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Latest "Customer Confidence" Posts

Second Chance for Loyalty

Customer Service Lesson

I arrived to check in at one of my favorite New York City hotels, only to be disappointed that the hotel was under extensive renovation. Instead of walking into a beautiful lobby, a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle on the street, I experienced unfinished construction and the smell of sawdust and paint. Their cool and trendy bar that was usually packed with “beautiful people,” was temporarily cut down to about a quarter of its size with very few customers.   Continue reading

Customer SuccessCustomer Service Culture

In the past year or so we’ve seen the word customer success used by a number of forward thinking companies. Is this just another fancy name for customer service? Maybe it’s an updated way of a company saying, “We’re here for you when you need us. We want you to be successful.” While those loose definitions sound great, the official meaning of the term, in today’s business environment, is quite different from what we think of as traditional customer service. Continue reading

Customer Loyalty Month 2015Even though every April is Customer Loyalty Month, it doesn’t matter when you are taking in this information. Customer Loyalty Month is simply a time to remember how important it is to show a little love to your customers. The reality is that it should be practiced every month, every week, every day – in other words, with every interaction you have with your customers. Continue reading

Customer Service SpeakerIncrease Customer Confidence

It’s easy to build trust when you have the opportunity to connect with customers in person. You can look into their eyes, read their expressions, and interact at a more personal level. Even on the phone you can listen to a customer’s tone of voice and react accordingly. But, building trust online is a different story; not necessarily more difficult. Just different. Continue reading

The other night I had dinner at a favorite restaurant.  Unfortunately, a bad customer service experience tainted the evening.  The good news is that this event created a learning opportunity.

By the way, you don’t have to be in the restaurant business to appreciate and learn from this story.  As I take you through the story and the lessons we can take away from it, think about how they apply to your business. Continue reading

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” These are the opening words from the classic Charles Dickens novel A Tale of Two Cities.  Substitute the words times for the word stores and you have the beginning of a customer service nightmare. One that loses customers, causes bad word-of-mouth comments from dissatisfied customers, and can ultimately kill a business. Continue reading

Here’s another customer service lesson from the airlines.

Earlier this month (February 14, 2012) the Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that the airlines had their best December for on time arrivals in 17 years.  Flights arrived on time, which means no later than 15 minutes of their published arrival time, 84.4% of the time, and only .08% of flights were canceled.  Contrast that with the year’s prior statistics which were 72% of flights were on time and 3.7% were canceled.  Big improvement. Continue reading

As the current economy wreaks havoc on the business world, various companies and organizations recognize that the most effective strategy that works in any economy is customer service.

Each week I read dozens of articles about how various companies are combating the slow economy with creating great service experiences that keep customers coming back. Innovative ideas that are enhancing customer service are keeping customers and in some cases bringing in new ones.  And to get competitive, rather than lowering prices, companies are finding new ways to deliver service that they may not have done before.  For example…

A restaurant that never took reservations is now willing to do so.  Why?  Because that is what the guests want, and if that is what it takes to get them in the door, they’ll adapt.

A distributor sends a truck loaded with equipment to a customer’s location.  Rather than just pulling up to the dock and waiting for the customer’s warehouse employees to unload the truck, the driver now does it for the customer.  This extra value-added step has helped the company secure even more business from existing customers.  Why?  The competitors are doing this (yet).

Recently Southwest Airlines started experimenting with free in-flight Internet service.  Other airlines are also experimenting with this, but I haven’t heard of any of them offering it for free.  This is the type of value-added service that creates a better customer experience that helps keep customers loyal and may even pull business away from the competition.  And, while many other airlines add fees for checked baggage, Southwest continues to check bags for free, as they always have.  Southwest Airlines doesn’t promise “white glove” service. They promise a good value and a pleasant flight.  They continue to meet and exceed
customers’ expectations.

Here’s my take on this.  Companies that are creating better service experiences, and getting creative about doing so, will gain more market share during the rough economy and prosper even more as the economy returns to normal.

In short, the economy is forcing “service creativity,” which is about coming up with new and different ways to create a better customer experience.  The first step to service creativity is to hold a meeting with your employees.  Brainstorm what you can do to add value to your existing products and services as well as the process you use to deliver them.  Ask your customers what you can do to make doing business with you even better.  Listen to what your customers want and suggest what you may not already be doing.  You may find the competitive edge that will help you weather the economic storm and prosper well into the future.

That may have been true in the 1970 movie “Love Story,” but it is definitely not true in the world of customer service – even if your customers love you.

Just recently I’ve had several clients call to discuss problems they were having with service recovery.  While their issues were somewhat complicated, the strategies we discussed were simple and direct.  Here are the seven strategies that can help turn a touchy situation with a customer into a confidence building Moment of Magic®.

When a customer comes to you with a problem (assume it is on the phone, but this applies to any situation), take the following steps:

1.  Apologize for the problem.  (See – you do have to say your sorry!) It may not be your fault, but at this time, you represent your company.  It is now your opportunity to show how good you are.
2. Acknowledge the problem.  Ask the customer to repeat the problem, allowing them to vent.  Actively listen.  Ask open ended questions to get more information.
3. Apologize again!  If at this time you realize the customer needs to be talking to someone else, do not simply transfer him/her.  The proper hand-off is to bring this other person into the conversation so you can explain the problem.  Let the customer become part of a three-way conversation.  If you do hand off the problem, jump to Strategy Seven.
4. At this point it is time to move into fixing the problem.  Explain how that is going to happen, and go to work to fix it.
5. Make sure you do all of this with the right attitude.
6. Create a sense of urgency.  Fix the problem as quickly as possible.
7. Stay in touch and/or circle back.  Stay in touch with the customer to let him/her know the progress that is being made.  When the problem has been resolved, follow up (even if you handed this off to someone else) to ensure the customer is happy and to give closure to the problem.

The strategies are simple, but the execution may not be.  Some problems may take a long time to resolve, while others can be fixed immediately.  Regardless of what the problem is, the above strategies are the basics.  The end has to result in more than just a fixed problem.  You want the customer to say this:

“I love doing business with them.  Even when there is a problem, I can count on them.”

Always remember that service recovery isn’t just about fixing a problem.  It is also about the renewal of customer confidence.

Shep Hyken is the Chief Amazement Officer (CAO) of Shepard Presentations, LLC.  As a speaker and author, Shep helps companies build loyal relationships with their customers and employees by helping them deliver amazing levels of customer service.  He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “The Cult of the Customer” and “The Amazement Revolution” and the creator of The Customer Focus customer service training program.  For more contact Shep Hyken; (314) 692-2200 or shep@hyken.com.  Web: http://ww.Hyken.com.

Copyright © 2011, Shep Hyken

 

The January 25, 2008 USA Today news paper had a great article on customer service titled “Service with a Style.”  The Ritz-Carlton in Chicago was the example.  A cab pulled up to the hotel and the doorman opens the passenger’s door and calls the unannounced guest by his name.  He had never ever seen the man before.  How did he do it?  “I peeked at the luggage tag,” the doorman said with a grin.

This is a great example of taking the mundane and turning it into a Moment of Magic™.  In some of my seminars, we go through an exercise that helps our clients create magic from the mundane.  Here is an abbreviated version of this exercise.

First, create a list of the encounters your customers have in a typical, for lack of a better term, transaction.  For example, at the Ritz-Carlton a guest drives up in a cab (as in the above example), the guest enters the hotel and is greeted, checks in at registration, stands in line at the restaurant for breakfast, etc.  Take a look a these ordinary, possibly mundane interactions, and brainstorm how to add something to one or two of these interactions to make them special.

You saw how the doorman made helping a man out of a cab a Moments of Magic™ experience.  Where can you do the same thing in your business? Take a look at something that seems like an ordinary interaction with your customer; the way you answer the phone, greet a customer when he walks through your doors, make a delivery, etc.  It could be just about anything.  Then, brainstorm how you can turn it into something better than ordinary.  It doesn’t have to be amazing, although sometimes it will be.  Regardless, it will be a… Moment of Magic™!