Want to Improve Your Customer Experience? Say It Like You Mean It!

I made a call to an office today and was greeted with the most droll sounding phone receptionist – “XYZ’s Office.  This’s Elaine. Mayep you?”  No, those were not typos, that was exactly how she sounded.  Besides the fact that I couldn’t really understand her words, she had the enthusiasm of someone who had just been told that she needed a root canal.  Which, actually, is funny because it was the dentist’s office that I was calling.

My point is this – When you have staff in a public position that interacts and communicates with customers, be certain that you have told them exactly how they should be interacting.  They need to be enthusiastic.  They need to sound professional.  They need to sound like they mean it when they ask if they can help.  It’s disrespectful to ask the question if you don’t mean it and are only asking because it is your job.  Customers know it’s your responsibility to help, but they are impressed when you sound like you actually want to help them.

As customers, we are so used to the poor level of service being delivered these days that we are impressed when someone actually does their job.  We are even further impressed when someone does their job well.  And, we are over the moon when they do their job well and come across as if they enjoyed it and appreciate the fact that we paid them to do their job.

The indifference that is perceived by customers is the determining factor as to if your customers will leave you.  If your public positions aren’t sounding professional and genuine with your customers, you need to replace them.  You need to clearly tell them what is expected of them, effectively teach them how to deliver your message, and then hold them accountable for it.  Some people have a natural gift for sounding professional and cheerful on the phone.  Those are the ones you want to have as your main phone operators.  You need these people to deliver your customer service expectations.

Make sure that your sales staff and receptionists are attentive and genuine from the moment that your customers walk through your doors.  They need to genuinely sound like they want to help, not just saying it because they are expected to.  If your staff doesn’t sound like they mean it, your customers will find one of your competitors who does.

3 Replies to “Want to Improve Your Customer Experience? Say It Like You Mean It!”

  1. Hi Kristina,

    Great post! I don’t know why it still amazes me that companies allow such behavior from team members on the front lines. There are thousands of customers all over the world experiencing the same thing you did today every minute. And there are thousands of unemployed folks that would give anything to answer that phone with a smile, enthusiast hello and willingness to help.

    There is so much competition out there today that businesses need to realize that customers really don’t put up with poor service, they just leave and never come back. Think about all those missed opportunities to make a difference. Customers don’t give feedback because quite frankly they don’t think it will matter. And if the organization doesn’t care about the service, why should I, your customer, care to give you my business or feedback.

    Service is a competitive advantage that no business can duplicate exactly. That’s because it is the unique people and personalities that create that experience.

    In order to be successful, business leaders must start with hiring the right people for the right position. Then provide training on the company values, mission and service delivery expectations. They then have to coach them and provide valuable feedback. And as you indicated, the next step is to hold them accountable.

    I guess that all just seems like too much work for organizations to invest in. What they don’t realize is they are driving people away and they can’t afford not to invest in customer service!

    Cheers,
    Kelly

  2. While reading this great little article today, it reminded so much of my dentist office. They, in fact, exemplify and practice all the positive aspects mentioned above. They seem truly interested in each and every patient who enters their office as well as their exam rooms. Must be exhausting, but they don’t miss an opportunity to satisfy. I have had many conversations with the doctor in charge, a friend on mine and a reader of the Experience Economy book, about customer perceptions and staging. He understands. Thanks, Kristina, for reminding me that they are a shinning example of how to do it right.

    Frank M. says:
    1. Thanks for the comment, Frank. I’m so glad to have reminded you of an experience where they set the stage and make the effort.

      I’m glad you mentioned “The Experience Economy.” I’ve just written a summary of that book for the membership area of this site to be launched late next month. The authors do a fantastic job of equating creating a “Performance” experience for our customers. From the moment they enter our world, we are “on stage.”

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