Vol III: Clarifying Expectations


If you are following this blog then you know that so far we have discussed the importance of defining and communicating our “True North”, and we have examined the employee experience by asking 6 important questions. Let’s look at the first of those questions:

Do employees have clear expectations of what you want from them?

Do your employees know:

  • how to deliver the customer experience you envision?
  • what you want them to say?
  • how you want them to act?

Here’s an example:

There is a clothing store I frequent and when I enter the store a sales associate welcomes me. Sounds great, right? However, during most of my experiences there, the sales associate is somewhere stocking or folding and maybe even behind a display. So, when I walk in and hear someone welcome me and I can’t see that person, I feel confused instead of warmly greeted.

It may sound insignificant to include a training detail like: “when greeting, be someplace where the customer can see you”, but the sales associate is probably being told that their priority is to keep the displays neat and folded. Ultimately the sales associate is attempting to greet every customer, but are they doing it so that your business is getting the impact, or experience you were hoping for?

We often expect everyone on the team to “get it” but the truth is only some people have the natural ability to make others feel valued and important. For the rest, we have to be very clear on what that looks, sounds, and feels like.

Take a moment to review this list of face-to-face behaviors and take the time to determine if you have clearly defined these for your team:

  • Initial greeting –
    • What does “welcome” sound like? Formal or casual? Is it scripted or can the employee ad-lib?
    • How close should they be when they make eye contact? 10 feet away, 5 feet away, as soon as the customer enters the establishment, etc.
    • Is there anything else necessary to convey the experience you want your customers to have? Body language, facial expression, tone of voice?
  • Initial Interactions
    • What do you want to communicate in the first contact? Specific information or just the general culture?
    • Should the employee initiate the communication, or start by listening and responding appropriately
  • Customer Satisfaction
    • Do your employees know what they are empowered to do for a customer?
    • If a customer has a specific request beyond what the employee is empowered to do, how should they handle it?

Take the time to define these behaviors for your employees and you can save yourself the coaching and correcting and the business will benefit from the clarification.

What are your thoughts… please join the conversation.