The Surprising Secret to Breakthrough Customer Service

Are your employees product experts? Or do they shrug their shoulders and say, "I just work here?"

 

Imagine an organization where even the cashiers are wine experts, and employees get significant input into their schedule, to suit their respective needs (school, full time careers, family etc.)

 At Everything Wine, in Vancouver, Canada, even the cashiers are wine experts, and other parts of their lives are taken into consideration when developing their schedules. Is this any way to run a company, and be successful? It is, according to Paul Clinton, the founder and CEO of Everything Wine, in Vancouver, B.C.

Three years ago, after retiring as President of Diageo, Paul purchased two small retail wine stores, and turned them two into wine super stores. He’s now planning on opening a third store at the end of July.

Superstores are nothing new. We have Costco, Wal-Mart, and BevMo. Wine tasting is nothing new either in wineries and upscale retail wine establishments. But when have you been in a superstore where you could not only taste the wine, but also take a class on wine in the store? When have you been in a superstore where every employee not only knew the location of every product, but also was able to ask you the right questions and help you determine exactly which product was right for you?

"We are passionate about providing outstanding selection, service, and value to our customers." Paul told me. "Every employee goes through wine education. We want our employees to have a good time, and look forward to coming to work, and we want our customers to have a good time, and enjoy doing business with us."

Like other dynamic leaders Paul Clinton knows that breakthrough service is only possible by developing breakthrough relationships with employees. 

Paul said, "The more knowledgeable employees become about our wines, the more opportunities they have to grow in the organization.

I often speak and write about the fact that in today’s world economy, employees need to feel that they are part of a community for how ever many hours they are at work, and that customers like to feel a sense of community and that they are receiving differentiated service where they do business.

In order for employees to be fully engaged and successful, they need to be able to use their talents and skills at work, and customers need to know that they are appreciated and welcomed as individuals.

This is how employers retain their best employees and how customers not only stay loyal but also become evangelical about your business.

This appears to be working well at Everything Wine because business is growing. "We have husbands and wives, and sons and daughters that work here together, says Clinton and we take pride in spreading the positive vibes.

I always feel uplifted when I speak with leaders like Paul Clinton who demonstrate their appreciation for  employees, as well as customers. They develop and implement  policies, procedures and actions that include  people at all level, so employees love to be there, and customers love to come back.

Simma Lieberman 

"The Inclusionist" 

Creating workplaces where people love to do their best work and customers love to do business 
 
Simma Lieberman Associates 
510.527.0700 
Fax: 510.527/0723 
1185 Solano Ave. PMB 142 
Albany, CA 94706 
www.simmalieberman.com  

Call us about our New Remote On-Call Executive Coaching Program

Author of the book:  Putting Diversity to Work
visit my Fast Company expert blog
http://tiny.cc/balancedlife 
Subscribe to our free newsletter http://www.simmalieberman.com 
Member of the  Million Dollar Consultant® Hall of Fame
Follow me  www.twitter/theinclusionist

 

Add New Comment

3 Comments

  • Keith Chapman

    Great to see a CEO truly valuing his /her employees - as he shapes the organization it would also be interesting to understand his approach to Reward - having all employees in receipt of a proportion of the annual profits would be real breakthrough - not through stock or an annual bonus linked to KRAs - but a % of the annual profits to all employees -a real co-operative !! By Keith Chapman

  • Simma Lieberman

    I have to disagree with you. The first step is to create a corporate culture that values and includes employees. If you make your employees feel like honored guests they will pass that on to customers. If employees are not valued, they will not value customers, and they will not be willing to provide distinctive service to their customers, who in turn, won't come back. They may even post a blog that says, "your business sucks."

    --
    "The Inclusionist"
    www.simmalieberman.com
    Simma@SimmLieberman.com
    510.527.0700
    Helping individuals and organizations create inclusive environments where people can do their best work, enjoy what they do and increase profit

  • andy_mcf

    Thanks for the post.

    First step is to create a corporate culture that values customers. Without this, no amount of "valuing employees" will amount to anything. With this critical step, customer service employees are indeed essential to the firm's success. The other key point you touch on is that service employees _must_ deliver value to customers at each point in an interaction. When they fail to do so, they begin to waste a customer's time. More at: http://budurl.com/wuzd