Customer service is dead! You've seen it and experienced it first hand as a customer. However, the companies that are truly winning in the market place today are the ones consistently delivering and exceptional customer experience to even the least of their customers.
What creates and exceptional customer experience? One thing - how the customer feels when they interact with your brand.
From the time they logon to your website, pick up the phone and speak to one of your employees, enter your showroom floor, sleep in one of your hotel rooms, dine in your restaurant or negotiate terms with one of your sales professionals, their experience is determined by how they feel as a result of that interaction.
Here are a few essentials to consider so that you and your employees can intentionally and consistently influence the customer experience:
1. Leadership - How you and your leadership team make your employees feel will have the greatest impact on how the customer feels when they interact with your business. Listen to them, understand what's important to them, and help them to get more of what they value from their internal customer/workplace experience. Earn their trust and respect, and they will run through walls for you and your customers.
"Put your employees before your customers, and they will put your customers before anything else." R. Duane Huff
2. Go where the puck is going - Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said . . .
"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." - W. Gretzky
It simply isn’t enough to give the customer what they expect; you have to deliver an experience they never knew they always wanted. To do this, engage with your customers, ask good questions, listening, and then pull your team together to decide how you can over deliver on what your customers already expect. How can you take them to where they ultimately want to be?
3. Touch you customers – Wait . . .that sounded bad. No, really . . . touch your customers. Touch all of their senses, or at least as many as you can. The more engage your customers’ senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing) in a positive manner, the more invested they become in your brand. Think about some of your favorite places, businesses, experiences, and vibes. Why do you remember them, talk about them, and long to return to them? Because of how they make you feel. They’ve resonated with you emotionally – through your senses. How can you engage all five of your customers’ senses?
4. Communication & Listening – Two fundamental elements that can quickly make or beak an exceptional customer experience is how customers feel when they communicate with you and/or your employees. When customers feel heard and appreciated they open up and tell you everything you need to know to serve them on a higher level. On the flip side, make one wrong move in the area of communication and listening, just one wrong move, and you can potentially lose a log time customer. It’s that important. Invest in the listening and communication skills of your employees and leaders so they can have greater influence with your customers.
5. Kill “no” – Remove this toxic word from your vocabulary and that of your employees. Sure, there will be times when you have to move the customer in a different direction, but there is never a time when the word no, nor any of its malicious cousins, are ever acceptable or use with customers. Instead, equip and empower your staff with the skills they need to redirect and offer options that make the customer feel honored.
Incorporate these 5 essential elements into your customer experience efforts and you will have more business coming to you that you can even handle. The world’s greatest companies execute these five fundamental, and then some, every single day to insure their brands remain world class. Shouldn’t you?