Customer Service

LOSE CONTROL – It’s the key to increase customer satisfaction and retain staff

Is losing control the key to customer satisfaction. In our latest guest blog from our customer service expert Peter Boswell, he explains what he means.

In the service industry, all over the world, you see the same story unfold almost every time a customer complains…”I’ll just go and get the manager”.

Nobody really wants to see the manager, they just want great service and if it all goes wrong they want somebody to go above and beyond to fix it. We all do, and it’s a topic close to my heart.

I took over as General Manager of a modest sized restaurant in 2008, which had a poor reputation, and so I set out to change it. Sales were poor, customers complained a lot and the team were a law unto themselves.

My approach to fix this was simple but it all revolved around my people:

1) Have the best team

It took a few months and a lot of hard work but I ensured I curated the best team possible who had:

  • brilliant service skills
  • amazing personalities
  • the right tools
  • and the skill to succeed.

I considered them business managers and gave them relevant, bite sized business updates each day so they knew how we were performing and what we needed to achieve.

Training and motivation was critical and we spent hours doing group and individual sessions on various topics, ensuring there was a “so what” moment for them to care.

This was the first step to success and made sure my people were the best in town.

Once I was confident in my team I took a really big step

2) Lose control

to losing control can be a huge risk, I thought, but I decided that the best way for my customers to be happy was not for them to see me every time a complaint happens but to empower my team to make the right decision and fix it themselves where possible.

This took training, coaching and a lot of trust from all involved but it was the single best thing that I ever did.

My team were now empowered to fix any customer complaint themselves as long as the customer “left happy”.

The stories I saw were brilliant which included:

  • staff spending extra time with the customer
  • a birthday cake being bought for a customer
  • and flowers being hand delivered to a customer’s place of work.

As long as they could justify any spend they had then I was happy. Not once did anybody take advantage of me in this venture and every one of my team felt empowered to make a difference.

We had long discussions at the end of each day about the difference they had made and some of the inventive ideas they had come up with.

Of course they didn’t always get it right, and when it went wrong we worked together to fix it but overall the difference was huge and the team cared because they weren’t just doing what they were told, they were empowered to make a difference.

3) See business thrive

So what was the result?

  • Our profits hit double-digit growth
  • our turnover of staff reduced
  • our mystery customer scores went up and up.
  • Most importantly though, both customers and staff were happy and business was booming.

By employing the right people with the right attitude and style, not standing in their way but empowering them to make a difference, I saw magnificent things happen. When talking to new business managers I often tell this story, while not all of them take the same steps, it always evokes a reaction that helps them understand how brilliant their teams are and the amazing difference they can make if given the empowerment to.

Customer Satisfaction – When did you last Lose Control of your business? Try it!


Read Peter’s previous blog: 

For all our latest Customer Service and Catering Jobs

Blog, Hospitality recruitment