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BackstageKermit the Frog hanging out in his theater-what message does this backstage area send?

“Our people are our most valuable asset.” We consistently hear this declaration from leaders of organizations across industries and see this phrase displayed on the sides of trucks, on bumper stickers, and in boardrooms across the country.

It’s the right thing to say- and it should be true. But what are these leaders doing to preserve, support and celebrate this most valuable asset? Is this simply lip service, or is making it a reality a part of their corporate service culture?

If your people are your most valuable asset, are you treating them like they are?

One way to gauge the way organizations treat their most valuable asset is by simply walking into and observing what we call “backstage” areas. A backstage area is a workplace area that is generally in support of the cast (employees). Conversely, onstage areas are those that are visible to, and designed for, the customer.

Think of the concept of onstage and backstage in the context of live theater. Onstage is anyplace that is visible to the audience (customer) and backstage includes all of the areas that the audience cannot see.  

In the context of a business serving customers, some examples of backstage areas are:

  • break rooms
  • locker rooms
  • stock rooms
  • parking lots
  • hallways
  • restrooms
  • human resources office
  • cash cages
  • production areas
  • kitchens

We often see beautiful, opulent, well thought out and designed onstage areas to deliver a world-class customer experience and then walk backstage to find disorganization, disrepair, and discomfort for our “most valuable asset”. Those organizations that get it right have well designed, clean and comfortable backstage areas that support employees and strengthen their service culture rather than undermining it with default employee areas that were clearly an afterthought.

Our employees will treat our customers they way they themselves are treated. Treat employees with respect and they will do the same for your customers.

So, create your backstage areas so that they would be fit for a customer! Inclluded in this service culture tip are 3 quick ideas to upgrade your backstage areas:

  1. Display cultural and informational messaging (also a tip for delivering world-class NEO!)
  2. Include comfortable furniture- including a table where employees can eat
  3. Make sure all lightbulbs, doors and items are working and in compete repair

Challenge: take a tour of your backstage areas. What messages are areas like the break rooms, kitchen and hallways sending to your people?  Do they say that your people are your “most valuable asset” or are they sending a message that is quite the opposite? What message does Kermit's area send?

To learn more about creating a service culture, take our on-line assessment.  See how your organization shapes up:

service culture assessment improve service culture

ABOUT DONNELLY EFFECT: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect creates world-class customer loyalty through effective Talent Selection and Hiring, Employee Onboarding, Customer Experience, Service Culture and Leadership. Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2007, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney customer service and leadership training to audiences across the United States

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