customer experience

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture - 2/5/19


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

Be the Culture – 10/16/18

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As a customer service consultant, I am often in situations with clients where we’re trying to figure out how to deliver a better experience to the customer. It might be an effort undertaken to retain more clients and grow the top line. It may be an effort to streamline operations to serve the customer more efficiently or consistently. It may be an effort to improve quality.

But underpinning any kind of a process redesign or strategy initiative has to be an understanding that the employees are what make those redesigns or initiatives work. The employees are the ones who are implementing those designs. Employees are the ones who are delivering the service or resolving the issue.

So, how the organization sets expectations with staff, trains staff, rewards and holds staff accountable, and models behaviors to staff – in the end – drives staff performance. While many staff are self-motivated, in any organization, employees who are there for any length of time are going to be impacted by that organization’s culture.

And when I say the organization, I’m not talking purely about leadership. How employees treat each other, how they engage with one another, how they do or do not work as a team, how they show appreciation, how responsive and respectful they are to each other has a huge impact on the attitudes and actions of those co-workers.

To deliver a great customer experience, realize that that delivery is happening through you and your co-workers. Make sure you’re creating the kind of culture for those you work with that you hope the organization is creating for everyone.

Be the culture that you desire for your organization.

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Play Ball with Your Customers – 9/4/18

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We typically conduct 35-40 surveys a year for the sports industry. And while you may work in a different industry, there are lessons to be learned by the types of research that sports organizations seek and why they seek that information.

First, we design and deliver many pre-event surveys. This is especially important when you’re trying to understand who is going to be attending the event, and which of those are first-time customers. Think about your own business. How much would you benefit from knowing your customers’ expectations before they ever walked in the door? How much more tailored could your information be if you knew what was of greatest interest to them? How much more effective could you be in creating a comfortable experience if you understood what their awareness level was of your operations, facilities, products, and services? How much easier would it be to get a return visit if you understood the reason they chose your organization or your event in the first place? Think about learning from your customer before they ever walk in the door.

Second, we do a lot of surveys based on the experience itself. These are almost immediate surveys that enable us to understand exactly how the different steps in the customer journey were perceived by the customer. You can immediately learn the customer’s likes and dislikes. You can strategically think about what aspects of the customer journey need to be improved and why. You get raw, real information about those aspects of the experience that can make or break the customer’s relationship with you.

Third, we provide post-event research with clients, and this not only includes some input we’re seeking on the experience itself, but it also includes gauging their interests, their priorities, their retention drivers, their willingness to return, and their interest in additional products and services. Too many organizations view existing customers the same way they view prospects. But if you view your customer as a unique individual that you need to develop a relationship with, then you realize that you need to know a lot about them – why they would stay with you or go to a competitor. Identify what you need to know about your customer to create a great relationship with your customer.

A fourth common research approach we use is Exit Interviews. This is when we go to clients that have not renewed or have cancelled their tickets or ended their relationship with the organization. The primary purposes of this research are twofold: First, we are trying to understand why they left so that we can look at fans of a similar profile and develop strategies to better retain those who we still do have. Second, we are looking for opportunities to win back these fans by truly understanding their retention drivers and their willingness to give us a second chance.

Although these are only 4 different research vehicles within the sports industry, they’ll give you a feel for the core approach we use with many of our clients. Think about your individual customers and the impact they have on your company as a whole. Devise a research strategy that will help you learn from them throughout their customer journey and even after they’ve left so that you can best keep and grow with your customers.

Learn how to play ball with your customers.

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It’s Their First Time – 7/17/18

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You’ve provided this service to hundreds of customers. You’ve dealt with this issue 50 times. You sold this product or held this meeting or done this paperwork or worked through this process so many times you can do it in your sleep. For the customer, however, it’s their first time.

It could literally be their first time buying this product or asking this question or having this issue. Maybe they’ve run into it once or twice before in their lives; regardless, it’s a good mindset for all of us service providers to have that we need to treat the situation like it’s their first time. If this was a brand new customer walking in the door, how would you want to handle this situation differently?

  • You may want to be more patient, because they may have lots of questions.
  • You may need to introduce yourself and tell a little bit about the company, because this may be their first exposure to you or your organization.
  • You may want to start from the beginning about how things work, not making assumptions about what they may already know.
  • You may want to welcome them and be appreciative for their making the decision to invest their time and money in your organization, so they feel like their business is valued.
  • You may be more likely to want to give them handouts or show them specific pages on a website, because they are probably receiving so much information they can’t remember everything only given to them verbally.
  • You may want to confirm they understand what you’re saying, what expectations you’re setting, what it is that you are to do versus they are to do.
  • You might explain what’s going to happen next in the process, because they’ve never experienced your process before today.

 

When you view your encounters through the lens of a new customer – one who is there for the first time – many ideas can pop to mind about how you might handle that situation differently to make sure they are as comfortable and confident as possible with you and your organization.

Do this exercise on your own or include co-workers. Ask “What would we do differently if we knew this was the customer’s first time?” Then start to build your standards for engaging customers, the information you provide and how you provide it, and the time you allocate to customer engagement around what would create the best experience possible for everyone.

View your customer encounters like it’s their first time.

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