, resulting in a diminished perception of the company’s service standards.

To avoid such situations, the company must document standards and continuously educate employees and customers about their responsibilities, duties, objectives, and outcomes, thereby preventing ongoing occurrences of misunderstandings.

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