Transforming the Customer Experience

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The Most Important Thing in Customer Experience? The Customer Perspective

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 12.03.39 PMWe make decisions every day, every hour, about how to run our business – how to make it better, how to make it more efficient, how to motivate our staff, how to increase revenue, how to cut costs, etc. The daily decisions are endless.

But – there is ONE thing that is seldom considered in these decisions. And, unfortunately, it’s the most important thing.

The Customer Perspective

Have to reduce staffing hours to cut costs? Okay, maybe that’s a possibility. But first – consider how will that impact customer accessibility to your phones, your storefront, having their questions answered?

If you limit phone hours, yet your data shows that after a phone call to your company, 75% of callers make a purchase within 2 hours at your designated “break-even” purchase price, that cost savings will likely COST you more than you believe you are saving.

When implementing a new process for billing – consider how this will be rolled out and explained to your customers. Will you spring it on them? Or will you give them 2 months of pre-notice and step by step instructions designed to help them through every step – and offer chat or phone help when needed? And… did you make sure your new process is as streamlined and EASY as possible? If it’s too much of a hassle, customers will look for your product or service with a company that makes life easier for them.

And when you just can’t deliver what they are asking. Let’s use the example of a late fee being assessed for late payment. If it’s the FIRST time this has happened with this customer – Do you stick to your “policy” and say “It’s after the 15th of the month, the fee stands as stated in our policy.” Or… can you work with your customer to improve the experience and say ” Because this is the first time we’ve run into this on your account, we can waive the late fee. There may be some ways to reduce the chances of this situation from happening again. We could set you up on automatic payment…”

Consider the news or information you need to convey from the customer perspective. Keep in mind they are likely not in your world or lingo nearly as often as you are. Are you going to confuse them, irritate them, or help them.

Just ask yourself – “If I didn’t know anything about this, how could it best be explained or implemented to keep this customer’s loyalty?”

Your thoughts?

 

Make Customer Service a Habit

Daily actions of Customer Service are what makes a difference in the minds of the people we work with. Both internally and externally, we serve to fulfill a need or obligation. Now, be honest… how often is the way we work with people simply a combination of “habit activities” we’ve designed in order to get us through the workday?

As the graphic points out… many of the functions and actions we perform every day are “thoughtless” processes or habits that we’ve developed to get us from Point A to Point B. This is neither good nor bad, it just is. But I’d like to make this into an opportunity to be systematically good.

My challenge to you is this… BE INTENTIONAL!

Develop habits and processes into your daily conversations and routines with customers that show them you are focused on them, focused on serving them, focused on acting in their best interest, and focused on partnering with them.

You can make this work for you in a few different ways…

  1.  Identify a set routine that focuses on getting your mindset right in working with others. Better yet, develop a Servant Leader attitude
  2. Develop a set routine of questions that are customer focused to help you understand the challenges your customer faces on a daily basis to discover how you or your company can better help them
  3. Deliberately decide on a few actions you’d like to turn into “mindless habits” that show your desire to be intentional and focused on others. Example… If you drive through a coffee shop daily on your way to work, make Tuesday’s your “Pay It Forward” day and buy a coffee for the person behind you.  When you make copies on the copier at work, always fill the paper tray to the top when you are done. etc.

The more intentional your actions are, the more impactful they’ll be. By intentionally doing the right thing, making a positive change, putting a smile on someone’s face and becoming so routine in these that they become habits, the better it is for everyone.

I know it sounds a little “Rosy Colored Glasses,” but really, who wants to look at the world through muddy glasses?

Personalize to Improve Your Customer Satisfaction & Make Your Customers Happy!

Improving customer service and profits… many companies make this so very complicated. Once you realize that you can design service into your processes, it makes much more sense. The magic happens when you’ve committed to the mindset and process required.

Here are a few strategies to get you started…

  • Make sure that you learn and USE your customer’s names at least once during your conversations. Even if it’s when you say goodbye… it makes an impact and sends the feeling of a relationship. Example: “It was nice catching up with you today, Kristina. I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon.”  “Thanks for calling with your question, Kristina. I’m always happy to help.”
  • Take an objective look in the mirror and ask yourself WHY people should like to do business or work with you. If you can’t think of many, you may want to think of what you need to focus on to make working with you desirable. Remember the saying… If you want friends, BE a friend. This same concept holds true in business as well. Want more clients/customers? BE friendly and NICE. The #1 reason people stop doing business with companies is because they are treated rudely and indifferently.
  • Go a little out of your way to show your customers/clients they are important to you and you value them. Ask them questions that show you care and are interested in what they are saying or about their industry/business.
  • “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson
  • Let them know in your conversation or email that you truly enjoy working with them and value their business. Most companies don’t do this and people notice on the rare occasion that it happens. This is your chance to stand out.

Remember to use these quotes and tips during…

  • The beginning or ending of any and all meetings – leadership, management, and staff
  • Huddles
  • Company or team bulletin board
  • Newsletter – either external or internal
  • Daily and / or weekly emails
  • Training sessions

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below!

Episode 15 – Written Communication Skills to Improve the Customer Experience

Once it’s in print, it’s ALWAYS in print. Any printed conversations – digital or paper and ink – with or ABOUT a customer live on for eternity. Because of this, we need to be extremely cautious and proactive about what is written to a customer and about the customer. Different topics regarding the length, the way to address your customers, who to include and not include, content of the email or letter, etc are all covered here. Don’t let your written communications be your downfall.  Listen here for more details…

Episode 14 – Telephone Skills That Improve the Customer Experience and Satisfaction

Almost every company in the world interacts with customers on the phone to some extent. But how many do it WELL? This podcast shares proven methods that will present your company in the most professional manner anytime a customer calls. The way you work with customers and callers over the phone forms an impression about your level of caring, knowledge, and professionalism. Let your phone skills show you value customer service within your organization. Listen here…

Episode 13 – How Transparency Impacts the Customer Experience

Transparency is a key component of both the customer experience and effective leadership. Transparency is the ability to let customers know what you are capable of, the best pricing you can give, and the results you can provide. True transparency is letting your prospects and customers know they might not get the outcome they expect.  Transparency in leadership relies on the trust you’ve built with your teams. This podcast explains how to build that trust and get your team to support your initiatives to improve your customer experience.

Episode 11 – Five Steps to Building a Better Customer Experience Through Better Service

These five basic steps to better customer service are the pillars to building better experience for your customers. This podcast explains each step in detail and how to work with your staff to actively engage with you, your company, and your customers. Using these five steps as a foundation will increase your sales, customer loyalty AND staff engagement.

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