Are your Customers Boasting about You?

  September 20, 2010 in Blog, Consulting & Training by Marci Bikshorn

The shelves are stacked with books about customer service. Businesses tout their latest promises.  “The customer is always right.” “Just ask me. I can.”  “Our customers come first.” We know that exceptional customer service inspires loyalty, generates profits and results in growth.  Then why is service so poor?  All the promises and all the books present the appropriate point of view, yet the customer sits in waiting for the promises to become realities and for people to take action.

Think about the service experiences you receive that make you want to “sing the praises” of a company.  How often does that happen?  As often as you receive ill-mannered or apathetic service?

Today’s customers are savvy.  They expect and demand more. Extraordinary customer service is a requirement for success in today’s business environment.  The award winning companies know this and they eat, sleep and breathe this as their culture. It is their daily mantra.

These companies look for ways to get their customers to boast about them.

  1. They view their customer’s experience through their eyes. Perception is reality.  Either black or white. Positive or negative.
  2. They create customer champions by delivering more than what is expected and more than the competition delivers. Mediocrity does not glean customer loyalty.  For example, if a customer is required to wait in your location as you provide a service, fresh coffee, real cream and current magazines could be the degree of difference that customers will talk about.
  3. They partner every customer interaction with a personal touch.  When I visit Il Bel Lago in St. Louis the owners greet me at the door by name, they remember what we spoke about the last time I dined at their restaurant, they keep in mind what menu items I prefer, and they make every celebrated occasion at their restaurant memorable.
  4. They understand the B.A.S.I.C.S. (Because All Sales Include Customer Service).   Companies that stand out are slaves to the details and they are absolutely obsessed with how it feels to receive “red carpet treatment” which makes them fanatical about providing it to every customer every time.
  5. They hire the best people.  They know that attitude takes precedence over skill set.  Attitude is an innate trait – technical skills can be taught.  Once on board…customer service training must be top of mind.  Too often companies allow untrained employees to engage with customers. The “sink or swim” approach leads to unsatisfied patrons.  The key is to train, measure your team’s performance using mystery shops and customer satisfaction surveys to gauge their knowledge and retention.  Coach the team using the customer intelligence received and then continue monitoring, measuring and coaching.  World class companies never stop investing in their team’s success and place as much emphasis on hiring and training their employees/internal customers as they do in charming new customers.

Creating a customer following that boasts about your business doesn’t happen by chance.    It takes persistence and uncompromising dedication.

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