Customer service is a buzz phrase we’ve heard for years. What does it really mean? In my trainings, I talk about it meaning, “Being of Service to the Customer.” Being of service creates an experience for the customer! Since the “experience” is really what we sell, we need to target a successful, memorable, even legendary outcome.
The customer experience begins the minute they look at your Web page, talk to a friend, or pick up the phone to call you.
Here are 10 simple steps that can assist you in creating a legendary total customer experience:
- Understand your customer. Who are you targeting, how do you reach them? Does your product interest them? Times change and interests change, are you changing with them? Does your Website present an accurate picture of who you are today—or is it like one of those dating Websites, full of photos of what you looked like 10 years ago?
- Know that first impressions are real and lasting. This is a fact that will never change. What does your first impression say about you and your company? Although all customers are important, winning that new customer is vital. If someone calls your business, what will his or her first impression be?
- Do what you say you are going to do. This is a good practice in all things and certainly in customer service. When you do what you said you would do, it creates trust in the minds of your customers. Trust is the cornerstone of a lasting relationship with your customer, and customer loyalty is always the goal.
- Even better, under promise and OVER deliver. When it comes to customer service, you always want to appear to be the hero. Giving a customer more than what you promise gives you that edge in the customer’s eyes.
- Listen to your customer. For some reason, this seems to be the hardest skill to master in any service industry. Listening and understanding your customer’s wants and needs will enable you to customize your product to deliver on the customer’s expectations. Don’t assume you know because you have been working in this industry for years—remember that times change, as do customer needs. Ask and listen.
- Follow up with your customer. This one area can make a big difference in customer satisfaction. Following up with your customer greatly improves your chances of a return customer. This is effective because it gives you an opportunity to check in with your customer for their satisfaction and also gives you a chance to ask if they need further assistance.
- Know that you are subjectively communicating with your customer every moment of every day. Everything you present to the customer is sending a message to them. From your Website, the signage hanging on your entry doors, and the condition of your parking lot to the body language of your employees, it all matters.
- Let your customer know you truly appreciate their business. Never underestimate the power of thanking your customer for their business. They do have other choices and easily could choose your competitor. Be gracious when showing your appreciation.
- The little things matter. It has always surprised me how simple it is in most cases to make a difference in the customer experience. Most of the time, it is the small things that matter, often requiring little to no effort on your part.
- If something happens, make it right. Let’s face it, things happen. Often when customers complain, the reason for their dissatisfaction is more about how it was handled versus what happened to cause the complaint. Most of making it right is handling it right.
We all sell experiences. What is your customer experiencing today? Is it worthy of great praise or lacking luster? Take some time to observe your customers: What are they looking at first? What are they hearing? How does the experience seem to be making them feel?
Can you walk through your business as if you were visiting for the first time? It’s hard to do, to notice the things that you have seen every day with a fresh perspective. The more you know your customers and how each of their interactions with you is experienced, the better you can enhance their total experience to make it legendary.
Merry Gagg is a Training account manager at Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, OH-based company offering sales and customer service training, marketing, and mystery shopping services for a variety of service-based industries. For more information, call 800.398.0518 or visit www.signatureworldwide.com. You also can connect with Signature on Twitter @SignatureWorld and on Facebook.