In October 2011, April, a customer service advocate for a large cell phone provider, took a call that seemed like any other call. The customer wanted to make a payment to his cell phone bill. As the advocate began processing the payment, the customer’s demeanor suddenly starts to shift, becoming confused and disoriented. April quickly takes action, accessing the customer’s emergency contacts to alert a relative or neighbor, as well as the paramedics. In the hour that it took for help to arrive, April stayed on the phone with the customer: telling him jokes, singing to him, anything she could do to keep him calm and alert. Help finally arrived and took the man to the hospital. A few weeks later, April received a call from a grateful family member telling her that her knowledge, compassion and proactive state of mind helped save the man’s life.
Remarkable. A word that seems so simple to define but difficult to achieve. We define remarkable as an experience memorable enough to make a customer want to tell others about their interaction. Not all remarkable customer experiences require saving a life, but great customer service has the power to change someone’s day. There are four crucial steps businesses must take to create remarkable experiences for their customers.
1) Understand the WHY
What is your purpose? Why are you in business? Define what you believe in and communicate it clearly, over and over again. Dialogue Marketing is not in the call center business , we believe that we sell an experience. We are here to blossom the relationship between the consumer and the brand. As Simon Sinek says in the book “Start with Why”, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
2) Start with your employees
Attitude trumps experience in most situations. Get to know the personality of the potential team member first. Do they genuinely work well with others and look at the positive of situations? Would they grow into a mentoring leader or a finger pointing boss? Hire team members that are truly interested in your mission and are passionate to help you achieve it. Avoid hiring cultural detractors even if they do have the most experience.
3) Remove roadblocks
Customer experience can easily be overwritten by financial goals, cost-cuts and fear of change. Everyone at your organization, needs to be on board with the idea that the customer experience is always the top priority. Anything that hinders the quality of the customer interaction should be immediately evaluated. This includes scripts and canned responses that don’t allow for personalized communication. Have team members ask themselves “Does this allow for the very best customer experience?” If the answer is no, reevaluate and be vigilant about reinforcing your mission.
4) Understand the Consequences
No one can successfully compete on a product, service or price alone. Customer service is the driver for loyalty…how do you think Starbucks and Zappos got so big? Their success came from word of mouth referrals by loyal customers based around the remarkable customer service that they received. Help your team members understand the consequences of not being remarkable.
- 60% higher profits are reported by companies that prioritize the customer experience. (1)
- 89% of customers will take their business to a competitor following a poor customer experience. (2)
- After a poor customer experience, more than 26% posted negative complaints on social media. (3)
Being a leader in customer experience is a challenge which is also why it is such a key differentiator. Take these 4 rules with you as you create your roadmap to retaining loyal customers, increase referrals and grow profits.
(1) Murphy, E.C., Murphy,M.A. (2002) Leading on the Edge of Chaos: Prentice Hall Press; 1st edition
(2) 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report conducted by Harris Interactive
(3) 2012 Oracle White Paper “Seven Power Lessons for Customer Experience Leaders”
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: