Excellent Customer Service is PROACTIVELY Connecting the Dots
One of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction and to improve the customer service skills your staff delivers is to encourage your staff to proactively “Connect the Dots” for your customers.
Customers are looking to service and product providers not only to help make the purchase, but to help them accomplish their goals as quickly as possible. This may be considered managing their expectations better, asking better questions during the initial sales or consultation, or walking them through the process, but ultimately it is connecting the dots of the entire process to make life easier for your customer.
Case in point, a client of mine recently repainted his daughter’s room. He decided to do the job himself and headed off to the home improvement big box store. On his first trip, the employee helped him purchase a gallon of the right color paint, handed him some painter’s tape since he said there would be a design his daughter wanted on the wall, and suggested a paint roller. He headed home and began painting. He became a bit frustrated when he had to use three strips of tape to get the desired width of color blocking and when the paint did not cover as much area as he’d hoped it would.
He headed back to the store and another employee helped him find what he needed. But this experience was different. This employee asked him questions about the project and then proceeded to give him the same brand of painter’s tape that was wider to reduce the amount of tape needed, gave him a larger quantity of paint, told him how to ensure the best coverage with a better roller, and gave him a few paint stirrers since my client mentioned that he’d had to use his wife’s wooden spoon to stir the paint. He also talked about the pros and cons of using an edger versus a paint brush to handle the corners and edges.
The point here is that the first employee helped my client, but only extended the bare minimum effort necessary. He was able to start the job, but with large amounts of frustration. The second employee asked a few more questions, then helped him assemble everything he needed to complete the job easily with no additional trips to the store. When my client told me about the tape, he said “It never occurred to me that there were two different widths of painter’s tape. I just wish the first person had offered me the choice and I would have picked the second one. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know.”
Being proactive means letting the customer know everything you feel they need to based on their reason for consulting you. It means letting them know who will be contacting them next to move the process along and what they need to do in the meantime to prepare. It means not making your customer feel like they are at fault for not knowing things that are your job to educate them on.
Customer loyalty and satisfaction increase when customer service includes thinking one step ahead for your customers and helping them connect the dots of the entire process.