What can you learn about customer service from LEGO®?

March 14, 2022

When those in the hospitality industry are looking for great examples of excellence & customer service, we tend to stay in the known wheelhouse of organizations like Ritz Carlton, Apple, Disney, and Starbucks to name a few. But there is a less talked about organization that sets a high bar for customer service & engagement. That company is LEGO.

We all know LEGO. Most likely as the kids toy that your 9 year-old refuses to pick up before bed and you find at 3 am with your bare feet in the middle of the night. But the toy giant has truly come of age with its partnerships with Star Wars and Marvel. But that alone would not be enough to be a leader in the toy industry for nearly two decades. They also have a simple approach to customer service that I believe that your operation can use as a model for your own organization.

The key to their success has been boiled down to a simple acronym - FREKE (pronounced “freaky”). It is 4 simple words-Fun, REliable, Knowledgeable, Engaging-but they send a powerful message to employees on the expectations of handling customer engagement. They create an atmosphere where their employees are empowered to not only be problem solvers-they want employees to delight the customer. As Hannah Quill, head of writing and tone of voice (hi there culture!) shared with Inc.:

"One of the reasons that it works so well is that, yes, it's fun and engaging, and we encourage people to be creative and have fun when they're writing, but it's also reliable and knowledgeable. It's very important that you're giving the customer the correct information, and that any promise that you're making, you are committing to deliver that customer service. Freaky doesn't solely mean fun and engaging, it also means following through, reliable, customer service.

Why can’t your operation do this? Too many operators try to create elaborate customer service programs and “15 point” service standards. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to create a simple and effective customer service & engagement standard:

  • What does your brand stand for and offer?

    • Your customer service and engagement model should really stem from your brand and value proposition. It will have more impact on employees and customers

  • Are our customer service standards authentic?

    • Employees and customers will see right through anything that reeks of corporate speak. Be authentic in how you create your standards so they are easy to embrace.

  • Are we keeping this simple and easy to use?

    • While your corporate office may value those 17 service standards, keeping it simple and focused for the employee is key to them remembering and buying in on them.

  • Do our standards empower our employees?

    • The best employees are the ones that feel empowered to live out those standards and give you an edge on customer service. If your standards don’t speak to your employees and applicants, you will be hard pressed to get long term acceptance and execution.

As an industry, we have to empower our employees with our own version of FREKE. The shift in expectations from our customers is upon us. We need to be ready to bring an exceptional experience to the residents & guests we serve. We also need to keep it simple. That's the beauty of FREKE - you aren't likely to forget it, and it's easy for your teams to rally around.

So what’s your version of FREKE going to be?

Let us know how the team at Trestle Hospitality Concepts can help your senior living food & beverage teams set your table for success by implementing ideas like these and more.