I was in the waiting area of the dealership while my car was getting an oil change. Tony, one of the service reps saw me and asked if I had been helped. As I nodded positively, he seemed to recognize me and said, “You have the grey Forester, right? What brought you in today?”. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me from my last visit three months ago. In today’s data/AI driven world, Tony’s apparent simple human conversation felt like a rare treat! I have already been a happy customer for the past several years of this local dealership. As a coach helping leaders and teams harness their fuller potential, I naturally get curious when I see a team working so well. I asked Ken Pletcher, the Service Director – “How do you do this? How do each of the employees embody the culture of quality and care so impeccably?”
Ken told me these simple rules.
- Keep a laser focus on the goal – Do quality work with the shortest time possible
Design the service process around this goal. Remove obstacles. For example, pay employees for the job done and not for the time they spend on it. Make a win-win situation both for the customers and for the employees. When the employees see that you genuinely care for their success they give it back. In my experience, a simple goal also makes it easier for people to remember and act accordingly.
- Focus on Saying “Yes”
When the customer wants something, say “yes” first and then see what you can do to make that happen. If the first option is not possible, find an alternative. When you say “yes” first, your brain gets creative and builds on top of it. This reminded me of the famous “Yes and…” rule that has been adopted widely as a tool for more effective communication and relationship building tool.
- Notice, Encourage, Coach, in real time
Notice and encourage positive behavior when you see, hear those. If there is a deviation, coach them. Don’t wait, don’t do big meetings, do it all the time – is Ken’s motto. When you actively nurture and reinforce those behavior people are more inspired. Those who don’t fit in this culture automatically leave. This principle is getting more popular these days as described in this HR Daily Advisor article.
“In my 30 years of career in this industry I have never seen a team like this”- Ken added. By that time the service rep came back saying my car was ready. As I was driving back as a satisfied customer, I appreciated one more time how the power of “Yes” fuels his high performing team.
If this resonates with you, let’s have a chat. Contact me or email sbanu <at>greenleafcoach <dot>com