3 Free Sure-Fire Tips That Revive The Customer Experience

...do what's in the best interest for me, not your wallet

Don’t hard-sell me.  I don’t like it and I promise you won’t change my mind. Touting the benefits of a product/service over my objections does nothing to sway me.  All it does is want me to leave the item at your register and walk out the door.

3 Free Sure-Fire Tips That Revive The Customer Experience

Best Buy, a local electronics “mega store”, has more items than anyone could possibly want.  Aisle after aisle is packed with the latest gadgets and there are plenty of blue-shirted employees to help you.  That’s a good thing.

I stopped into the store yesterday with my cousin who eagerly guided me through the benefits of his latest gadget, the Amazon Fire TV Stick.  Now it was my turn to buy it.

One of the sales associates quickly helped us find the item within the large store then whisked us towards the short checkout line.  Another good thing.

Here’s when my problems started… (more…)

Enriching the Customer Experience Works in Any Industry

...Guest post by Ben Motteram

Today’s guest post is by Ben Motteram, the Principal at CXpert, a customer experience consulting company. Ben has over 20 years’ experience in customer service, and is a recognized CX thought leader. Thanks Ben!

As someone deeply involved in customer service and the overall customer experience, I am interested in identifying companies that share my love of service and how they tend to the customer’s needs.

Enriching the Customer Experience

Using a process like customer journey mapping, companies can clearly show how every role impacts the end customer.

A great example of this is Little Real Estate, Australia’s largest independently owned real estate agency with over 23,000 properties under management and 23 offices nationally.

I recently met with Brock Fisher, the National Manager of Customer Support at LITTLE, to discuss his approach to customer service.

Ben Motteram: Hi Brock, one of the things that has really impressed me about LITTLE Real Estate is their commitment to customer service. As the National Manager of Customer Support, what are you responsible for?

Brock Fisher: My “customers” are all of our Property Management staff so my main role is running an offshore team of forty personnel in The Philippines.  They relieve Property Managers of much of that repetitive, process driven, “behind the scenes” administrative work that is normally a prominent aspect of the role. This enables our Property Managers to spend more time providing a high level, value add service to our clients.

To me, it’s all about understanding where the value in (more…)

How to Manage Like a Great Movie Director

...and not like a kindergarten teacher

Read this script and memorize each line.  You must get into the character and feel his pain, study his emotions. What makes him tick?  Let’s do it again.  Those were the words of the movie director.  It was a far cry from the kindergarten teacher…

How to Manage Like a Great Movie Director

“Now children, we are going to have free time.  Each of you will be able to do whatever you want until class is over” said the teacher.

Business is like that too.

Some rule with a heavy hand where expectations and quality are high.  Adaptability is rampant to suit the client’s wishes/needs.  You do “take after take” and don’t stop until it’s perfect.

Profits soar at these companies.

Others, like the kindergarten class, are much less formal.  Business flows as needed and management is less structured.  And the bosses want to be a “friend” to their subordinates.

I doubt their profits soar…

Any great business must run like a movie set where each employee is an actor with a specific role to play.  They must follow a script – not “scripted” words but scripted actions designed to produce the best product or service.

You must (more…)

The Ultimate Customer Service KPI?

Guest post by Steve Curtin

One of the Top 30 customer service experts in the world, Steve Curtin provides today’s guest post. Thanks Steve!

Earlier this year I was asked for my opinion about which key performance indicator (KPI) was the most important. I think if you ask five different people you may get five different answers.

Customer Service KPI

As important as overall satisfaction, value for price paid, intent to return, and a dozen other performance indicators are, if I had to choose one, I’d choose net promoter score (NPS).

NPS is a customer loyalty metric created by Fred Reicheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix in 2003. Essentially, it identifies customers as being Promoters, Passives, or Detractors of an organization, company, or brand based on their likelihood to recommend it to others.

Here’s why I like NPS so much as a KPI of customer service quality: (more…)

The Great Leader Right Under Your Nose

...Never take your existing employees for granted

The schoolyard created natural leaders. They were the ones that chose the teams. They were the first ones at bat, their friends sided with their opinions and they led the way with their rebellious streak. You can spot them a mile away.

Great Leader Right Under Your Nose

In business it’s not always that easy to find a leader.

Sure, we always hear about Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, et al. We easily recognize these titans of business and how their leadership has guided their companies to prosperity.

But what about the great leader right under your nose?

To fill that vacant leadership/management position we search through resume after resume for the perfect applicant. We try hard to entice the high performers from our competition.  We contact headhunters and willingly spend top dollar to find the best available candidate.

Then, when that newly hired superstar disappoints, we wonder why…

“He was the best candidate that we interviewed by far! I wonder what went wrong”.  “It turns out he really isn’t a good fit for our culture”.  “He’s taking too long to adapt to our ways of doing things, I don’t think he’s going to work out”.

Today's immediate society creates falsehoods of a quick fix. Click To Tweet

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(more…)

Customer Experience: Everything Matters

Guest post by Roy Atkinson

Host of the popular weekly #CustServ chat on Twitter, Roy Atkinson shares some customer experience wisdom as today’s guest blogger. Thanks Roy!

When it comes to customer experience, everything matters. The way a website looks and works, the way a brand’s service people talk with and treat customers, and certainly the way purchased goods and services are delivered.

Customer Experience

Recently, I was a first-time attendee at an event held at a large ski and golf resort, and despite having a terrific time with my fellow attendees, there were details that detracted from a smooth experience.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll call the resort “Tuesday Lake.” There are two sizable hotels at the resort, several miles apart. One, I’ll call the Pinnacle Grand, and the other I’ll call The Merlin.  My reservation described my room as a Grand Merlin Standard.

So, which hotel was I supposed to go to—the one called Grand, or the one called Merlin?  It was a small, confusing detail that could have been easily fixed if the resort had thought about it; it was evident that they hadn’t.

Once I arrived at The Merlin (having guessed correctly), I waited far longer at the front desk than I should have, while not one but two clerks conversed with a guest they knew personally.  Eventually I got checked in, but the clerk failed to (more…)

Has Common Decency Finally Become Obsolete?

…You deserve nothing less from your customers

I never wanted others to think I was a jerk.  Being an average kid, I spent my share of time in the company of other jerks.  I hated how they acted and many of the things they said.  I was NOT going to be like them!

common decency

Then my 20’s came and it was full steam ahead into the dating years.  Can’t be a jerk then either.  Be a jerk, no girl.  Not a jerk, yes, a girl…

Then I grew up…

As some point in our lives we realize that we need to grow up and be an adult.  Of course we never have to lose our playfulness or child-like wonder and curiosity.  But society expects much from us and we must deliver.

Then, as Malcolm Gladwell states in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, we spend the next 10,000 hours to master a skill so we may be the best in our industry.  Our career is full steam ahead.

We’ve waited for this moment, this exact time, and place, so we may show what we have learned and who we are. Then it happens…

You come across an unreasonable and inconsiderate customer hell-bent on (more…)

Why Mom Was Right About Anticipatory Service

But have no fear, you can learn it too!

Ever have a customer come into your business and later ask you about where they can find something at a neighboring business? Do you say “I don’t know, I’m not from around here?”  Not exactly anticipatory service, huh?

Anticipatory Service

Here’s the scenario:

While waiting in line at a major department store, I overheard the woman in front of me mention that it was her wedding anniversary next week.  She wanted to know where the nearest greeting card store was and asked the cashier.

The cashier’s response was “I don’t know, I’m not from around here”.  And to make matters worse, the cashier didn’t even follow up. She just put her head back down and continued to ring in the purchases!

Exasperated, the customer turned to me and said “do you believe this”?

Since I wasn’t “from around here” either I wasn’t able to help this woman but couldn’t leave it there.  I turned around and asked the next customer behind me if he knew where the closest greeting card store was.

“Sure, of course I know” and proceeded to give us clear, and easy-to-follow directions to the store.

I can understand that the average employee doesn’t make a mental note of the surrounding businesses with the expectations that knowledge will be needed by a customer sometime in the future.  But isn’t that what anticipatory service is all about?

The overall experience is preserved by the countless ways we enrich the customer interaction. Click To Tweet

Remember, the people that (more…)

5 Proven Ways Women Are Better At Customer Service

...let’s look at the facts

I know this may cost me my “man card” but there is no way a man can compete with a woman when it comes to providing great customer service, period!

Women Are Better At Customer Service Than Men

We’ve all read books about how to provide great customer service.  They always seem to focus on the specific skills needed to be successful.  Listening, patience, empathy, problem resolution and telephone skills are just a few.

Let’s look at the facts of why women are better at customer service than men…

Listening

When my wife tells me a story she adds details that no guy in his right mind cares about.  But, no matter how convoluted it may seem, or what parts of the story I don’t care about, when the same story is told to another woman it makes perfect sense!  They listen with spellbound attention.

My wife can go on and on with all the specificity of a big-city lawyer when explaining the most basic of situations.  I don’t know how she does it!

For me I shut down, only hear the words I want to hear (which are every 4th one or so). My line to her is always, (more…)

7 Ways You Force Your Employees to Quit

...you created an atmosphere where no one can be successful or appreciated.

The boss is never wrong.  His/her decisions are right and for all the obvious reasons; he knows better, he has the experience and he was put in charge because he’s the best qualified person the company has.  Come on now, you know that’s B.S.!

Ways You Force Your Employees to Quit - Steve DiGioia

More great employees were “forced” to quit because of the failure of leadership than for any other reason.

What I mean by “forced to quit” is that they were put in a position where their efforts were in vain.  Their belief was that quitting is better than staying at a job/company where they have no future.  At least not if they wish to be an integral part of the business.

Sure, if they wanted to stay in their entry level position where little is expected of them, they may ultimately retire from the firm.  But since they have ambition and strive to be better, they joined the ranks of management.  They hope and expect their service and knowledge will help grow the company.

Boy, were they wrong. (more…)