Transforming the Customer Experience

Category : Customer Experience Management

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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!

The Best Way to Prepare Your Teams to Improve the Customer Service and Experience

Business leaders are really starting to jump on board the Customer Experience Bandwagon. And for good reason.  The Customer Experience is no longer just a great idea, it’s now becoming a strategic initiative for more and more companies across the board.

I am often asked how to go about proposing the new focus on the customer experience to the staff and employees within the organization. Managers and owners are often fearful of resistance or lack of buy in. This is to be expected. Most people resist the process of change, regardless of the promised outcome.

The Wrong Way to Prepare Your Teams:  

Start by telling them that customers have been complaining about shoddy service for quite some time. Show them how many customers your team has cost them due to the bad customer service they’ve received.

Tell them that they should feel lucky that they even have jobs in the first place and that they need to step up and do their part and be nice to customers. When they ask what you mean by “be nice to customers” means, tell them just to smile and be friendly.

Tell them that they are going to have to sit through boring trainings where someone is going to tell them what to do. They’d better pay attention to the trainer and do what they say or they are going to be looking for another job soon.

You may laugh at the above examples, but sadly, they are far more common than you’d like to believe.

The Right Way to Prepare Your Teams:

Explain to your teams that…

  • Most companies fail when they start to forget the customer is there SOLE reason for existence.
  • They forget that the customer is the single most important person in their company and take them for granted.
  • The smart and successful companies are now understanding the importance of the experience in the customer’s minds.
  • Customers today are looking to do business with companies that make it simple, pleasant, and memorable.
  • Customers are perfectly willing to spend up to 24% more with companies that deliver a better customer experience than the competitor down the road offering the EXACT same product or service.
  • Our company understands and values the customer and the fact that they have kept us in business since _____.
  • The company wants to invest in the teams to help develop the very best customer experience. We want to set ourselves apart by the service experience we deliver. We know that our customers have a choice of where to buy our product or service and we want them to select us simply because of the fact that we will work with them like no one else will.

Let them know what is coming up for them…

Over the next few months, we are going to be working together through some workshops and trainings to develop our skills in customer relationships.

  • We’ll learn what is important to our customers, what they want, what they expect, and what makes them buy.
  • We’ll discover how to manage their expectations and teach them how to get the most out of working with us.
  • We’ll fine tune our communications strategies to be sure they understand what we are intending to convey both verbally and written.
  • We’ll gain tools to help us work with customers when they are unhappy and turn the situation into one that they are impressed with the way we handled ourselves.
  • We’ll learn a little bit of customer psychology and get into the minds of our customers to help strengthen our relationships with them that we’ve worked so hard to build.
  • We’ll review the basics, become fabulous at the fundamentals, then build on those to become extraordinary.
  • We are so proud of the time and energy you’ve put into this business unit so far and we know that this will also help you feel so much more empowered in your day to day lives here.

Explain what you expect from them…

What is required of you?

  • An open mind.
  • The willingness to learn.
  • The ability to look at things from different perspectives.
  • The dedication to implement what you’ve learned.
  • The awareness that striving to improve does not mean you’ve been doing anything wrong, but that improving is always looking to make it even better.
  • The desire to do everything you can to serve our customers and our company to the very best of your abilities.
  • The courage to challenge the status quo.

Following these guidelines will dramatically improve the way that your team participates and works with you in your efforts to develop and improve your service and your culture.

Please click here for the podcast that further explains the above steps to gain more buy in from your teams.

You can listen to more episodes of the Transforming the Customer Experience Podcast series by clicking here.

Please share your thoughts below!

Transforming the Customer Experience Podcast

 

Costco Provides a Fabulous Customer Experience Example to Follow

It was an ordinary work day filled with phone conferences and content creation. Hours spent on the phone and on my computer all focused on teaching companies how to make more money by building better relationships with their customers.

Imagine my surprise, no delight, when I opened up an ordinary envelope from Costco in the mail. I could feel that there is a card in the envelope so I figured there was a new membership card enclosed.

Instead, there was a letter with a cash card.

Apparently, a shirt that I purchased for my husband for father’s day was in fact not 100% silk as it had been labeled. Costco took the initiative to notify everyone who had purchased this specific shirt and give a $20 cash card for each shirt purchased. They ALSO provided the option to return the shirt as well if we were not satisfied with it. They made sure to include a statement to specify that we were free to keep the cash card even if we decided to return the shirt.

They apologized and expressed appreciation for our continued loyalty.

The first words out of my mouth were “I will continue to do business with Costco FOREVER.” This was amazing.

In a world where companies are quick to hide behind policies, or hide the issue completely, Costco decided to bring it to MY attention and make it BETTER THAN RIGHT before I even knew there was an issue to be concerned about.

This is an example that we should all try to live up to both professionally and personally. It’s a simple premise really. Just be forthcoming and honest with your customers and they’ll appreciate it. Do it well, and they’ll be loyal to you.

Now, I fully understand that there is likely a backstory that I’m sure involved a lot of rigmarole (yes, that’s how you spell it, I looked it up) and hard decisions. This is an especially notable response to the issue since I don’t remember this shirt costing a full $ 20. But the company made the decision to stand behind their products, found that this one didn’t measure up to what had been advertised, and took more than full responsibility for it. As a consumer, I really do appreciate that.

As a Customer Experience Expert, I’m so delighted to see large companies setting the example. It truly comes down to the premise I try to live by.

Do the right thing. Always.

Have you experienced anything similar? OR – Have you found that companies HIDE issues and create distrust? Sound off below…

Transforming the Customer Experience Podcast is HERE!!!

After a lot of preparation, the Transforming the Customer Experience podcast has come to fruition!

I’ve taken the ideas,  the most commonly asked questions, and most commented on themes of customer service skills, developing a customer centric culture, and leadership impact to produce a podcast that is perfect for your daily commute. Each episode addresses relevant issues and content that you can use today in your organization, regardless of size or industry.

I’d be honored and grateful if you would subscribe to it on iTunes and leave a favorable rating and review.  Here’s the link…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/transforming-customer-experience/id1031721961

I’d also love to hear your ideas, questions, and suggestions for future podcast episodes. It’s a gift to me when you let me know exactly what you’d like to hear about to be sure that each episode is relevant and impactful to you.

Please leave your comments and ideas below!

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.

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…

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.

Customer Service Surveys – Have Them Take a STAND!

I often work with clients to create customer surveys to get valuable feedback from customers about the way they do business, ways to improve, what is working, what isn’t, etc.  One of the most frequent discussions we have is around my guidance to avoid having a neutral response available for the respondent.  I like to provide the following options for quantitative options…

  • Strongly Disagree
  • Disagree
  • Agree
  • Strongly Agree

This forces folks to decide how they feel one way or the other.  Think about it – if you ask someone about a movie or restaurant and they respond with “Eh, it was alright.” Do you really have any insight as to how they enjoyed it or if they would encourage you to see that movie or go to that restaurant?  No, it’s vague.  It gives them the comfort of being vague and neutral… which really gives you no insight to their true feelings at all.

When asking for feedback, you have to be courageous enough to ask for the good, the bad, and – yes – the ugly.  If you are looking to only get glowing responses to lull yourself into a false sense of tranquility, then you really are sticking your head in the sand and eventually you’ll be outpaced by your competitor that truly wants relevant feedback on how they can keep their customers coming back for more.

You’ll be MUCH better off when you ask folks to tell you directly, no sugar coating it.  You need to know what your customers like and what they don’t like.   You need to know what will drive them away to your competition and what will bring them back to you.  You need to find out what you are doing well and what is simply not working.

Now, here is what separates the men from the boys / women from the girls – –  you MUST have a comment section included somewhere for folks to give comments in free form… meaning they can explain any of their reasoning for responding as they did for any of the questions, or to add any additional thoughts they feel you should know.  This is actually the secret sauce… you are getting the customer to articulate EXACTLY, in their own words, their thoughts on the way you do business.

Using customer surveys with both quantitative AND qualitative (free form) responses gives you a complete picture as to the true state of the customer experience with direct customer input.  Who better to tell you how your business is running than the people that are currently working with you?  You’ve already marketed to them.  They’ve already put their trust in you.  Now is your chance to continue to earn it and reap the benefits by making improvements suggested by those that are already keeping you in business.

Coming soon…  The importance of a WELL WORDED survey – it can make or break your results.

Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments below…

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