Leading the Discussion
Post the question in full view of all the participants.
Pose one question at a time. After the conversation gets moving, try to take a back seat. Give the group control of the discussion. Avoid repeating the question unless the group gets off track-then refer back to the posted question. If people seem to be holding back, bring them into the discussion with a question: “Peg, what do you think about this?” Record all ideas suggested.
Summarize. Before you proceed to the next question, briefly summarize the main points you have discussed. Refer to the points that you captured in writing.
The competition is anyone the customer compares you with.
- Recall a situation where you were very impressed with the level of service you received. How did it raise your expectations of other companies?
- How does our company’s service compare?
- Who are our direct competitors?
- Who else might our customers compare us with?
- What does that suggest about how we might change the way we do business?
Pay fantastic attention to detail.
- What details get in the way of our being easy to do business with?
- What details could be improved to keep our customers coming back?
- What details in our workplace could become “hitching posts”?
Everyone walks the talk.
- Think about the way people do their jobs here. Could we adapt the “aggressively friendly” concept to our company’s environment?
- How might we expand customer service from a department to a tradition?
- How could we individually do an even better job of “walking the talk” than we do right now?
- What does “walking the talk” mean around here?
- How would a customer’s experience be different if everyone here “walked the talk”?
Everything walks the talk.
- Remember the gold-leaf paint on the carousel. What messages are being sent to our associates/employees about the value of customers?
- Keeping in mind the importance of things unseen, in what ways could we remind employees that customers are “pure gold”?
- Imagine that everything in our company walked the talk. What would that look like?
- What’s one thing that could be changed so that it did a better job of walking the talk?
Customers are best heard through many ears.
- How can we “put on our ears” to track customer satisfaction?
- How could the process of gathering feedback be more creative and fun?
- Remember the impact of immediate action. How could we improve our response time?
- Identify and list aspects of our job(s) that involve customer contact. (Best used for a homogeneous discussion group.)
- What formal or informal listening posts are we not using that we could be using?
- How could we become more responsive to customer needs?
Reward, recognize, and celebrate.
- How often does good performance go unrecognized?
- In general, what’s the positive-to-negative feedback ratio in our company / plant/ department/ etc.?
- How could we improve that ratio?
- What is your individual ratio of positive-to-negative feedback?
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- Thinking about the typewriter with the broken key, how could our company apply this lesson?
- In what ways have we personally experienced this lesson?
- How can we communicate this belief to others in the company?
- What is the main message of this book?
- What insights have you gained from reading this book?
- What’s the one thing you’re going to do differently, starting today?
Ending the Discussion
In one or two sentences, state what you have accomplished as it relates to the initial questions posed. If the ultimate goal of your discussion is application, create an action plan that includes who, what, and when.