The management of the companies carefully develop service quality standards, but not always their efforts and investments have a response from the ordinary employees. Standard staff training and the carrot-stick method are not for A-100 company. The team of the largest petrol station chain in Belarus, headed by Company Group Director Anna Krasovskaya, came up with a unique creative approach to training and staff motivation.
A-100 was faced with the task to optimize and standardize the work of line staff at the gas stations to improve the service quality. The main problem was to find an approach that is understandable and convenient for the staff of different regions of Minsk and Brest.
“Emotional” approach in service
The “Mystery Shopping” program, which is held together with 4Service company, has shown that the rigid framework of scripts does not work. Under the conditions of clear laws and rules, it is difficult for people to understand the importance of service and how the implementation of standards affects the service quality. Orders and enforcing rules demotivate employees.
The mystery shopper helped to reveal that the client was guided by a subjective assessment when choosing a petrol station. Thus, the questionnaire of the mystery shopper now contains a large subjective unit.
This was the beginning of cardinal changes in the internal life of the company and the service system.
It was decided to switch to the “emotional” service, the development of empathy among employees and a non-standard approach to staff training. It was necessary to convey to the employees of the main office and line staff that the training and service system is interesting and entertaining.
Service triathlon: what is the secret of the victory
Inspired by the idea of “Ironman”, the A-100 team created a project with a unique branding that was not related to the petrol station. There was no link to a specific area of business in order to involve the maximum number of people. A stylish, attractive design of souvenirs was designed, which the participants gladly took advantage of and proudly put on.
“In fact, it should be a product whose target audience will be very different, which should have two perspectives of impact: here and now – engaging in the topic, the future is a gradual change in the approach throughout the company”
Participation in the project was voluntary and, moreover, it was paid. This added value to the project. Inexpensive participation allowed a person to enter a kind of service club. No one knew anything about the project, except for its title: “service triathlon”. The idea was fanned by intrigue and legends. It fuelled interest and inspired to participate.
Before implementing the project, the A-100 team interviewed the leaders of the company’s opinions. Among them were both top managers and representatives of the line staff.
Triggers were launched: people were walking in petrol stations in branded things, drawing attention to the project.
The project was implemented in the form of gamification and consisted of three stages.
The stage was held in a trendy hookah bar for 120 people. We started with a theoretical unit with the questions about the service. All participants were divided into groups and the finalists of the “brain-fight” competitions received gifts. Also during the project period, the participants earned their currency for being active – the biscoins. At the end of the project it could be exchanged for souvenirs.
At the end of the stage, everyone left with useful knowledge about the service: what is it, how is it, what is its story.
“The team spirit, drive, mood, and for 98% of people the new knowledge and information on the subject of the service. This way we achieved that unnoticed and easy we levelled some grey areas into the knowledge,” says Anna.
The second stage was a month later. 98 people participated there. Groups of 4 participants were formed with one leader navigator. Each team was given a mission case that needed to be solved in a limited time. It was a research stage, which took place in the dynamics. The participants visited and investigated a number of establishments, evaluating certain standards. It was necessary to “be in the shoes” of mystery shopper. Next, it was necessary to conduct a competitive analysis of A-100 in real time. The participants visited petrol stations and conducted their own subjective assessment.
“With the crew, you had to go through 5 points and test the service on yourself, to understand what it was like to get bad service. As points we selected: chain catering establishments, petrol stations, clinics, hypermarket. The final point is a detailed review for each location and selection of 5 words from the presented list of 20 words that characterize good service.
At the end of the stage, we collected 5 words that scored the maximum number of points that were most important for our employees in defining the concept of “good service”. So we peacefully agreed on what we all mean by the word “good.” At the same time, the words turned out organic, not imposed, but coming from the employees themselves. Why 5 words? The approach was borrowed from Vadim Prokopyev. He recommended to start rituals in the company on the basis of the fingers of one hand. Each word is one principle. Very simple and convenient.”
At the final stage, people shared their stories and experiences. It was attended by the representatives of different companies that are associated with the service. For example, these were employees of the ambulance, the search squad “Angel”, employees of the A-100 and others. Live stories were collected. People got the opportunity to speak out and share their experience, sometimes even critical situations and ways to solve them.
Statistics were collected during the whole triathlon. Those who passed all the stages received a certain distinction – the Iron’S’man token. All signs of the servicoligist, as the project organizers called them, were solemnly presented at the end of the triathlon along with diplomas.
A-100 team is measuring the results. The first wave of research results showed the positive changes in both service quality and staff involvement.
“We are creating a S’Men committee, where everyone will take into his own project dedicated to the service, which is part of the large S-A100 project.
It became clear to us that Iron’S’man is a marketable and demanded product that is useful not only for the A100, but as a whole to our market. Everyone speaks about the service, writes, reads, but no one can say how, when and what to do to make the fairy tale come true and start bringing ROI. Service is not a snowman that no one has seen or knows. This is an understandable and clear technology to implement the company’s strategy. And starting to build it today, correctly setting the goals for the service, “exposing” the myths and legends on it, involving your people, telling them and explaining what kind of animal this service is, you are doomed to success.
As my practice has shown, there are still few people on the market who will help in this difficult task, give recipes and life hacks. However, the first who made the service not as a part of the front-chips or the aspect of “serving the population”, but a component of the strategic advantage will tear competitors and change the market.”
The creators of the triathlon will continue the project, but in a different format.
Now the company’s main goal of service is the customer satisfaction and the fulfilment of their desires. For A-100 employees, the service is humanity, understanding and responsiveness. A-100 employees are happy to accept and engage in the development of an emotional approach. After the triathlon, they had an understanding of what kind of service their customers want and how standards can be followed with pleasure. After all, every A-100 employee received the knowledge about the service and was deeply inspired with the idea of high-quality work, which is rewarded by the customer loyalty and additional motivation.