Key Learning Outcomes
- Recognise that enhancing the customer experience will increase the likelihood of earning repeat or referral business.
- Learn some tips for delivering good service to your customers.
- Understand the consumer’s power and their ability to readily communicate a positive or negative experience.
- Practise our three-step exercise to capitalise on opportunities to surprise and delight your customers.
Everyone loves a surprise! The definition of a surprise is to give something to someone that is unexpected. In customer service, every time you can add a little surprise and delight to the customer experience you have a very good chance of gaining repeat or referral business. In reality customers will only tell others about exceptionally good or exceptionally bad experiences, rarely do they talk about those that are just average.
Think for a minute about the last time you had a GREAT customer service experience. In fact, if you have a team this is a beneficial exercise to do with them. You will be surprised by the answers. You will find that poor customer service experiences come to mind much more readily than good and when you start to drill down into what made a GREAT customer service experience it will often be something as simple as ‘they remembered my name’, ‘they delivered the food in record time’ or ‘they were just so friendly’. Rarely is it anything out of the ordinary and often you will find that an exceptional service experience that someone talks about may have occurred months or even years before.
This is good news as it means that we do not have to work too hard to leave a lasting impression on our clients. The key to designing a WOW customer experience is really understanding your customer’s expectations. If you are delivering just what your customer expects you will probably find that you do not receive too many complaints but it is also likely that you are not creating raving fans out of your clients. Once you are clear on the expectations you can work on exceeding them, one thing to be aware of is that once you start down this path you can never slip back as your clients expectations will have risen the next time they deal with you.[wlm_ismember]
We can learn a few key tips from our friends in the United States. Whilst people will argue that you get better service in America because there is a tipping culture, we tend to find that there is a high level of service orientation even among those that are not expecting or receiving a tip. A couple of key things we have discovered that makes up good service.
- Always introduce yourself to customers.
- Smile, it is infectious and people can sense a smile even over the phone.
- Use people’s names where you can, it personalises the experience for the customer.
- Look for opportunities to up sell without being annoying.
- Take a genuine interest in your client, ask good questions and be solution driven.
The thing to remember is that in today’s business world your customers are not just comparing you to your direct competitors but to everyone they deal with. You need to make sure your customer experience stands out for all the right reasons. The power of the consumer has never been greater. A good or bad experience can be communicated by your customer to literally thousands of people with just a few typed words and a click of a button. The following exercise will help to build some surprise and delight into your customer experience.
Think about all the different customer touch points in your business, these are all the times that you interact with the client.
For example in a hotel some of these would be:
- Initial inquiry
- Check in
- Room Service
- Check out
Now look at each of the touch points one by one. Think about what the client expects and make sure you are delivering this base line of service. If there are any areas that you feel that you are not delivering what your client expects then these need to be rectified as a matter of urgency.
If we look at the check in experience for the hotel as an example the following may be a list of what is expected by the majority of clients during the check in process
Next we need to look at where there are opportunities to add some surprise and delight to the experience. You will find that there may not be any need or the opportunity to enhance all of your client touch points. It is a good idea to brainstorm this with your team, some ideas might sound great but may not be feasible but the idea is to get your entire team thinking about how the client experience can be enhanced. Once you have a list you can then go through and look at where there are opportunities that can be implemented quickly and with little cost. Remember the point from first part of this article, you do not actually have to do a lot or spend a lot to really stand out from the majority of service experiences that our clients have on a daily, weekly or even yearly basis.
Going back to the hotel check in example you can see that there are several opportunities to enhance the client experience. The hotelier may not be able to implement all of these due to staffing or financial constraints however some ideas such as a hand written welcome note just take a little bit of planning and are low cost.
As you can see from this example if you complete the exercise across all of your client touch points there is going to be a number of opportunities to add some surprise and delight. The final step is to look at the list and look for the things that you are able to implement from today. You might find it easier to map all your ideas using the Quick Wins tool that will help you to prioritise the list. One of the key things to remember is that you need to ensure that any customer service improvements you implement need to be kept up for the long term as you do not want your client to be let down in the future.[/wlm_ismember]
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