Transforming the Customer Experience

Category : cultural mindset

Home/Archive by Category "cultural mindset"

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?

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.

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 Loyalty and Profits Thrive In a Strong Customer Centric Culture

Getting new customers, keeping those customers, and making more money are the goals you have for your business, right?

Then let me share one of the most crucial factors into setting up that equation – DEFINE your ideal desired company culture!

If I could shout this from the mountain tops, I absolutely would.  All of the clients I work with online and in person have struggled with this concept initially.  They believe that they need to amp up their sales force or train their front line staff better.  These ideas certainly come into play, but only after we get the critical step of the culture solidified first. When I explain that customers will absolutely do business and spend more money with the companies that have a solid foundation, know who they are, how they want to do business, how they want customers to be treated, how they want their staff to work together internally, they start to pay attention.  Here is where you want to take notes…

1.  Companies with clearly defined cultures have taken the guesswork out of their daily lives.  These companies know what their mission statement is, what their core values are, and how they want their customers to think of them.

2.  Companies with clearly defined cultures have a high level of staff engagement.  Companies with high staff engagement have low turnover rates, high staff morale, staff feels more empowered, and the staff make decisions that benefit both the company and the customers.

3.  Companies with clearly defined cultures do everything they can to protect the culture they strive to create.  They protect it like a Mama Bear protecting her cubs.  Anything or anyone threatening that culture is diverted into a different forest.  Meaning, if there are internal issues and leadership stands and supports the ideal culture, they will make the difficult decision of “freeing up the future” of those who do not embrace the ideals and are slowly but surely destroying morale.

So, how do you define your culture?  Simple.  Sit down with your leadership team, managers, or whomever you see as a leader in your company.  Limit the group to 10 to eliminate the “Too Many Indian Chiefs” phenomena.

You then need to brainstorm and identify that in your wildest dreams of the best possible world where there are plenty of customers, plenty of business, staff is performing at optimum levels, everything is functioning as well as it could possibly be….  what does it look like, feel like, sound like, how are staff interacting with clients and each other? What’s being said?  What is the morale like?   It doesn’t matter how things are currently operating now, this is all about setting goals and aiming high.  

The key here is to have the conversation.  Define what you have in mind, document it, rework it until it feels right.  Then be sure to SHARE it with your entire organization.  If you keep it in your head, you’ll just be lucky if someone else is headed in the same direction as you.  Leave nothing to chance.  Your business success depends on it.

Once you’ve done this exercise, you’ll know that everyone knows what they are working toward.  Everyone will be on the same page.  There will be consistency across your company.  Getting new customers is much easier when everyone is sending the same message and delivering a consistent customer experience.  When customers have better customer experiences on a consistent basis, they turn into loyal customers.

 

Customer Service Mindset Tips for the Small Business Owner

Small Business Owners: Take Heed – Customer Service is All in the Mindset!

I work with  businesses both large and small and it is reinforced to me daily as to how much of the “Service Mentality” truly stems from the mindset each and every one of us chooses to display.  Yes, you read that correctly…we choose how well we will treat our customers. People try to blame their background, their boss, their peers, or worse yet… the customer, as the reason why they don’t give good service.  But once you own up to it, it all comes down to CHOICE.

So with this being said, the small business owners sometimes feel outnumbered, out-lawyered, out-staffed, out-everything’d by the larger companies that advertise and market in such a way that they can only dream of.

To them, I consistently say one thing…. It’s all in your mindset.  The mindset that you can create the ideal service experience stems from your beliefs and your desire that delivering a superior service experience is not only profitable for your bottom line, but that it is the right thing to do.

I believe this is an essential first step.  You must believe that it is truly possible to assemble a dream team for service.  You may have a few folks in your team right now that you regret hiring, but from this point on, we’ll work on that and ensure that you are hiring for the best service experience possible.  If you don’t believe that this is actually a probability, then you may as well throw in the towel now and continue to make excuses.

The body travels in the direction of  the mind’s most dominant thought, so be prepared to come into this with a beginner’s mind and be open and excited about what the possibilities are.

I have a past client who had so much more knowledge than she ever gave herself credit for until recently, and needed just to open her mind for what was possible.  She recently accepted a position doing everything she had been hoping she could do in her past company, but with a much more progressive one that walks the talk, that has the mindset of all things are possible, and even, necessary in the world of service. So, yes, she had to make some changes by making the huge decision on how long to continue working for a large company with good intentions but no follow through, or to go where she knew it felt better to start from scratch and stay true to her mindset of connecting with customers and becoming a solutions provider.

To all of you who are leaders or owners in your businesses, you must envision the way that you want your customers to feel about you.  You must envision the right team in place that is fulfilling the desires and needs of both the company and the customers.  You must envision how each and every day you are gaining the loyalty and trust of yet one more customer.  By doing this day in and day out, you are setting yourself up for success.  There will be some days when it seems overwhelming and frustrating, but by envisioning the success of you and your team, you are practicing the same techniques that professional athletes, even Olympians, use.  They envision the finish line.  They envision themselves getting the gold medal.  They push through the setbacks.

So to all of you small business owners, the customer service experience that draws your customers back time and time again begins with your mindset and your belief in getting the job done in the best interest of the customer.

Would You Give Your Staff Your Revenue For a Day?

Since you’ve been reading my posts for quite a while, you’ll most likely remember that one of the things that we talk about often is how well you treat your teams.

Treat your internal teams as well as you’d like them to treat your paying customers, if not even better.

Now, there are many examples of this premise from companies large and small.  This example is from a couple that owns three restaurant bars in Grand Rapids, Michigan.    I’ll link the article here, but to summarize….

The couple that owns Hop Cat, McFadden’s, and Stella’s want to give something back to their staff.  It’s been a busy time in each of these establishments with the recent Art Prize events that drew in record crowds.  Their teams pulled their weight and delivered good food and good experiences for everyone.

The owners don’t have any kids of their own, but said that they feel the staff that works with them are their kids, their family.  They’d like to show their appreciation  for their talents and efforts. “This is a way to show our family how much we love them.”

Today, Tuesday, October 23, they will take every penny of revenue in all three restaurants, put it in a pot, and divide it up equally among the entire staff.

Now, it’s not just the profits, but every penny taken in.  The owner realizes this may be a day that could cost him, but he sincerely believes it will pay off in the end.

Here’s the ultimate gift given back to the owners – – the cook in one of the restaurants is so touched by their generosity that she said it makes her want to work harder for them.

That right there is the reward for investing in your teams.  It’s pretty much that “Pay It Forward” mentality.

Consider this example and explore ways in which you may be able to do something similar in your business.  It doesn’t have to be as grand a gesture as this.  Ask your teams what their favorite snack food is and go out and get it for them.  What is there favorite bowling alley?  Take them there after work sometime and let them enjoy some time together with you not in “Work Mode.”  The possibilities are endless.

Have you done this with your teams in the past?  How well did it work?  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Customer Loyatly – Make the Experience Memorable

Customer satisfaction and loyalty depends really on one thing… how memorable you make the experience.  Businesses and staff that bring an extra nuance to the “business transaction” have a much higher likelihood of retaining customers than those who simply deliver the promised product.

Last week, I had the opportunity to go with my son on his 5th grade field trip to Chicago. The kids were excited because instead of riding on the regular school bus, we were making the trip on a chartered bus.

I’ve been on many of these field trips before and they were nice.  The drivers were friendly and got us to our destinations on time and safely. Everything you’d really expect on a bus trip.

Now, this particular bus trip stands out.  Yes, we got to our destinations on time and safely, same as the other trips.  But, there was something, or some ONE rather, that made this trip memorable.  Joe, the bus driver made our trip an experience, not just a ride.

When we boarded the bus at 6:00 am, he was very friendly and introduced himself to us.  He explained a few of the safety rules that we needed to know and got the formalities of the trip out of the way.  He then went on to say how happy he was to be able to drive us because he just loves the excitement that elementary school kids have when they are on their way to Chicago.

He then told us about a few things he had planned to make the trip fun.  He made a special CD for the trip with songs referencing Chicago and those that he knew kids love to hear (yes, the ever famous YMCA was in the mix as well).  Joe also made a point to have a few treats for the adults.  Mixed into the CD were 5 theme songs to older television shows.  Joe offered his special CD as a prize to the child who, with some help from an adult, could name all five theme songs.

When we made our one rest stop break there and back, Joe provided fruit, water, granola, and fruit snacks for anyone who wanted them.  He had a few riddles for the kids with some little treats for the kids. He even provided a few brain teasers and small prizes for those winners.

Because we arrived in Chicago a bit earlier than expected, he took us to a few of the tourist spots and even took our picture against the famous Chicago skyline and emailed it to the teacher so we may all have a copy.  As Chicago is one of his frequent destinations, he has picked up on a lot of Chicago trivia and pointed out many facts that we would not have knows otherwise.

At the end of the trip, Joe thanked all of the kids and adults for being on time for all of the pick ups and said that he truly enjoyed driving us that day.  He congratulated all of the kids for completing elementary school and wished the best of success for all of them in middle school.  He thanked the parents for all of our help during the trip and commented on our kids being so great.

Now, this may be all part of his standard “performance” for all trips he drives for, but that is the key – he knows he is performing.  This trip was far more memorable and fun than any other field trip any of us had taken before (as a mom of 3, I’ve been on plenty).  He made us feel welcome right away, he provided some entertainment through the music CD and the riddles and quizzes for the kids, he made sure we knew things about Chicago that he thought was interesting and thought we would enjoy knowing.

He could have simply picked us up at the school and dropped us off at our destination, but he went the extra mile to make it special.  Now, how does that happen?  Can anyone replicate this experience?  Yes, and no.  You must start with the right team by hiring personalities that have this service mentality.

You can be sure that anytime our elementary school has a field trip requiring a charter bus, we will be contacting that same bus company and requesting Joe simply because he made the experience memorable.  You don’t have to have the title of customer service representative to earn customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Just ask Joe, the bus driver.  Now, I’m off to listen to my CD.

Customer Service Provides Value

Recognize the Big Picture….
I was recently paying a bill to a medical group with whom my family seeks medical care.  The Billing Specialist commented that she was feeling a little burned out with her job and wished she could make a difference for people.

She Didn’t Recognize Her Value

I told her that she made a very big difference to me and my family.  The current medical insurance requirements and changes have our minds literally swimming.  She has provided us the expertise with coding and requirements to ensure that our claims are billed accurately to receive the appropriate and highest reimbursement.  I reminded her that she educates me every time we speak about how the claims have been billed according to what the physician codes and how the insurance company can pay according to our policies.  When there is a mistake made in the system, she contacts the appropriate people to fix it and have any corrections made.

Above all else, she explains things to us in layman’s terms and reassures me that everyone in their department is working to be sure that our claims are handled appropriately.  This gives me peace of mind.
People Do Business With Those They Know, Like, and Trust
Because Marilyn has proven to be a valuable resource to me in regards to our medical billing, anytime that an issue arises, I simply call her.  I have recommended several people to this medical group simply because of the way she handles our accounts and lets me know that she has me covered.  Obviously, the medical care is excellent, but it is the personal touch that Marilyn gives that lets me know she values the relationship our family has with that group.
This is the type of reassurance that customers need, no matter what the field of business. Customers want to know that you are there to help them solve their problems and are watching out for them.

A Valuable Resource to Keep Improving Everyday

To help you in your continued efforts of raising the bar in service, I’m including this link for your benefit. Five Steps to More Loyal Customers will change the way you interact with your customers the very same day you use it!  When used as a tool for team development, the results are inspiring.  You’ll get everyone talking and involved on how to make the customer experience so much better.

Five Steps to More Loyal Customers will put you in the category of Walking the Talk when it comes to delivering excellent customer service!

How to Make Your Customers WANT to Give You Money

I’m thrilled to present a guest blog post from one of my favorite sites www.FlyingPigCommunications.com and speaks directly to the experience we all desire to create for our customers.

by Laura Petrolino

In these tough economic times, it may seem like a false hope to create an environment where your customers not only freely pay you for your product or service, but do so eagerly and gratefully. Ah Contre’ dear business owning friends….it perhaps is easiest in a tough economy to produce this type of sentiment in a customer. Since money and resources are scarce, a customer wants to feel confident and justified in what they spend their hard-earned dollars on, all you have to do is give them a convincing reason why spending their money with you is worthwhile (and then, of course, follow through).

I had a great experience last night that served as a perfect example of this. While I was in the shower, my wonderful (yet mischievous dog) decided it would be a good idea to devour an entire bottle of a new glucosamine supplement I had bought earlier in the day. I discovered his ‘joint relief’ feast too late to simply provoke him to throw up, so I was faced with the need to call up animal poison control (run by the ASPCA)  to see what I should do and if he was in major danger. As I was researching where to call, I found myself becoming very angry at the fact that I would be forced to pay $65 for a call. “What a rip-off!”, I thought to myself, “$65 for them to tell me that he would probably be fine but just have a bunch of diarrhea”.

Since my dog is my child, although the $65 angered me, I didn’t see any choice in the matter, so I begrudgingly called up. I was greeted with a HUMAN voice…not an automated machine, who was extremely friendly and carefully went through the situation with me, did a google search to find the exact supplement he ate, gave me a case number and then passed me on to a Vet.

The Vet was also extremely pleasant, took quality time to double and triple check things, told me what a normal reaction would be, and what an abnormal reaction would be. She then set up a follow up call and told me to call back (for free) at any time if things didn’t seem right or I had any questions. Before she took my money, she took the time to see if I was registered with a specific microchipping organization, which if I had been, would have made the consultation free.

I hung up the phone in a completely different state of mind than I called with. I felt like I truly received a quality service and would both call again for any reason and recommend them to others. I was actually happy to give them my money! What created this change of opinion? I can narrow it down to a few things, that can be actively applied to any business or service:

-They were nice: seems simple huh? Guess what…it is! Too often though, businesses act like the customer should be serving them vs. the other way around. Being nice goes along way!

-They provided a complete service: Consultation, follow up and emergency call back (if needed) ALL INCLUDED. They didn’t try to nickel and dime me, but instead provided more than I expected. Nothing bad ever comes from OVER DELIVERY

-They trusted me as a customer: Although they mentioned at the beginning the fee to make sure I was aware of it, they didn’t charge me until the end. They trusted that if they followed through on their service, I would follow through as a customer. I could have easily just hung up, but they provided such a good service it was well worth paying for. Communicating trust to your customers is an attribute of good businesses that is often overlooked and undervalued. Trust is important to a customer and it is a two way street. How can you expect your customer to trust you, if you don’t trust them in return?

-They established credibility: This goes along with feeling like I’m receiving value for my money.

What do you do to make your customers feel good about paying for your product or service?

Improve Customer Service by Holding Staff Accountable

Dear Manager,

Managing the customer experience and my ability to improve the customer service I deliver will now be my main focus in the upcoming year.  My supervisor just gave me my annual performance evaluation and I noticed that 50% of the review focused on customer service and a customer centric culture.

At most companies, the statement “Focus on the Customer” is usually just a lot of talk.  Sure, it’s addressed once in a while, but rarely have I seen a performance appraisal that stresses customer focus so heavily.  What you are really telling me is how well I treat our customers is just as important as my daily job responsibilities.  Since my compensation is directly tied in to my performance evaluation, you can bet that I’m going to pay more attention to that.

When we went over the customer centric culture last month, we did spend a lot of time discussing how each of our teams could improve the customer relationship.  During my review, my supervisor started asking me how I had implemented some of those ideas.  I was embarrassed to say that I hadn’t actually done any of it, just thought about it from time to time.  Now, I’ll really have to make sure I follow through.

I have to admit, this change is going to be a bit of a challenge.  Before, you were pretty hands off.  Now that you are more focused on the customer service and satisfaction levels, it’s going to take some getting used to.  Don’t get me wrong, I can rise to the challenge.  It might not happen overnight, but with you making me accountable for the service levels you expect, if my job is important to me, I’ll do it.

Sincerely yours,

Your staff

"/*" "/*"