customer experience

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

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

Train Customers to LOVE Your Experience – 11/8/16

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What are the components of your customer’s experience?

Let’s say your business sells boots.

How do they find out about your business and how to contact you? How do they know what boots you offer and what needs they address? How do they get a boot to test out or purchase? How do they determine if their preferred size and color are in stock? How much does the boot cost? How do they get it, and who will deliver it? How do they find out the delivery status?

These are the questions to answer, but we’re not designing the customer journey as much as we’re using these questions to ask you one more question.

How do we get customers educated enough on how to do business with you so that they absolutely LOVE your experience?

When businesses view the experience through the customer’s eyes, they can identify potential customer loss points due to frustration with a process, customer lack of knowledge, or customer lack of awareness. When you identify those potential loss points, then put yourself in the position of a teacher or a professor – one who can educate and train others:

  • Create simple infographics or diagrams that explain a process to customers.
  • Ensure that your process documents and your people clearly state what will happen next so the customer’s knowledgeable about what to expect and when.
  • Use webinars, training, and other education-based vehicles to train customers on how things work. Incorporate signage directing customers to next locations and next steps.
  • Give customers documents at the end of one step that clearly articulate what they need to do next or what will happen next and when.

Never assume that your customers are knowledgeable about your people, processes, and products. Make sure they’re knowledgeable enough to be comfortable and confident in doing business with you.

Train Customers to LOVE Your Experience.

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The Experience is the Thing – 9/6/16

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My wife and I go to the same grocery store, but they are totally different experiences. Well technically, we shop at the same grocery store chain but at different locations. Just for the sake of conversation, we’ll call the chain “Food Market” – not original, but appropriate.

Both Food Market locations are a little over one mile from our home, but mine is the flagship store – the Taj Majal of supermarkets. Hers is very small – one of the smallest that the chain owns.

I love my Food Market. There’s plenty of parking, three different size grocery carts, and it’s got everything you need. Best of all are 3 aspects of the experience: 1) The aisles are large – plenty of room to roam or to stop and stare at the vast offerings of pretzels and chips. 2) I know where everything is and in what order to navigate the store to efficiently get what I need. 3) They have 12 (yes 12!) self-checkout kiosks.

My wife loves her Food Market. Have you ever watched the TV show Cheers? A daily bar patron – Norm – walks in, and every customer and employee yells “Norm!!” That’s the way it is for my wife. She has become friends with everyone, enjoys socializing with the check-out clerks, makes special requests, and appreciates the relationships with the staff. She’s in no rush to leave – this is her market.

These Food Market stores are part of the same chain and have essentially the same products, but my wife and I each prefer a different one because each has the experience we desire – and the experiences are VERY different.

Too many business owners and managers think all customers care about is the product and the price. But to many consumers, the experience is the thing.

Find out the desired customer experience (or experiences), and map out a way to delight the customer.

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How Good Are You When Things Go Bad? – 8/9/16

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The more issues that your organization has to address, the more customer service matters. With most of the survey research that CSS performs for clients, we conduct additional correlation analyses to identify which aspects of the customer experience or relationship with the business tend to have the greatest impact on loyalty, willingness to recommend, or overall customer satisfaction.

With some of our clients – those that by the nature of their business have lots of difficult customer situations – there are interesting attributes that drive overall satisfaction. For one event-based client, whether the customer had traffic issues AFTER the event had a strong impact on overall customer satisfaction. In other words, if that last impression was bad, the overall event satisfaction went down; if the exiting process was quick/easy, the overall satisfaction was much higher.

Similarly, our surveys for a local government code enforcement agency continually note that when issues are resolved quickly/fairly and staff listen well to customers, overall satisfaction is much higher. When issue handling is poor, overall satisfaction is poor.

Oftentimes we think customer satisfaction is driven by the “WOW” or the exceptional experience, but with many industries overall customer satisfaction is determined by what transpires when things go bad.

To make sure you’re “good” when things go bad, here are quick summaries of comments from customers about what they want in an issue resolution experience:

  • Listen to and understand my perspective
  • Don’t rush me
  • Apologize
  • Own the resolution – even if you didn’t cause the problem
  • Provide direction – Where do I need to go? What do I need to do?
  • Respond quickly to my inquiries
  • Keep me up-to-date
  • Include me in decision-making, preferably with options
  • Resolve issues fairly.

Simple tips, but they are tips direct from customers that directly impact their overall satisfaction. Sometimes it is easy to deliver good customer service when things go well.

Make sure you’re good when things go bad.

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