From Subaru to any industry, is your staff shortages well balanced or will you lose lifetime loyalty?

Art teaches us! Well, I thought I wanted another Subaru but I’m not so sure now. It seems like Subaru has had to set aside some servicing to accommodate no appointment oil changes and recalls. Is that the right decision? Or, have they lost a lifetime or generation of customers by just that one staffing change? Great employees only implement your strategy. Like this Joseph Klibansky sculpture, carefully check your reallocation of staff and assess the long term impact constantly.

Joseph Klibansky’s Sculpture

The traveling “Self Portrait of a Dreamer” by Joseph The staff might be doing a really wonderful job but the strategy to shift staff differently might affect your customers.  is located now in the center of a pond at the Amsterdam Museum Square. In his works, Jospeh often reflects on the precarious need for equilibrium. We definitely need that same equilibrium between different new projects, staffing shortages and that impact on our customer long term loyalty.

Conflicting projects and help wanted signs

You notice it everywhere. Great employees pulled in many directions. Long lines at a drivethru, new delivery orders and a staff shortage means that the walk in customer will have to wait. A help wanted sign up anywhere means that that organization is balancing staff and pulling great employees in many directions. As you juggle all your customer needs, think about the long term impact that reduced customer loyalty.

Subaru – Will a service trend change my next purchase decision?

Should I buy a Subaru again? To get my intermittently starting car fixed I had only 2 choices, drop it off and let it sit there for a couple of days or make an appointment in a week all while several warning lights had turned on. If I checked online for any Subaru dealership in the area, none of them had appointments available in less than a week. Is that because the no appointment oil changes and recalls are more profitable/easy or is it simply that they are having staffing issues like everyone else?

Doctor’s office lab work

When a friend was sent to go get her regular blood test after an appointment, she was told it would be a month. Something’s changed. It was not an urgent test but does she know that she will be prioritized differently if really sick? No, and she just might go find another doctor.

Inform your customers, rebalance and thank

Think about your plans and try to do the following:

  • Customers – Whenever you can, provide some sort of explanation.
  • Rebalance – Review your short term decision impact on the lifetime of the customer
  • Thank staff – Thank and the staff pulled in many directions

Inform the customer

Some explanation for a long wait will help. At the car dealer, have the team explain that you have high volumes due to a recall. If it is really super temporary, let them know it shouldn’t happen again. When you can, inform your customers. Or just provide a brief apology.

Constantly Rebalance Resources

If you have competing objectives, see what you can do to get back on track with all customer groups. Add staff, bring in a team to start early to get caught up etc.. Like Klibansky’s sculpture implies, find the best equilibrium.

Keep your stretched thin team motivated

While I was at the dealer, my rep could see a long line forming and took the time to stop and talk to each and every car to make sure they were ok. That kind of spontaneous service goes along way. Make sure you acknowledge all the hard work of your team now stretched really thin.

Watch out for “It Used to Be”

While you diversify your business or restaff, avoid getting to the point where you customer say “It used to be”.  Make sure that you make changes strategically and avoid any long term impacts to your customers overall experience with you.  If you ever need us to check out your new workflows and make sure your vision for consistent service is still in place, we can help with a mystery shopping program! Yes, it really is a balancing act. Good luck!

Mary Furrie, CEO, Quality Assessments Mystery Shoppers, helping clients with consistently with mystery shopping programs.

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