As I have been finalizing my chapter on “WOW! Customer Service” in the upcoming book “Blueprint for Success and Survival” with Dr. Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard, (Look for in Bookstores in 2008) I have been reviewing my field notes from working with business clients who have successfully propelled their business from Now to WOW! They are Businesses, large and small who have transformed their organizations and dramatically increased their revenues by having a renewed love affair with their customers!
Okay, let’s start with the ingredients of a love affair—Yes that infatuation and head spinning awe, personal love letters and flowers that leave you catching your breath. Where did this incredible creature come from who seems to adore you? Now switch for a moment and think about that couple you see, who seems to have lost the magic they surely must have had at one time– limiting their appreciation of each other to a once a year Hallmark Greeting.
When I look at businesses, with poor customer service, apathetic employees and usually a resulting flat or declining bottom line, I see organizations that need to re-ignite their love affair with the customer. Over the years, they have gotten comfortable with the way they do things and accordingly have fallen into that “got to make the donuts” rut. They have ceased to look at the customer experience with “brand new eyes”.
So if you’re looking at your sales, your service quality and your employees grumbling around the water cooler about everything they have to do today…..Consider these five ways to “Spice up your Customer Love Life”
1. Ten Positive Customer Touch Points:
Hello! if the only time a customer hears from you is when you send your monthly bill or there’s a problem– you’ve got that Hallmark Greeting problem. Your customers are going to find someone (your competitor) who “shows them the love” in a much more personal way on a regular basis. A key to providing WOW customer service is to examine your points of customer contact and seek 10 positive communications with customers to every 1 negative touch point and yes your invoice is considered a negative.
2. Show the Love to Your Employees:
Case studies demonstrate that the way you “show the love” and treat your employees is passed on to customers! Note: the principle of 10 positive touch points applies to coaching and motivating front line customer service employees. One good practice is for every negative you provide to an employee be sure you give them 10 positives as well. Nothing worse, than the boss who is always pointing out what you do wrong versus expressing appreciation for what you do right. Has your team gone out of it’s way recently to beat a deadline or retain an account? Why not Surprise and Romance them with 10 minute chair massages? Note: Keep in mind that in romance, surprises are always the best, which is why I hate those ordinary “employee of the month programs” that become expected, non-special and just plain boring.
3. Examine all of Your Love Letters and Communications to Customers:
The first thing I do in working with business clients is to look at everything their customers sees, feels , hears and touches with my brand new eyes. Do your client bills just say Thank YOU! or do you include inspired and heartfelt appreciation of the customer’s value? Does your web-site grab them in 7 seconds? That’s all the time you have! Are your marketing materials written to appeal to all 4 personality and 3 learning styles. If not, maybe you need to hire a “Cyrano Word Smith” to romance your customers.
4. Save them Time and Money:
There are two things that are sure-fire Cupid’s arrows with customers. Save them Time and Money and communicate how you’re doing that on a regular basis. In business and in life, time and money are the two forms of energy we never have enough of.
5. You know…. It’s not about You!
Think of that blind date where the person sitting across from you is droning on and on about themselves. You want to scream “Did you think it’s not always about you? Sometimes It’s about me?”. As I review web-sites, listen to “telephone hold messages” and review marketing materials, I am amazed how businesses focus on their own features verses the customers needs. I was hooting and hollering in reviewing one web-site: The home page was a photo album titled “This is where it all began” followed by baby pictures and a history of the principles. Who cares? This is why in sales and customer service training, the skill of “listening” and “adapting to individual customer needs and communication styles” are critical. No Bob, it’s not about you! It’s about the Customer!
So perhaps it’s time to evaluate your Customer Love Life before your competitor does it for you!