Back in my Enterprise Rent-a-Car days, our biggest focus was customer service. Each month, individuals were contacted at random after they returned their rental and asked about their overall experience. Cleanliness of the vehicle, friendliness of the staff, etc.
It was known as Enterprise Service Quality Index, or ESQi. And to all of us in the trenches, the branch’s overall monthly score dictated whether we could apply for promotions. If you were seeking a trip up the ladder, you took ESQi pretty seriously. And if you wanted to keep your job, you took ESQi pretty seriously, too.
I rose up the ranks pretty quickly. Obtained my first Assistant Branch Manager position within a year, transferred to one of the busiest offices in Pittsburgh shortly thereafter and was tasked with helping improve that branch’s consistently low ESQi score. It took a lot of work and a solid team effort, but we made it happen. This led to my first Branch Manager promotion in just two years with the company.
To me, the rental game was not difficult. Hard work? Yes. Long hours? Absolutely. But difficult? No. Not if you knew how to plan, deliver the best possible experience to customers at every juncture, and manage complaints and crises efficiently and effectively. It took strong attention to detail to do it right every day, and in no better way was attention to detail exemplified at Enterprise Rent-a-Car than with dust-free picture frames in every office.
…let me explain.
Look around you right now. Do you see any picture frames? If so, ask yourself: When is the last time I dusted the top edges of those frames?
The Pittsburgh Group of Enterprise was ran by a man named Tim. Every now and then, he would randomly show up at your branch to check on operations. He was a great guy and never acted as if he was at a higher position than you. If he arrived at a point in the day that you were slammed, he’d offer help – giving rides to customers or even washing a car.
When he showed up at your branch, it was your responsibility to alert all the neighboring branches that he may be on his way. Typically, this would lead to a scurry of cleaning, organizing, and staging the office to fit his liking. In my case, I learned through many years of retail work that the appearance of your operation is your first impression. You can learn a lot about how someone manages their business, and their life, by the cleanliness of their office or car.
When I would receive the “warning” call, it was business as usual. In fact, my advice to my staff was to treat every day as if he was coming. That way, when he did, we were ready AND our office always looked presentable to customers.
Right down to the dust-free picture frame tops. And here’s why…
Early in my stretch with the company, Tim walked into my branch and, without saying a word, ran his fingers across the top of the picture frames. Those of us new to the game had no idea why. Later, the answer was revealed: If you applied enough attention to detail to your day-to-day practices to clean the areas of your office that no one will ever see, then Tim had confidence you were applying the same attention to aspects of your business that mattered most.
That mindset has never left me. Delivering a thorough, quality customer experience requires a ton of attention to detail on the surface – creating a clean, welcoming environment, meaningful customer interactions, ease of service, healthy digital communications, proofreading content before publication, just to name a few. But what about the items customers don’t see? Your ability to create a process, your ability to train your crew to execute your mission, how you communicate internally with everyone who makes your business function, the fact that you show up every day and get your hands dirty. Attention to detail is needed across the board in order to make your operation continue to grow and succeed.
ASK YOURSELF: Are the tops of your picture frames clean? Is your attention to detail unflappable from top to bottom, front to back, and everywhere in between? Turning this simple mindset into a habit will lead to improved results exponentially in all aspects of your practices.
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