Transforming the Customer Experience

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Tips to Improve Customer Service

Bottom line, businesses that deliver memorable customer experiences are the ones that become more profitable.

Here are this week’s tips to keep you and your teams motivated to connect and work with your customers…

  • Be Truthful. Always. Integrity is not as common as it used to be. Being honest with your customers may lose a short term job, but gain credibility in the customer’s eyes that will reward you later.
  • Be Genuine.  We’ve heard the phrase – fake it till you make it.  My challenge with this is – you are still not being who you truly are. Consistently work to better yourself with good intentions for your business and your customers.
  • Instill teamwork in every aspect of your organization. When you and your company work as a team, the customers become your teammates as well and everyone wins.
  • Deliver what’s promised. If you said you would do it, then you must absolutely do everything you can to complete or achieve it. Your customers are keeping your business alive based on the results of the promises you make.
  • “Be everywhere, do everything and never fail to astonish the customer.” – Macy’s motto

Use tips such as these in your meetings, huddles, updates, interoffice emails or any method that you communicate within your organization.

Customer experience and customer service is not a “One Hit Wonder” mentality. It needs to be a way of life within your company.

Get even more tips and strategies to immediately step up your game to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by claiming your copy of “50 Customer Service Tips Made Simple” by clicking here https://kristinaevey.leadpages.net/50-customer-service-tips/ You’ll get instant access to what it takes to continue earning your customers business and loyalty.

How Customer Emotions Can Build or Break Your Profitability

The emotions of your customers drive your profitability and customer loyalty. We may be hesitant to acknowledge because we all know that relationships (even business relationships) are based on emotions and communication and can get us into trouble if we are not in tune with our partner. Does the phrase “Can we talk?” sound familiar and scary?

Being in tune with your customer while working with them is just as crucial, especially if you plan to stay in business and be successful.

Emotions Drive Most Buying Decisions

Think of your current banking institution. What emotions come up for you? If you are instantly filled with frustration and irritation, odds are you are also currently looking to jump ship and find another bank. If, just thinking about them causes you to feel this way, how much worse is it when you are actually on their website or in their location? Frustration and irritation are the kiss of death for customer loyalty. Once you get past the hassle factor of switching to another bank, if you’ve found one that makes you so glad you found them, you’ll likely encourage most of your friends and associates to try your new bank as well.

Lesson: Your frustrated and irritated clients are solid detractors from your business. They’ll spread the word willingly about how difficult it is to do business with you and encourage people to try your competitors.

What about those of you that felt good about your bank when you thought of them? For those of you that felt your finances are safe and secure, that your best interests are being cared for, those of you who feel your bank truly values your business, you will likely never leave that bank willingly. Those positive feelings are the drivers of customer loyalty.

Lesson: Trust, safety, security, comfort, and happiness drive customer retention and loyalty and, ultimately, profitability.

Now, we’ve looked at four main emotions – frustration, irritation, trust, and feeling valued. These emotions are fairly simple and easy to identify in your customer’s body language and mood. Point out to your leadership team and staff that these emotions are key indicators of the way your customer feels about your organization as a whole and their likelihood of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Keep It In Check

Provide some discussion forums or training for your teams to identify indicators of these emotions and how to work with those that are frustrated and irritated. Give your staff the tools and strategies to help ease customer frustrations, better communicate with them to identify underlying issues, and to open up discussions as to how to make working with your organization better and easier for them.

Pay attention to the customers who are loyal and appear to be happy to be working with your company. Train your teams to recognize these folks and give them strategies and tips on how to engage and to find out what it is about your company that has caused them to feel the way they do. The goal is to replicate the “stimulus” as often as possible to encourage happiness and loyalty. If it’s your staff that’s wonderful,then identify the characteristics that drive this result and be sure to have those as “must haves” in all new potential candidates.

Get even more tips and strategies to immediately step up your game to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by claiming your copy of “50 Customer Service Tips Made Simple” by clicking here https://kristinaevey.leadpages.net/50-customer-service-tips/ You’ll get instant access to what it takes to continue earning your customers business and loyalty.

 

Stop Kidding Yourself! Are You Interested or Committed to Delivering Amazing Customer Service?

“I’d kill to have a golf swing like that!”

“I’d do ANYTHING to lift that much weight and look like that!”

We’ve all heard, and made, statements like this about something in either our personal or professional lives. But really, we are all a bunch of liars.

Yes, that sounds extreme, but let me explain… I’ll tie this in to Customer Service and the Customer Experience quickly.

That golf pro… Before he or she turned pro, they likely went to the course in the wee hours of the morning and practiced a full 90 minutes before going to their “job” only to return again after work, day in… day out. They sacrificed many moments that most of us take for granted to get them closer to their true goal… to be the absolute best they could be and turn pro.

That fabulous looking person in the gym (I’m not talking about the steroid pumpers)… They watch everything they eat. They train methodically and diligently.  They let the scoffing over their eating habits roll of their skin. They don’t judge those that eat differently, yet find themselves subject to ridicule because of their strictness to their own eating and training regimine. “Can’t you just let loose and have fun this ONE time?”

Many of us are not prepared to put in the time and effort it takes to be in the top 5% of anything… sport, physical fitness… or business success.

So, you say you deliver the best customer service and make the experience your customers have better than they can get anywhere else?  Really.

If I were to walk in your doors, or call your company, and ask the first five people I see what your company stands for and how it works with customers better than anyone else, I’d bet that I’d get five blank stares… and then some sheepish off the cuff made up answers.

So my question to you is this… Are you INTERESTED in focusing on your customers and creating a culture that is centered around them, or are you COMMITTED?

Interested companies gather a little information, talk about it from time to time, hire a consultant, might spend a little money for a workshop or training session, and believe that they are on the right track.

Committed companies do research, not only hire coaches – but DO THE WORK, talk about and focus on the customer experience incessantly, create a unified vision of the ideal customer experience, hire and train the right folks to support that ideal experience and HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE for excellent customer service delivery, they get feedback from their customers as to how they are doing, etc.

So, the golf pro and the body builder, they have a goal. They have clarity. They have a vision of success. They. Do. The. Work.

Are you willing to step up and stop talking the talk? Walk the talk. Develop a culture focused on the most important person in your company – the CUSTOMER.  Not sure where to get started? Click here…

Customer Loyalty Depends on the Word “WHY”

Many people assume that customer loyalty and customer satisfaction is based on asking one very important question – What is the likelihood of you referring others to do business with us? This is commonly known as Net Promoter Score, or NPS.  On a scale of 1- 10, 10 being the highest likelihood, you delight in the folks that score a 9 or 10, pay more attention to the 6, 7, and 8 scorers, and count on the fact that anyone scoring 5 or less is already looking elsewhere for your product or service.

But only asking IF customers will refer to you misses, in my opinion, the truly critical component.

Now, asking customers IF they will refer to you is very important. But, I’d really like to take it a step further and ask customers WHY they would refer to you. This is how you find out what it is in your organization that you do really well that makes an impact on folks -OR – that nothing in your company really stands out from the rest of the pack. 

Consider this… if you were to ask a current customer why they would refer others to do business with you, or would continue to do business with you themselves, and they responded back with “Because the folks here really seem to go out of their way to help me. I like the fact that everyone is really friendly and knows what they are talking about.” 

If you had that response, you would know that your customer service and the customer experience is something that your company does really well and you should capitalize on that. Continue to make it a focus. Recognize and reward those that truly exemplify the customer service skills and deliver amazing customer experiences you want to be known for.

The significance in asking people WHY they would recommend your company to others is understanding what is MEMORABLE about your company and the way you work with customers.  It goes without saying, you want to be creating positive experiences that make customers feel good about their decision to do business iwth you.

When customers need to take a while or can’t really come up with a specific reason WHY they would refer their friends to you, you need to take a step back and face the harsh truth that your organization is pretty bland. You aren’t making enough of a positive impact in any one area that has impressed them enough to make them want to come back or resist the draw of your competitors.

Fortunately, it’s a simple fix. Create positive experiences throughout your company that will draw your customers in, engage them, become their ally,  and ultimately build and nurture long term business relationships. All it takes is focusing on the customer – their needs, their struggles, how you can help them, how they want to receive your help, and communication. In future posts, I’ll explain exactly how to do just that.

What are your thoughts on taking it a step further and asking WHY people would refer to you? Take a moment and comment below.

Customer Service – Do You Give Empty Compliments to Your Customer Facing Staff?

Compliments are always good, right? Especially a compliment given to an employee for delivering good customer service, right?compliment

Actually…. no.

I’ll explain.

I once worked with a company in which the Director of the Customer Relations department would walk through the department and say “You guys are Rockstars!”  When an employee would speak with him privately, he would discuss their issue and upon leaving would say “You’re a Rockstar!”

This seems a good practice… until you hear his staff members say…”If he calls me a Rockstar once more, I’m going to lose my mind!” I asked them to explain.

It seems that, while well intended, his compliments were completely empty. His staff felt that he had absolutely no understanding of the stress of their jobs, the hoops they had to jump through to make or keep customers happy, the stressful interactions involved with other departments to move up orders or how unreasonable many of their clients were. Their manager had given up asking him for assistance in these areas because he was torn in too many directions and offered no support to that department within the company.

Once I pressed them for more information, the staff told me that the compliments from the Director meant nothing, while the compliments from their manager meant everything to them.

The manager would give the following compliments…

“I noticed how you really went to bat for that customer and did everything possible to move their order up to meet their deadline. Even though it didn’t work out, they noticed that you put forth the effort. That means a lot to them.”

“I like the way you speak with our customers. You really show a sense of graciousness and pleasantness that I like. Even when the news isn’t what the customer wanted to hear, you really go out of your way to sound genuinely empathetic. Thanks for that.”

“I really appreciate the thoroughness you show when coming to me with a situation. You have all of your facts checked and have a few possibilities for solutions in mind. That really helps me make a decision much faster.”

Specificity is the key here folks. Empty compliments mean nothing. They may sound nice initially, but over time they feel just that… empty and meaningless.

When you give the little effort to specify what you are complimenting and how it impacts the situation, your staff will likely repeat the behavior.

After all, that’s our end goal, right? Reward the desired behaviors and they will likely be repeated. When this happens, our staff is happy and they treat the customers better, customers are happy, they return and likely buy more, and we make more profits.

Bottom line… be specific and sincere. It means more than you know.

Please leave your thoughts and examples below…

How Bad Customer Service Slashes Your Sales and What to Do About It

Bad customer service – we’ve all experienced it. The receptionist that seems impatient with us on the phone. The server at the restaurant that is condescending and rude, thus ruining our dining experience. The clerk at the store that seems to think we are invisible and rolls her eyes when we actively try to get her attention.

Poor customer service is rampant these days. It’s one of the most vocalized complaints on Facebook and Twitter. Business leaders and owners know that it is a big issue, yet few take any action to correct it, much less know HOW to correct it. They tell themselves that the offenders “are really very good people.” “They’ve been with us forever.” “They have a lot going on in their personal lives.” “It’s just a phase.”

While most of us dislike having to face negative facts, we just have to. The impact of poor customer service on your business is more than just the occasional upset customer.

Customers leave because of bad service. That’s it. Plain and simple. 70% of your lost customers have stopped doing business with you simply because someone within your company treated them rudely, indifferently, or barely acknowledged them. It has nothing to do with your product or price. Someone just didn’t deliver a smile, use their name, or engage. They just processed them through your system.

It lowers the standard of customer service in your company. No matter how well you train your staff, if you allow poor service to continue by one or more of your employees, it will slowly erode the level of service experienced by your customers.  The coworkers of negative employees will slowly start to slip in their own actions and will likely display lower levels of service than their norm. By allowing poor service to continue, you send the message to your staff that the customer experience and service skills are not important enough for you to address.

You’ll lose your best employees. The employees that are the best representatives for your company and pride themselves on the way they help your customers will soon be so uncomfortable in the environment that they will seek employment in a different department or, worse yet, another company. These are the people your customers know, like, and trust and want to continue working with. Once they leave, you’ll also lose some customers.

What to do about it…

Train Well. Be sure that you have clearly identified customer service level expectations and specifically train your staff how achieve these standards.

Coach to Success. Should you identify someone not meeting these minimum expectations, immediately be proactive and coach them on the necessary skills to guide them.

Free Up Their Future. Sometimes folks just can’t consistently meet the minimum expectations of customer service. After you’ve coached them with unsatisfactory improvement, you must help them find another position, preferably in another company. These are hard conversations to have, but your profits depend on them. You’ll also notice morale will quickly increase in the impacted department.

For help on training your staff to deliver great customer service consistently, my Excellent Service Skills: Start to Finish training package will give you everything you need, step by step. Don’t let the service your staff delivers drive customers away. Let your service reputation be the reason your customers WANT to do business with you.

Good Business Is About Showing Customers the LOVE Through Good Customer Service

The secret sauce to getting more customers and making more money? Show Your Customers The LOVE!

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.  Think about the way we build personal relationships… we see someone we are attracted to, we do things to get them to notice us, we try to find out more about them, we do things to try to impress them, we pay attention to them, we notice what makes the happy and/or sad, we do our best to make them feel good or happy. If we really like them, we do whatever it takes to make them want to be around us more. It becomes mutually beneficial. Both people discover things about each other that make them enjoy each other’s company and continue to see each other… and quite possibly marry each other for life.

Now, that mini-therapy session was my gift to you… but there is a lesson in it.  The SAME EXACT principles come into play in business relationships as well.  You know your target market or ideal customer, you market to them, you try to find out what they need/want, you impress them with introductions or sales pitches or networking, you pay attention to what they say to tailor your solution around them, you notice what they want, don’t want, you do whatever you can to keep them coming back to you first for your product or service. The benefits to both are that you are making money from them and you are providing them with a solution for their needs.

I’m the first to agree that all relationships require some work, and yes, are sometimes stressful. And yes, sometimes they don’t work out, but it always requires some effort. As the saying goes, all good things in life require effort. In business, because customer needs and demographics are constantly changing, we really need to be in touch with our customers. What’s important to them? What do they need? What is it about our product or service that works for them? What isn’t working for them? What would they like to see changed or improved? As in all relationships, communication is key.

The extra bit here is that in successful relationships, both people need to feel valued and special. Yes, I was a Psychology major in college and it continues to amaze me to the degree that companies neglect this aspect in business.

If you’ve ever been on one of my webinars or in my workshops, you’ll know I ALWAYS start out with the statistic that the number 1 reason people stop doing business with a company is because they didn’t feel valued or special. People/customers want and need to feel that their business is valued by the vendor. To do so, we need to show our customers the love.

Here are a few suggestions on how to do just that…

  • 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.

Do this regularly, not just on important dates like Valentine’s Day because you “should.” When you work on making good customer service a habit and your customers can come to count on it, you’ve struck gold in the relationship game. The proof is in your bottom line… and by the glowing way your customers will speak about you and your company.

Niceness Makes ALL the Difference in Reducing Patient Angst

Customer service and being nice can make or break a first impression, especially in a medical office. My family recently changed insurance companies due to the recent health care changes. We were heartbroken that this also meant we had to change our physicians we’d been with for the past 10 years.(To be accurate, we could have stayed with them, but it would have cost us an additional $300 per month.)

Anyway, I’d finally been able to find a location close to our home that was accepting new patients. I called and informed the receptionist of our dilemma of being entirely unfamiliar with the doctors and hopeful that we would find the right fit for each member of my family. She immediately took care of my uneasiness by saying “Well, that’s what I’m here for and I’m happy to make any recommendations and answer any questions you have.”  This impressed me immensely.

After setting an appointment for one of my sons just two weeks out, she then said “I’m working that night, so I’m looking forward to meeting him. Just have him ask for me, Merrit, if he has any questions and I’ll make sure he’s taken care of.” I was blown away.  I used to manage medical offices in my past life and I wish I could say I’d had staff this welcoming at that time.

When I was done getting everything set and the appointments made, I complimented Merrit on her ability to take a situation that I admittedly was very anxious about and putting my mind at ease. I told her that I’m a consultant in customer and patient satisfaction and that I wished I could take her on the road with me to show how things should be done.

My point here is that you really need to understand how sad and anxious I was about switching doctors for my family. Just by her kindness and genuine helpfulness, she took the time to answer questions and to be sure that I felt as comfortable as possible with how we had scheduled things. If only we could do this in all aspects of business. Patients are customers too and she acted like she knew it. I haven’t even been to the office yet and I’m already telling a few folks how please I am with the new health clinic and staff. This is the type of recommendation we want from all of our customers. My trust level is high right now and they’d really have to mess it up to change my mind.

Remember, people do business with those that they know, like, and trust. Take a lesson from Merrit and do whatever it takes to make your new customers/clients/patients/guests feel welcome and happy they decided to do business with you.

I’d love to hear your comments below…

Resolutions Don’t Work in Customer Service… Habits Drive the Customer Experience

Resolutions Don’t Work… HABITS Do
 
First off, I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to the promises and opportunities of 2015.
 
Many of you likely fell into the nostalgic traditions of setting New Year’s Resolutions with big plans and the best of intentions.
And… like the MAJORITY of folks, most (if not all) of those resolutions have already fallen by the wayside.
Frustrating, isn’t it.  Why does this happen? Because resolutions are only intentions. We all can think back on zillions (no exaggeration) of times we’ve had the best of intentions and can’t seem to make any of them stick.
The reason is because intentions are a mind game. ACTION is the cement to make things happen. You have to have action to take your intentions to fruition. 
 
I can say that I’m determined to complete my second full chin up in the next 6 weeks until I’m blue in the face, but that simply won’t happen unless I continue to ratchet my nutrition into check and continue my strength training. But, those actions of eating right and training are the ONLY way I’m going to get that second chin up to happen.
What does this have to do with your business and the customer experience? EVERYTHING!  
 
Think about it… you had to take many different actions to get your business to it’s current state. Whether that is a good or bad thing, a series of actions got you where you are.  To make any changes, you’ll continue to take actions. 
 
The most impactful actions are the DAILY HABITS that we make as part of our action plan. A daily habit and choice I have in my quest for strength is do I eat a donut or three eggs for breakfast? I eat the eggs.  I strength train HARD twice a week to increase my strength. I want results. I need to take action. My egg breakfast is a daily habit, an action DIRECTLY RELATED TO MY GOAL. 
 
If you want to be successful in business and in your quest to make more profits and increase your customer retention, you must take action to make that happen. Wishing it won’t make it happen. Wanting it won’t make it happen. Working at it will make it happen.
 
I have great plans for all of us in 2015. I spent some time the past few weeks mapping out content, workshops, and coaching programs to help each of you make more money, enjoy your business, improve the morale of your staff, and simply making the customer experience more natural to the DNA of your company.
 
I do need your help though. To make the information relevant and useful to you, I’m going to continue to ask for your feedback, questions, and challenges that hare keeping you from having the business of your dreams and giving you the biggest headaches. I’ve found that many of you have similar questions and it helps me when you’ve voiced your challenges specifically to your situation.  
So, remember make improving the customer experience a HABIT in your organization.  Here are some strategies and quotes to help you and your staff get there faster…
  • He who profits most serves best. – Arthur F. Sheldon
  • Be the difference between delivering what is expected and what is delightful.
  • Your customers are keeping your business alive based on what you promised to deliver. Be sure you know what promises you can make that you can KEEP no matter what. Disappointment is VERY hard to overcome.
  • As far as your customers are concerned, you ARE the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep the customer coming back. You have the power to make or break your customer’s loyalty. Do everything you can to exceed your customer’s expectations.
  • In business, you get what you want by giving other people what they want. – Alice MacDougall
Happy New Year and I’m honored to have you in my community to change the world of business, one experience at a time!
Helping you focus on your customers,

Customer Service – It CAN Earn You Loyal Customers!

I preach continually about the importance of Customer Service and am really happy to share this personal story.

Last week I was on my annual pilgrimage to Chicago with some good friends.  Every year, I mean EVERY year, we dine at Quartino’s restaurant.  We happened to find ourselves there about 8 years and have returned every year because the service, food, and prices are so wonderful.  Our friends think we are nuts for not trying any of the other venues, but we just don’t want to risk it.

Last week, we found ourselves waiting a few minutes for our reserved table at the appointed time.  I asked the hostess twice if she had an estimate of the wait time as we had tickets to a show later that evening.  She very politely apologized for the wait and assured us we’d be seated shortly.

Just moments after my second inquiry, the restaurant manager, Tony, appeared and genuinely apologized for our wait. He assured us that the table would be ready momentarily and thanked us so much for our patience.  We told him how happy we are with the restaurant and have come back every year because of the great experience we consistently have.  Upon hearing that, he thanked us for our loyalty and returned with a complimentary bottle of wine for us to enjoy for the remaining minutes we had to wait.  He then showed us to our table.

The remainder of the meal was, as expected, wonderful.  We enjoyed our meal while catching up on each other’s lives and lots of laughter.  The manager then stopped by at the end of our meal with a cocktail treat for each of us and gave me his card and asked us to email him next time we, or any of our friends, would be dining at the restaurant so that he could be sure we were well taken care of.

Now, this is the type of service experience I train my clients to deliver to their customers.  While we hadn’t waited too long, they were very kind and apologetic about having to wait at all.  The manager went above and beyond to make us feel like we were special patrons of the restaurant and really made us feel important and well taken care of.  He even followed up at the end and made sure that we knew how to contact him to be sure we’d receive great service at our next visit.

When you can connect all of the dots like this.. welcoming at the beginning, great care during, handling any mishaps with grace, and sending us off with a smile (and a blog post), you know you’ve done a great job.  They key here is that they do it CONSISTENTLY.

Keep it up, Tony and your team at Quartino’s!  Next time any of you are in Chicago, stop by and ask for Tony.  He’ll take great care of you.  You can also learn a thing or two from them to bring into your business.

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