Earlier this April, one of today’s most popular musical artists, Beyoncé, debuted her new album, Lemonade, on Tidal. (For those of you not familiar, Tidal is a music streaming service.) Since then, fans and critics alike are weighing in on the meaning behind the lyrics and songs on the album and trying to decipher just really what Lemonade is telling us. Many feel the songs are autobiographical, highlighting the ups and downs of Beyoncé’s marriage and personal life. Regardless of your opinion about Beyoncé or her music, Lemonade proves to be a success. Which, got us thinking about a different kind of parallel and message behind this album. If speculation about her tribulations are accurate, did Lemonade just prove the old adage, you know, the one about making lemonade out of lemons?
That’s something we can get behind.
The Customer Service Paradox
During our introductory Customer Service training, one of the topics covered by the P&A Learning and Development Team is the “Customer Service Paradox,” which is when a customer feels a higher level of satisfaction when a problem has been handled well than if the problem never occurs in the first place. While we strive for 100% customer care and satisfaction we do recognize that sometimes mistakes can happen. What we’ve learned is how you identify and fix those mistakes is what defines you, both as an individual and as an organization. Because of this, it’s critical to know how to identify a problem and just as essential to have the tools to be able to rectify any issues.
The Tools: Kaizen & the Closed-Loop Feedback Process
Continuous, incremental improvement is a philosophy identified by Japanese culture as kaizen. Translated, it means “change” (kai) “for the good” (zen). Kaizen is rooted in the belief that everything is capable of being improved. So, when applying this to organizational development and customer service, the opportunity for improved processes, procedures and ways of thinking creates a continual flow of new ideas and ways we can better serve our clients and participants. The art of Kaizen is applied to what we identify here as the Closed-Loop Feedback Process, which is the actual process of improving something. In order for this to be effective, you have to be able to identify a problem and take action on how to fix or improve the problem or process.
When Life Gives You Lemons…
So, while we’re not exactly making lemonade here at P&A, it’s similar to what we do when applying the Closed-Loop Feedback Process. We believe in turning a negative into a positive and creating solutions for problems as they arise. Because, as much as we would like everything to run perfectly smooth all the time, that’s a bit unrealistic. But, by evoking changes and embracing improvements and executing them, we remain committed to delivering great customer service. And, if that somehow doesn’t happen? Well, then we make changes. We implement a new process or explore new ways to develop a better approach. We’re constantly working to improve – that’s what it’s all about. Here, we don’t settle for lemons– we use them to create a better service or product.