Is Your Service Department Ready For The Super Bowl?


Mark Poffenberger NewsletterI know it’s only July and training camps have barely started.

I’m talking about YOUR service team, are they ready for the Super Bowl of customer service?

Have you ever noticed the similarities between a great NFL team and a great Service Department team?

Both start with a common mission or goal, followed by precise written communication of how that goal will be achieved.

In the NFL, the written communication is a “playbook” that instructs every player what to do and where to be on every play, in other words a Process Manual. The playbook instructions are written to the minute in detail and instruct every player involved EXACTLY what their role and task is within any given play as well as what every other player’s role is. This is very important because knowing the role of your teammate and where they will be and what they are doing breeds confidence that you will be able to perform your role and given task. When everyone performs their given role and task flawlessly, the outcome is most often success!

Sound familiar?

In the NFL, they have plays that can be run for nearly every situation a team could encounter, each with precise, detailed written instructions.  Our Service Department needs that same structure and should have a process for every situation we could encounter; from the supremely important Customer Interactive Experience to the simple and sometimes overlooked mundane tasks such as how to make an appointment, where to put keys and park waiting vehicles. Leave nothing to chance!

In the NFL, they run these plays over and over again until everyone gets them right, in other words they practice. How often do you practice with your team? Does a coach ever design a play, draw it up on the blackboard and never practice it and then “hope” everyone gets it right come game time? Of course not, and you shouldn’t either! Designing a Process Manual is just the first step to a successful Service Department team! Once everyone has the playbook, you have to get out there on the field with them and role play the new process until every member demonstrates the ability to perform the process to your satisfaction. When a member of your team demonstrates the ability during practice to consistently carry out your plan, you know that come “game time” the chances of them succeeding are greatly enhanced!

NFL teams look at game films to help determine opportunities for improvement. In a Service Department, our “game film” is regular written assessments we conduct on our “players” as they perform our processes. It’s our chance to point out not only areas of opportunity to improve their performance and enhance their chances for success, but also to share their strengths with them and reinforce positive behavior. Without regular feedback and performance monitoring, processes break down and we become a group of individuals instead of a team.

Finally, a good Service Manager is at times like a quarterback. They call plays and then direct their team right there on the field, or in our case on the Drive. They notice when a predetermined play will not work in a given situation and call an audible, quickly redirecting all team members to help ensure success. A quarterback cannot do this from the locker room, and neither can a good Manager from an office. Both have to be with their team on the field of play.

Every interaction we have with our customer earns us future consideration for their business. If we fumble just once too often, our customer can inform you of their own definition of NFL.

It stands for…Not For Long!

Does your playbook need updating?

Could you use help in coaching your people to perform at a more consistent level?

Is your team ready for the Super Bowl of customer service?

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