In December, we talked about how to set SMART goals and I promised to give you some considerations on what to stop doing and start doing to reach your goals. This article is about a few STOPS and STARTS to begin the year with a customer service focus.

STOP accepting mediocrity. Half of your staff are great with customers and the others are not. Edyta in billing just ticked a customer off because he was late with a payment. Instead of handling it in a respectful way, she chose to be condescending and somewhat rude. Producers will typically respond to this scenario, with “that’s just Edyta.” Producers who are committed to improving the customer experience will hold Edyta accountable for her customer interactions and if they don’t improve, Edyta will be working somewhere else. START holding Edyta accountable.

STOP making excuses for poor performers. Wendell often washes out in the wrong spot. He’s rather non-verbal and chooses not to ask where to wash his truck. Customers have complained and you’ve addressed the issue with him, but he still does it. Everyone loves Wendell, including you. He’s been a driver for 25 years and a really nice guy. STOP giving Wendell a pass. START holding Wendell accountable for his performance.

STOP tolerating interdepartmental conflict. Russell in sales is always blaming dispatch for not getting the pours right. He says dispatch is inflexible and his customers find them difficult to deal with. He openly slams the dispatch team when speaking with customers. Dispatch on the other hand constantly complains about Russell — he creates an atmosphere of animosity when he comes to dispatch. STOP letting this go on. START a process to get to the core of the issue and hold people accountable for their behaviors.

By now you’ve noticed a pattern. START holding employees accountable for their customer interaction behaviors (both internal and external) and magically mediocrity, poor performance, and inter-departmental conflict will STOP.

Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the ready-mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Click here to read her other Service Matters articles. Telephone 513-793-9582 or email