customer experience

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

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

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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