Extreme Customer Service
It was never going to be an ordinary job Lucky Voice is a chain of chic Karaoke bars, Japanese style, where customers have private rooms in which they can sing with their friends.
Their company values are well defined and remarkably similar to our own - inclusion, interactivity and pride in all we do, being high on the agenda - so we felt it was a good fit straight away.
The brief was to give key frontline staff a day's training on 'Extreme Customer Service' - AKA dealing with tricky situations.
Manager David Hampshaw invited Katherine Grice and Kate Arneil to experience the customers' journey first hand as 'mystery shoppers', a move which proved to be invaluable. "I'll come but I'm DEFINITELY not singing" was the position of one member of our party. It later required two strong men to prise the microphone from his hand. Our room became our world, and the act of singing invited feelings of abandon and invincibility. After the shortest two hours ever, our time was up and we reluctantly surrendered the room, comforting each other in the bar with the promise that we'd be back.
Ah yes, it was easy to see how the staff at Lucky Voice might indeed meet some tricky situations dealing nightly with customers on such an emotional high.
On the day of the training, the Lucky Voice staff arrived bright and early despite many of them having worked the previous night until 2.00am.
From the off we could see they were a close team, committed to each other and the company.
We heard from each of them, and the issues of dealing with people who'd had a lot to drink and were in high jinx party mode came out again and again.
How do you stay friendly and professional when your own boundaries were being pushed?
The staff have very tight turnaround times between the room sessions and this can often result in direct challenges and swearing from the customers.
So we began to look at how they were currently managing situations and other things they might try.
For instance, an easy way to control the impression you make. First decide how you want to come across perhaps 'professional' or 'calm'.
Then holding that word in your head, begin your interaction.
We looked at how to close someone down by withdrawing the obvious listening signs, the power of giving eye contact or not, and also at body language - where to sit or stand in relation to someone to give a friendly, non confrontational impression.
The drawing of caricatures of the average Islington and Soho customers led us into examining the assumptions that were being made on both sides, and how that might affect behaviour.
We looked at how to deliver a difficult message - often customers contest the bill - without patronising or resorting to blame, and also at how to take the heat out of a situation by using agreement.
One of the most memorable parts of the day was the setting up and working with real situations from which emerged the power of the Pause.
Combined with a smile it was a winner for those who tried it, proving that the simple things are often the best.
It was obvious both on the day and at our 'mystery shopper' experience that the staff are already handling many situations brilliantly, and this part of the day was a great opportunity to tell them so.
It all ended on a positive high, just as it had begun, with many of them heading for work planning to try out what they'd taken from the day.
If you would like to talk to us about our
Customer Service Training
or any of the other
professional personal development work
we do, call us on
+44 (0)20 7226 1877
or e-mail us at
Extreme Customer Service Training