consistent

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

Predictability Excites these Customers – 3/3/20

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Sherrie had used that airport one too many times.  Sure it was convenient to her home, only 20 minutes away, but it seemed like every time she scheduled a flight, there was a delay.  And since it was not a “hub” airport, if she had to fly any significant distance, she’d have to make a connection, and then more delays would occur.  Delay after delay, and re-route after re-route.  There was too much uncertainty about her arrival time or her ability to make connections.

The next time she had to fly, Sherrie decided to go to the larger airport that was located over one hour away.  Sure the fare was no better, but she had a direct flight to her destination.  She traveled the extra distance to the larger airport, and she got on her non-stop flight.  It took off late but made up time in the air, and it landed early.  On her return, she was late getting back because of air traffic, but there were no worries about making a connection.  There were no worries about getting re-routed to a different city for the second leg of a trip, since this trip was non-stop.  There was none of that uncertainty.

Some customers aren’t as concerned with product price if they know what’s going to happen.  Some people’s goal is to avoid hassle.  They’re more concerned with process predictability than product price.

People concerned with process predictability, those concerned with avoiding hassles – those are the people that customer service-oriented companies love.  Because those customers put a premium on the aspects of their experience not driven purely by the product.  The service processes, consistency, and quality are differentiating factors.

Identify the types of services you provide that are very process-driven or time intensive.  Identify the customers whose satisfaction and repeat business are driven by these key factors of customer service.

Then help your company become more predictable for your customer.

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A Hair-Cut Above…and Below – 2/11/20

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After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between my barber’s preferred banter with his co-workers.  The cuts were becoming less consistent, and his price kept inching up; the last price increase was just for his customers – they weren’t changing the posted pricing or the pricing of the other hair stylists, so that was equally confusing and troubling.

So it’s the 21st Century, right?  Therefore, I decided to try one of the more modern shops where you sign-in online.  Four times I went to the new shop, I had 4 different stylists with 4 different approaches to how to cut the hair.  The experience (other than signing in the same way, going to the same facility, and paying the same way) was different each time.  Each stylist had their own style of engagement (or lack of engagement), and the inconsistency in quality and connection was too much.  I decided to leave.

Enter Shop #3.  On my first visit, they asked me questions about my style preferences and about me in general; they took some notes, described the process of working with them, and did what they said they’d do.  The stylist had a great attitude, and overall it was a good experience.

I went back a second time; the notes from the first cut were there – the stylist confirmed the information, and I had an equally good experience and a very similar approach to the cut.

There are several little nuggets to mine from this story.  Here are just a few…

Don’t drop the quality and hike the price.  Inconsistency leads to customer loss.  The process can be the same, but the experience can be totally different.  Make the customer feel more important than your co-worker.  Don’t make your customer drive the conversation.  If the customer tells you something, don’t make them repeat it next time – just confirm whether the circumstances are the same.

Make sure your customer experience is consistently a cut-above!

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Become a Best Practice – 11/26/19

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When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and how they help to direct.  We notice when expectations are set, and how expectations are met.

The reason we’re looking at all these different factors is that different customers evaluate their service experience in different ways.  Consider the Millennial view v. the Boomer view.  This could be a first-time customer evaluation v. a long-term client perspective.  This could be the perspective of somebody who’s never utilized anyone in your industry v. those who have experienced your particular line of business in other parts of the country.

And although there are varied customers with varied evaluation points about their experiences, oftentimes Best Practices have certain key characteristics.  Evaluate yourself, your team, or your organization against some of these key qualities of Best Practice Customer Experiences:

  • The experience is consistently good, regardless of time-of-day, day-of-week, who the employee is, or whether it’s a call, meeting, e-mail, web visit, or online chat.
  • Staff are proactive, and there is an air of positivity and pleasantness from the staff.
  • Staff are patient, and processes are quick; when they’re not quick, there are frequent updates provided to customers.
  • There’s more of a focus on what can be done than what cannot be done.
  • Customers don’t need to know the process or know the business or know the employees to have a really good experience.
  • Everything from the web to the facility to the paperwork is intuitive to customers.
  • There is personalization and appreciation for the customer.

 
If you want to be the best you can be, then look at these characteristics of Best Practice experiences.

Make them a part of your everyday and every interaction.

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