November 28 2012

The Golden Rule of Customer Service: Featuring Steve Parker, Safelite’s Las Vegas General Manager

Steve Miggo, Safelite Senior Vice President of Operations

Las Vegas has the reputation as a city where the red carpet is rolled out for you. It’s no different at Safelite AutoGlass’s Las Vegas market, which has earned some of the company’s highest Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in the last three years, consistently ranking No. 2-3 among Safelite’s 90 markets.

That type of success doesn’t come easy in a market dogged with some of the highest unemployment rates and housing foreclosures in the country. Yet, Safelite’s Vegas market currently has a 2012 year-to-date NPS of 91%, compared to the company score of 87%. The market serves roughly 41,000 customers per year, resulting in sales of $9 million. Its approximately 60 employees work throughout six locations in the area.


Customer Service Begins with Accountability

Serving as the Las Vegas General Manager since 2008, Steve Parker is a perfect example of a leader who has embraced Safelite’s cultural transformation, which focuses on talent development and customer delight.

Northwest Division Manager Brad Edwards points to Parker’s leadership as key in instilling a strong belief in customer service in his market. He often takes a hands-on role when rectifying a customer situation. In fact, service recovery is one of Parker’s specialties. “There’s a natural fear in contacting an angry customer,” explains Parker. “Yet, most times they’re surprised you took the time to read their complaint, let alone, act on it. By the end, they are thanking you!” Luckily, service recovery is not needed often in the Vegas market, which boosts a low 1.9% customer service issue rate.

While we often use service issues or negative feedback for teaching opportunities, Parker prefers to focus on the positive. Each week, his team gathers to review the positive feedback from customers. “The techs who received a lousy NPS that week already know what they did wrong in many cases. We don’t try to make them feel punished. Instead, we talk about how it was resolved.”

The Power of Trust

In fact, owning up to mistakes is one of Parker’s biggest teachings. “Mistakes will happen. Trying to hide them only makes things worse. Instead, I encourage my team to correct it immediately.”

Parker gives his team a lot of leeway in how they may choose to correct a problem. “I have never disciplined or lectured a technician that said ‘yes’ to a customer. We may talk afterward about whether it was the best solution and what alternatives may have been more appropriate, but they know I will never be mad at them for trying to do the right thing.”

Similarly, Parker encourages positive reinforcement through a monthly raffle. At any point that an employee sees another employee in the Vegas market going above and beyond the call of duty, they may give that employee a raffle ticket as a way to recognize his or her efforts. Those raffle tickets are then entered for monthly drawings for $50.

Strong Leaders Create Strong Service Providers

As evidence of Parker’s leadership, he has many customer service heroes on his team.

For example, Diane Smith has been a company-wide role model for customer service. Smith began as a service representative but then trained to become a repair specialist. In 2010, she earned the company’s Exceptional Customer Service Award by having 114 surveys returned with 113 Promoters and no Detractors. Smith decided to return to her role as a service representative and consistently has the market’s best results in meeting key performance indexes.

Parker acknowledges that a good NPS rating from a customer is dependent upon multiple people – from the CSR to the warehouse worker to the technician. Yet, he encourages his technicians to recognize that they have the most power to influence a customer’s experience. “Even if the customer wasn’t happy when the tech arrived because of a scheduling conflict, the technician has the opportunity to turn it around and create a positive service experience. And that can be done as easily as smiling and explaining your work to your customer so they know what to expect.”

As a result, two of his technicians have a 100% NPS to-date: Byron Hill and Chis Dowdy. Both Frank Hyatt and Wally Mattucci are close with 97% NPS, and Repair Specialist Ryan Rude has a 95% NPS.

Much of this is possible thanks to his outstanding leadership team:
• William Drabeck, Store Manager
• James Hill, Store Manager
• Brandon McPherson, Store Manager
• James Sowatzke, Warehouse Manager
• Janet Taylor, Services Manager
• John Taylor, Technician manager

Single Rule of Thumb

At the end of the day, Parker reminds his team to give what they’d themselves expect. “It goes back to this: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”

It’s leaders like Parker, who are committed to their people and their customers, that allow Safelite to shine so brightly.

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I guess you would say we are prejudice but Steve is our son- in - law. This is so true of him . He’s tough when he has to be but has a heart of gold. He knows when & how to say it when he has to.  Our daughter is a pretty lucky gal .

Clayton & sharon erickson, January 06, 2013

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