Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

A Purposeful Customer Experience Shouldn’t Happen By Accident

Purposeful Customer Service

Customer Success

The customer experience shouldn’t happen by accident. It should be planned and thought out well in advance of the success you hope to have with your customers.

I recently had a conversation with someone who helped focus my long term strategic plans. We talked about the success I had in the past and what I hoped would be continued success in the future. I am very goal-oriented and shared my goals for the upcoming quarter, for the year, and even for ten years. These included the number of speaking engagements I wanted to do, the number of training dates our trainers would book, the growth in our online university and more. While she seemed impressed, she asked me how I planned to make those goals a reality. I told her what had been successful in the past, and how it should continue to take me into the future.

Her response took me by surprise. She informed me that I had been successful by accident. While I had my goals, the detail about how I planned to achieve these goals was minimal.

That made me think about how many organizations go about delivering great customer service. In effect, they do it by accident. They hire good people and hope they will deliver based on their past experience. Some companies take it a step further and have some training. Still they are just hoping to achieve what the customer would consider to be a great customer service experience.

Customer service doesn’t happen by accident. It starts with hiring the right people and training them, but that still may not be enough. The best companies don’t take a chance. They actually design the experience. So here are a few steps in the process to help you move from accidental to purposeful amazing customer service.

  1. Already mentioned is hiring and training. By the way, training should be ongoing – not a one-time thing. Training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do. It doesn’t always have to be a big training session. If you have a weekly meeting, take several minutes to highlight customer service and share a tip.
  2. Create the customer journey map. This is plotting out all of the touch-points that the customer has with your organization. This shows the obvious places where the customer can form an impression, and where the opportunities are to make that impression a Moment of Magic®.
  3. When you are looking at the journey map, determine what goes on behind the scenes that drives the experience at any particular touch-point. For example, a server at a restaurant may take the customer’s order and five minutes later come back with the food. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes to ensure that food comes out in a timely manner and is prepared the way it is meant to be. What are the friction points that could hurt the front line touch-point? How can they be mitigated or even eliminated? What can you do to enhance or make the frontline touch-point better?
  4. Train people on how to deal with mistakes and complaints. It’s not a matter of if you will ever have one of these Moments of Misery™, it’s when. The best companies make mistakes and have complaints, but they have trained their people and have a system that turns that Moment of Misery™ into a Moment of Magic®.

Don’t rely on chance or luck to make you successful. Be purposeful. Plan with detail. A long term successful customer service initiative doesn’t happen by accident.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXV, Shep Hyken)

 
  1. It is amazing how difficult it is for companies to look at work this wthis just recently returned to a former employer and my goodness, the lack of customer service between departments and to our outside customers is amazingly short minded. We wonder why our customers are angry.

    Thanks for giving me the personal reminder for action. I can’t control anyone else, but I can offer my best.

    • Thanks, Matthew, for your comment. You are the “force within” the organization that is making a difference. I hope that your good work and attitude is contagious and others around you “catch” your positive outlook.

  2. I spent a couple of years in the venture capital community and it was amazing the huge differences in processes around the customer experience between the hundreds of companies we were analyzing. The noticeable advantage of the companies that focused on developing the processes and ongoing training? Revenue. The companies that put the customer first were winning exponentially over the companies that put their ego first.

    The other significant difference was the amount of detail the successful companies were building into their prospect journey process. The journey must be rewarding for all aspects of a company’s funnel. Shep, I know you wouldn’t be surprised by this but we’ve learned at Lessonly that the best way to deliver a great customer and prospect journey is continuously training your team on the process. Purposeful goal setting should be continuously improved.

    • Hi Kyle – Thanks for your comment. You validate what many companies seem to miss. Focus on customers and revenue will follow.

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