“Great customer service doesn’t mean the customer is right; it says the customer is always honoured (Chris Lo Curto)
Excellent customer experience leaves your customers feeling good, appreciated and they often want to come back for more. It helps entrench loyalty. I have experienced some fantastic customer service. This Sunday we went out for a family lunch, then we decided to take my daughter to a play area attached to the restaurant. The service and experience we received were fantastic. My mother and I are planning the next trip there not because of the food but the tremendous way the waiters made us feel. And the product (i.e. food and drinks) were also top quality.
On the flip side last week I ordered a gift from a company that was meant to be delivered to someone who had helped me out when I found myself in a bit of a sticky situation. I phoned the call centre and ordered same day delivery. Unfortunately, the package was not delivered the same day as agreed. I happened to be there that day when the package got delivered. To my utter horror and disappointment, the delivery man was so rude to the customer, and I regretted using that company.
To make matters worse, I felt cheated as I had paid so much money. So after that, I have decided not ever to use that company again. They have given me a voucher for my next purchase, but I am feeling quite sceptical.
These are the reasons why you need a great customer experience and service. The more your customers are satisfied, the more they come back and the more they talk about your business. Excellent customer service and expertise make more money for your business. Excellent customer experience also is a great differentiator between you and your competitors. Your competitor and yourself may offer the same products or services, and perhaps the same prices with no real perceived differentiation between the two of you. But the one thing (outside of excellent quality and innovation or technology) that you can quickly work on is the customer experience. You will start seeing the difference.
So what do you need to ensure excellent customer experience and service? Your goals should always be to want to delight and surprise the customer and to leave them with a smile. Here are some ways to start with the excellent service.
- Communicate to the customer all the time, e.g. for me, and I would have appreciated an SMS or a call from the company delivering the package to let me know that my delivery would only be done the next day.
- As a business owner, spend the time with the people who deal with customers and ensure that you are training them about your products and services on a regular basis. There is nothing worse than asking an employee about something, and they have never used it or have not had adequate product education or usage. Also, educate them on the behaviours you want – e.g. how to greet, how to treat the customer on the phone or when they walk in or when customers shout at them which does happen.
- Ensure your employees are also involved and invested in your business by paying them well and treating them well. Often disgruntled employees will sabotage you. I have gone into stores where I have been told by the employees to go to a competitor store because a boss is a horrible person and they get paid poorly.
- As the owner of the business, you need to be the customer experience champion. Walk and talk this daily until it becomes part of your company DNA; learn from other companies who are doing this well. You must not expect anyone else to do this for you.
- Have a plan for when something goes wrong and be available to ensure you are dealing with the crisis. Often it is at crisis time when the real work begins.
- Know what your customers like and don’t like – do some quick surveys so you can get feedback. Also, your employees are an excellent source of feedback when things work or don’t work. You can even get friends and family to give you some feedback.
- Lastly, be prepared for continuous improvements. Be on top of the customer game. Be humble, Be respectable because the money you get paid is from your customer.
I cannot tell you how this works wonders for you and your staff. I think customer experience is one of the most undervalued ways of increasing sales and revenue. It’s a pity not many companies are seeing this as critical for their businesses.