Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Unique Methods Prove More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

In “The Amazement Revolution,” I write about how to create serious F.U.N., where the letter F stands for “Fulfillment,” the letter U stand for “Uniqueness,” and the letter N stands for getting employees excited about what is “Next.” This tip ties to the F.U.N. concept as we focus on giving our employees the autonomy to do their jobs and solve customer issues using their own methods.

Using the word “method” is an interesting choice of words. Over ten years ago, my coach, Dan Sullivan taught me something he calls the “Unique Method.” Most simply stated, it is a form that helps people create directions on how to do anything and everything in our business, from specific tasks to solving customer problems.

Each week my staff would create a set of directions to describe a particular task or customer issue. Over time, virtually everything we did had a method, or set of directions, associated with it. The goal was that if the person who usually did the task or took care of the customer issue was out, someone else could pick up their “Unique Method” and follow the directions to complete the task or solve the problem. There were written procedures for virtually everything. And, most important, people are allowed to create new methods. They didn’t even have to be improvements – just different. It is not uncommon for us to have two or three Unique Methods to accomplish the same task or deal with the same issue.

I bring all of this up for one simple reason. If you tell people they have to do things a certain way, and they know there is a different or even better way, and you don’t give them flexibility, you will stymie their creativity and growth in their job. This could impact their morale and ultimately their performance.
Give people the autonomy to do their job the way they think is best. Some simple guidelines are:

The person must be successful in completing their task or project.
The person must finish on time, if not early. (It shouldn’t take longer than it has in the past.)
It is repeatable, not just a onetime occurrence; therefore, worth documenting.
The method is cost effective. (It shouldn’t cost more)
It is legal (really), and shortcuts don’t go against the moral feelings of the company.

Final comments: This concept gives direction to those who need it, or permission to find new methods whenever possible. It is a great strategy that fosters empowerment. Create a learning environment by sharing new “Unique Methods.” Others may be able to take advantage of them and improve upon their own performance.

Recognize, as the saying goes, that there is more than one way to skin a cat!

Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling business author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For information on Shep’s speaking programs, books, and learning programs please contact (314) 692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com – Web: www.hyken.com – For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs (www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

 

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