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Why do firms fail at delivering great service?

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Is your staff required to give great service? Have you fully trained them on how to act, what to say and how to handle service issues? If you have, that’s wonderful, of course, but it will not guarantee great service. Unfortunately, the delivery of above-and-beyond service at firms both large and small is required. Required activities are often performed because a person has to, not because they want to…and people can tell the difference.

Recently I was at a very nice hotel in New York. The staff there had most certainly been trained well on how to deliver service. They were committed to service but did it without the proverbial smile. Personally, I don’t want other people going out of their way to open doors, carry my bags around and greet me by name if they seem to be doing so begrudgingly. I’d rather lug my own bags around than inconvenience someone else.

Pay attention to the way your staff delivers service. Does your staff want to deliver great service? If they don’t, even if they deliver the service exactly as trained, they may be turning people off. Service only really works if the person means it. If your staff doesn’t mean it, then find those who will. It’ll not only make your clients feel the way you want them to feel, it may just be the missing link in getting the referrals you feel you deserve.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to