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Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Gets Measured Gets Better

Anyone in business has likely heard the old expression 'What gets measured gets done'. I'd like to suggest that when it comes to customer service, the outcome of measurement can be even more rewarding.

What follows is a case in point:

The other day, I was out shopping at MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op) for some things we needed for an upcoming Wavemaker Adventure Learning event. I was standing in front of a large display of climbing gear pondering my options when a young lady came over to offer her assistance. Once I had explained in general terms what I was looking for, she began asking questions to determine which of the many products available would best suit my needs.

As we discussed the pros and cons of each of the items that might be a fit, she asked about my company and seemed genuinely interested, even a little excited about what we do. She unpacked and encouraged me to tryout some of the gear I was considering. And while I wiggled my way into one of the harnesses, she talked a little about her own outdoor experiences. The conversation got rather animated and we shared a few laughs.

In the end, we settled on specific solution which, if not for our conversation, I wouldn't have even considered. Not only was it perfect for my purposes, but it was the least expensive of all the options.

With my immediate problem solved and a little time to kill, I wandered through the rest of the store looking for other ways to spend my money. Everywhere I went I was met by very enthusiastic and helpful employees, which to be honest, struck me as kind of odd.

You see this was not my first visit to MEC. In fact, I'm typically in one of their stores about once a month and while it has been my experience that they generally provided a reasonable level of service, on this day something was different. There were more smiles; more conversations and I suspect, more sales... all of which left me wondering what had changed?

Just as I was about to leave the store, I had my answer. For standing by the exit, was a gentleman with a clip board who polite asked if I had just a minute to complete a customer satisfaction survey... which I did.

Now the cynic might think that explains everything. They are only providing this level of service because they are being measured. My response would be "So what - I got great service." Will it continue at this level after the man at the door is gone? Perhaps not, but given how much the employees seemed to be enjoying themselves, I'm betting at least some these new behaviors will live on. And even if they don't, they can always bring him back.

Either way, the message is clear: When it comes to customer service, what gets measured gets better!

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