Have you visited the service ‘gemba’ of your company lately? The place where team members create services for your customers? Often, directly with the customer on the phone, or in person? If you haven’t, you should. When you’re there, as well as looking carefully – practicing ‘seeing’ – listen carefully too. Count the number of times you hear each of your team members saying “I can’t” (or a version of it such as “our system doesn’t do that”… “that’s only for customers on another platform”…). Then ask your team member how many times they told a customer “I can’t”. Surprisingly, chances are, they won’t have noticed that they’ve told a customer “I can’t” at all. Just like ‘seeing’, we get so used to saying the same things over and over again, we don’t even hear what we’re saying anymore. Big problem with that is, no customer ever wants to hear the words “I can’t”, in whatever form they come in. They hire your company because of what you CAN do. As leaders, our job is to make sure our customers are happy and satisfied, and that our team members know how to help them. So, spend some time in service gemba today, listening. Just listening. Because if you hear your team members saying, “I can’t”, you can be sure that the voice of the customer on the other end of the line won’t be a happy one.

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Karyn Ross Consulting

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