Imagine this. The customer on the phone – or in person – is raging mad. You can hear it in their voice – or see it in their eyes. You brace yourself. You’re ready to take the lashing this customer is about to give you. You know you personally did nothing to offend and upset this customer. But somebody did something, or something happened, that made this customer want to lash out at you. Then you find out…
Your company did nothing wrong! Continue reading
It’s never fun to share bad news with a customer. Many people are scared to be the bearer of bad news. There are plenty of examples of bad news – an order didn’t ship, something was damaged, a deadline is not going to be met, etc. It doesn’t really matter what the bad news is; the key to managing the customer experience is how you deliver the bad news. This brings me to Dollar Shave Club, who had to share the news that they were raising their prices.
While the price increase wasn’t very much – just one dollar a month – they still had to share the news with their customers. The way they did it was a classic lesson on how to share negative information, hopefully without upsetting the customer. Continue reading
The other night my wife and I met three other couples for dinner at a nice restaurant. The food was great, but the service ended on a sour note. Our server got lazy. His attitude toward the end of our experience reminded me that sometimes people don’t do what is requested – or even expected – simply because they don’t want to make the little extra effort to take care of their customers. Let me share what happened. Continue reading
I’ve talked and written about the differences between customer service and the customer experience, also known as CX. Customer service is typically what transpires between people throughout the buying process or when there is a problem. That’s part of the customer experience, but there is much more to CX than service. It’s the entire journey, from the moment a customer thinks about doing business to any and every interaction point, whether it’s in person, on a digital channel, or with the product. Here are a few examples from companies you know and have likely done business with, thereby experiencing both their customer service and experience. Continue reading
Surprise and delight is a great customer service concept. Or is it?
The concept behind surprise and delight is to surprise the customer with a level of experience that they weren’t expecting. Obviously, it should be a positive experience. Otherwise, the concept would be called surprise and disappoint. Nobody wants that! Continue reading
Last summer I played golf with a friend. At the end of the game, he had blisters. He didn’t play very often, and the golf clubs rubbed his skin raw. My hands were just fine. I’m fortunate to play several times a month and over time I’ve built up calluses that prevent those nasty blisters. It’s simple. The more a person plays, the thicker the calluses get, which immunizes people against blisters and pain. Continue reading
One of our Shepard Letter subscribers, who asked to remain anonymous, recently shared a story worth telling. To protect him from the backlash he’s concerned about, we’ll change his name to “protect the innocent,” as the saying goes, just in case someone from his company reads this. So, we’ll just refer to him as Bob. Continue reading
“Smile and the world smiles with you.” That is part of a longer quote attributed to Stanley Gordon West. It became the topic of conversation while on a New York subway with my daughter, Alex, when I noticed her smile at someone who, in turn, smiled back. I complimented her on the small but kind gesture, and it started a great conversation about life and customer service.
Now, some of you may be thinking, “Big deal. It was just a smile.” But it is a big deal. Alex shared the story about where she learned about the power of a smile. Continue reading
The other day I was driving by a Chick-fil-A restaurant at lunchtime. I was blown away by how many people were in the drive-through lane. There had to be at least 20 cars. I thought to myself, “That’s a long line. You really have to love Chick-fil-A to brave that line at lunchtime.”
Then I noticed they had four people on the lot taking orders from the people in the drive-through. They eliminated the problem. The cars were moving through the line at a pretty good speed. Actually, they moved faster than the traffic I was sitting in on the main street. Brilliant thinking… just because you’re in the drive-through lane, doesn’t mean you have wait to get to the front of the line to order. Continue reading
Not long ago, I wrote an article that featured Todd Hopkins, CEO of Office Pride, and his concept of core values being a decision filter. I had the chance to interview him for Amazing Business Radio and he dropped another big concept on us that’s worth bringing to our followers. He talked about an agreement he makes with all his new customers and employees, an upfront agreement tied to future communication. Continue reading
You’ve heard of the concept of Pay It Forward. Many people use the phrase to describe doing a good deed for someone with no other expectation than that person doing something nice for someone else and so on, creating a chain of good deeds. Don’t pay it back. Pay it forward. Continue reading
Winter travel can be stressful with the concern of weather-related delays and cancellations. On a recent trip that had a connecting flight, I was notified the night before that my first flight was going to be delayed, which made me worry about missing my connection. I called the airlines and they suggested changing my connecting flight to a later one, which I was happy to do. Even though the flight was later, I would still arrive in time for my meeting. The customer service agent was happy to accommodate my request. Continue reading
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure and honor of being the keynote presentation for River Valley Bank, soon to be Incredible Bank, as they merge the names of their brick-and-mortar banks and their online bank. I love that word, incredible, almost as much as my favorite word, amazing. If someone told you the customer service at a bank was incredible, you would only think positive things. What do they do that’s so incredible? I want to try some of what they call incredible. Continue reading
When it comes to taking care of customers, sometimes people go a little further than expected. When asked why, they often say, “It was the right thing to do.” There’s no incentive other than the desire to care for someone else. In a sense, that is what customer service is about. While we may be paid to do a job, sometimes doing something that is not required – and therefore not expected – is what the next level of a good customer service experience is all about. Continue reading
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. This is the day where we send our spouses, partners, and loved ones a gift. Often it is out of obligation. I have plenty of friends who tell me if they don’t get their spouse some flowers and a card, they will pay for it. So we feel obligated to express our love and appreciation to those close to us. I’ve written several articles about this before, and my favorite one is called The Valentine Obligation. You don’t have to send your customer flowers, but how about an expression of appreciation? It can be something as simple as a thank you note or as elaborate as a customer appreciation event. And you don’t have to send it on Valentine’s Day. Any day is a good day to show some customer love. With that in mind, here are five ways to say thank you to your customers. Continue reading
I’m honored to be the keynote speaker later this year at Office Pride, a franchisor of commercial cleaning service companies. All of the franchisees will be attending their annual meeting to network and learn about the latest and greatest opportunities happening in their industry. My job is to talk to them about customer service.
As part of my homework, Todd Hopkins, their CEO, shared the Office Pride Culture book. As I was reading it, I came across a concept worth sharing. While Office Pride has created a great set of core values, Todd describes them as decision filters. He writes, “Our core values filter the outcome of what we, either impulsively or mindfully, decide to do.” Continue reading
“Please stay on the line to answer a short, one-question survey at the end of this call.”
That’s what I heard just before the agent picked up the phone to help me. Just a one-question survey? Sounds short enough. Sure, I’ll give them an extra minute of my time. So after the call, I stayed on the line. What came right after the call was the promised simple question. It may be one of the best feedback questions I’ve ever heard. I put it right up there with the NPS (Net Promotor Score) question, which I’ll share later. Here it is:
“The next time you call us, would you want the same person to take care of you? Push 1 for yes and 2 for no.”
How much do you love the companies you do business with, the restaurants you frequent, or the stores you shop at? How upset would you be if they told you they were going out of business? What if you could save them by giving up something? So, the question becomes, “What would you be willing to give up to continue doing business with them?”
Before I go any further, I might be treading on dangerous ground with the word sex in the title of this article. I always keep my comments squeaky clean, and I hope that no one is offended by the word sex. We’ve become hyper-sensitive about words and I don’t want to upset anyone, especially our friends in HR, but we’re all adults and my reference to the word is, at most, PG-rated.
Some people claim that customer service is getting worse. I disagree. Customers are getting smarter and expecting more. The customer service “bar” is raised by great companies who teach us what good customer service should be. And, when there is a customer service “horror story,” it seems to stand out much more than when everything is right and works the way it’s supposed to. Continue reading
Here’s another great story we can learn from. This reminds us that having a good system with good people who understand how to take care of their customers is the backbone of a good service experience. Continue reading
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” That quote comes from Simon Sinek, author of the book, Start with Why. This quote makes me think about the different reasons behind why a customer chooses to do business with a company. There are plenty of them to consider, so I put together a short list of some of these Whys: Continue reading
If you compete head-to-head with your competition, you may win or lose. If you compete by being different, you stand out. And, that’s a win. Continue reading
In the past few months leading up to my new book, The Convenience Revolution, I’ve focused on ways to be more convenient for your customers. I’ve shared six Convenience Principles and numerous examples and case studies. The goal is to eliminate friction. What I haven’t done is talked to you about what causes friction. Continue reading