Excel Store Formula Derived Value For Use In Another Formula The A.C.E.S. Model Of Exceptional Customer Service

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The A.C.E.S. Model Of Exceptional Customer Service

The ACES Model of Exceptional Customer Service is a simple mnemonic and diagnostic tool to help you assess your company’s ability to deliver customer service. Once you make your diagnosis, you know where to apply corrective measures if necessary.

ACES helps employees focus on the three components of customer service. This model meets my 4 (and 7) rules of exceptional customer service.

The ACES model is a simple formula

Attitude + Competence + Empowerment = (Extraordinary) Service

The first component includes attitudes, behaviors and beliefs that are essential to providing excellent customer service. These include the basic needs of serving others (as opposed to oneself), improving the client’s situation, problems are opportunities to excel, positive energy and good humor are essential, etc. Attitudinal factors can be assessed at the macro and micro levels: corporate culture, the overall workforce, general tendencies of a given individual, or specific communication during an interaction.

The second component is capacity. A positive attitude is only a consolation prize when ability is low. Several decades ago I was a new waiter at an upscale restaurant. A patron asked me if there was mayonnaise in the Caesar salad dressing. I checked with the chef and was told there was no mayonnaise in the dressing. He ordered it and proceeded to have a massive allergic reaction. I had a good attitude, but I was less than fully competent. The dressing was made from scratch. No mayonnaise was added, but it was made with the same ingredients, eggs and oil! A competent food server would know better. For that, even the chef should know better.

Employee competence is largely derived from intimate knowledge of all aspects of the product and/or services offered. I live in Pennsylvania where you can only buy wine at state owned liquor stores. Although it has gotten somewhat better in recent years, most of the sales people in these stores can’t tell the difference between a Chardonnay and a Ripple! So I do most of my wine shopping in another state.

In some jobs, job qualifications also require the ability to handle people. I was on a USAirways flight that was fully booked. A few rows back a man was frantically trying to jam his suitcase into the overhead bin. He was so aggressive that it looked like he was about to break down the door. The other passengers watching him looked a little nervous. The flight attendant came over and, in the most perfect tone of voice (a combination of humor and boundary setting), said, “Are you trying to break my airplane?” The man immediately stopped and allowed her to take care of her suitcase. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to have a friendly joke with such an obvious genius, I said, “Excuse me, but are your planes easy to break?” She replied with a smile, “Don’t worry honey. They give us a lot of duct tape. You can use duct tape for everything.” (short pause) They even use it in the Miss America Pageant.” Now that’s the ability to handle people.

At a more macro level, it is important that the company’s systems and processes are designed to be able to deliver exceptional service. Netflix is ​​an example of an incredibly capable system for renting DVDs. No need to leave your home. They come in the mail they go back in the mail. If there is a problem, you simply contact Netflix online and it will be taken care of (at their expense). The system is designed so that the incentive to get the most for your money actually supports the efficient return of DVDs.

The final component of ACES is empowerment. Usually this is a structural issue within the company. Employees should be empowered with proper training as a real force to solve problems. The key question to answer here is, in what ways are employees able to solve problems on the spot so that the customer feels like their needs come first (Dr. Bob’s Second Law of Exceptional Customer Service). Any employee at the Ritz Carlton is authorized to spend up to $2500 to resolve a guest’s problem. The result is that the guest feels like he or she is a queen.

As shown in the diagram to the right, there are three possible situations where a person or company has only one property. There are three possible intersections of two properties, and one point where all three properties meet. Single quality points are self-explanatory. Therefore, I will not describe them here. At Intersection 1 we have good attitude and ability, but not empowerment. Here an employee knows how to do something and has a great attitude, but is somehow not empowered to do it. This situation can exist when a weak manager is in charge of competent, motivated people. What the hero wants to do, can do, but is prevented from doing by the system, is often portrayed in movies. In real life, it’s a situation we’ve all faced when a service person says, “You’re absolutely right, it’s not fair, but the computer system won’t let me solve your problem.” If it’s a chronic problem, people in position 1 are usually depressed. Another scenario is more personal. An employee may not be assertive enough (self-empowered) or willing to take appropriate risks, even though he has the ability and authority to do so.

Situation 2 is a situation where the employee has a good attitude and the system actually empowers him, but the employee is not competent enough. My recent tech support call at Dell is a good example. Tech had an incredibly fun attitude and was empowered with a wealth of technical resources nearby. But he could not solve my problem in time. In the end, it took 2 hours to solve a problem that a more competent person could solve in 20 minutes. I have been a loyal customer of Dell because of their technical support, but their capabilities are deteriorating, and I am beginning to reevaluate this position.

If the employee is new, it may just be a matter of training. If training is provided and the employee is not becoming more competent, it may be a poor fit with the job.

Status 3 is common with people who are often labeled as having low emotional intelligence. In fiction, it’s often a crotchety engineer who can fix anything, just keep him away from other people. A person who is often in this position may not be the best suited person for customer service. This type of person can benefit from personal coaching to help them change their attitude about the importance of attitude. When someone is stressed and having a “bad day,” they are often in position 3 for a short period of time.

At the macro level, position 3 describes a company that values ​​competence and empowers its people to succeed, but does not place enough value on customer service for people to experience exceptional customer service. Now many companies talk about the importance of customer service, but go beyond the platitudes. A colleague of mine used to work in a major metropolitan hospital. Around the building there were many signs explaining the importance of patients and how the hospital is committed to providing high quality care. Unfortunately this was often an empty promise. For example, doctors in the oncology unit were rarely frank with patients. Nurses had to go behind doctors to communicate more openly with patients and families. There was little teamwork etc. State-of-the-art care is difficult.

Finally only in position 4 do we get really high quality customer service. On a personal level, each individual should empower himself to cultivate a positive attitude of service and merit. Empowerment also means being willing to take some judicious risk. The flight attendant I mentioned earlier demonstrated personal use of all three dimensions.

At the macro level, position 4 describes an organization with a true cultural attitude of service to others. It often requires significant corporate courage to move to this level. The organization needs to face the truth about how it is not implementing important values. IT needs to spend near-term money for long-term goals. The organization ensures that its employees and systems have the ability to act on attitudes, and that people are empowered to actually use their potential. Furthermore, the interaction effect of the convergence of these factors is highly self-reinforcing. Working in such an environment develops a more positive attitude. Employees are intrinsically motivated. Company morale is high. Companies that motivate and empower their employees generally raise the bar of competence to higher and higher levels. Examples of companies are Disney World theme parks, Costco, and Enterprise rental cars (see my article comparing and contrasting recent experiences with Enterprise and Sears).

If customer service levels are not at desired goals, ACES analysis provides a quick route to zero in on the problem. You might ask yourself, “Where am I on this chart most of the time?” Do I need to update my skills on anything? Am I so focused on making sales to make money that I’m no longer focusing on customer relationships? Do I feel unable to provide great service? A manager or leader might ask, “Where is my sales force most likely?” What has changed in the ACES model that is responsible for the decline in customer service at XYZ department? Has there been a change in the market that people are no longer able to? Is there a new manager who is empowering people? Do we have so many people turnover that now 34% of the department has not received company training? Do we talk about an attitude of taking excellent care of our customers, but fail to take excellent care of our employees so that the corporate attitude of customer service excellence is not reflected in its employment practices? Customer service is not rocket science. However, it is not easy to implement at a high level. It takes courage and honesty to see where you are. And, once you know where the problem is you are halfway to the solution.

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