Have you ever felt like you were an imposition on the staff of a retail chain? That somehow you were getting in the way of what they were meant to doânamely talk on the phone to their friends or discuss the social goings on of their fellow employees? Youâre not alone (and yes, Iâm a bit jaded on the current state of customer service).
Customer service seems on track to becoming the biggest oxymoronic statement this side of jumbo shrimp and military intelligence. But there is suddenly hope on the horizon and the lessons come from âSafecatch,â a Washington State program to thwart bank robberies.
No that was not a typo, bear with me and youâll see what McGruff the crime dog can do to improve your business. First some background. Washington was at the top of the bank robbery charts in the United States. Who knew that the rain drove a percentage of the population indoors for this kind of activity?
Note the use of the past tense in describing the bank robbery status. Because suddenly robberies are down by almost half in Seattle, thanks to the Safecatch program. And itâs now being rolled out in cities across the state and country.
So what is the Safecatch secret? Armed security guards in every branch? Better alarms to signal the local police? Better exploding dye packs? Better profiling to spot potential bank robbers as soon as they enter the bank?
No. Safecatch has been called âcustomer service on steroids.â Itâs a program where bank employees greet every person who enters the bank. Looks âem right in the eye and gives a big âHelloâ and âHow are you doing?â to every customer.
In this high tech age, it seems almost laughable that such a low-tech strategy would impact someone carrying a gun with an intent to relieve the bank of a pile of its cash. âHelloâ and âHow are you doing?â evoke quaint memories of a bygone era, not a cutting edge crime fighting strategy.
But it turns out that bank robbers often crave anonymity. They want to slink-in and slink-out all the while hardly making an impression on anyone. So many are unnerved when they are acknowledged and clearly recognized by someone.
âHelloâ and âHow are you doing?â How often do your customers get this basic acknowledgment in your business? Chances are, not as often as you think they do.
Even more important, how often are your employees acknowledged and recognized for their efforts? I know what you are thinking to yourself, acknowledge and recognizeâisnât that the purpose of a paycheck? Well yes, and no. Paychecks are great, but they quickly become wallpaper to the average employee. Something easily overlooked. Acknowledgement and recognition keep it real.
If a extreme customer services has had such a big impact on bank robberies, imagine what it will do for your employees and customers. Extreme indeed.
About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, âThe Bossâs Survival Guide.â If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.