This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Courtney Buchanan writes about how crucial the first impression is in the service business. I agree 100% that not only is the first impression important, I would say that equally important is the last impression. – Shep Hyken When managers look for ways to improve their service operations, […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Courtney Buchanan writes about how crucial the first impression is in the service business. I agree 100% that not only is the first impression important, I would say that equally important is the last impression. – Shep Hyken
When managers look for ways to improve their service operations, appearance and presentation may not be top of mind even though they have a significant impact on customer service. The truck and tech in his uniform are the first in-person interaction that a customer has with a company before the service is even delivered, so it’s time for techs to have a little fashion sense. Besides affecting the reputation of a company, a field tech’s appearance can create trust and reassurance among customers that the person at their door is the tech they’re expecting.
“In business, it’s important to look good. It’s not just vanity, it’s how your customers – or potential customers – see you,” writes Susan Scher on Examiner.com. “This doesn’t mean you have to be beautiful. In fact, that is not always an advantage. But if you don’t look as though you care about your appearance, it can undermine people’s trust in you. This is true of your car, too, or van or company truck.”
Customers often interact with one field tech, and they form an opinion of the company based on that tech’s service, appearance and friendliness. That’s why it’s important to get every field tech on board with looking neat and clean.
Brian Carr, strategic creative manager at Safelite AutoGlass, says, “Many times, the technician is the only person at our company the customer meets in-person, so the impression he or she leaves will be what they use to judge the company as a whole.
Here are four tips for managers when talking to field techs about appearance:
1. Educate about the importance of appearance. When techs realize that their appearance affects whether a customer has a good or bad service experience, they will make more of an effort to consider how they present themselves since techs focus on creating a memorable customer experience, Carr says.
2. Provide multiple uniforms. To curb techs from being uncomfortable (either too hot or too cold) in their uniforms, give them several options. Carr says, “We provide a variety of uniform options to choose from for our technicians to meet their specific needs, particularly as they often are working outdoors facing weather changes.”
3. Be clear about expectations. While wearing a uniform and driving a marked truck may be fairly standard, companies have differing opinions about tattoos being acceptable. Be loud and clear about the company’s stance.
Carr adds, “Currently, some of our market leaders are piloting new ‘professional image guidelines’ that require visible tattoos to be covered with black compression arm sleeves. Our Net Promoter Scores should help us identify if there is a change in customer sentiment.”
4. Listen to tech feedback. Techs may not be wearing a uniform because it’s itchy or doesn’t breathe, so it’s important to take their preferences into account when the company requires techs to wear the uniforms around the clock, Carr notes.
Often ignored, appearance is a simple, straightforward way to improve customer service. Uniforms and marked trucks create trust and peace of mind among customers when they open the door for an at-home service, and they market the company by turning people and vehicles into moving billboards.
Courtney Buchanan is a writer for The SmartVan blog, where she covers technology and management tips in the field service industry.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com
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