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Leading High Value Customer Service

Many times it is easy to fixate on certain key touch points that drive the Customer experience within our operations – and that is often a fantastic place to start.  Businesses that find the greatest success, however, take a more holistic approach to serving Guests.

The sum total of a Guest’s experience within your business is determined by not one thing, but by one thousand things during the course of their interactions with you and your brand.

That is to say, that you have to keep an eye on the most critical moves within your service funnel, but you also have to keep one eye on your overall business to be sure that you keeping in mind the small, seemingly insignificant moves that can make or break a Customer’s time within your walls or on your website.

I was working with a group of leaders last fall, and they had been struggling with Customer Satisfaction.  When we took a hard look at their overall service flow, it was the sum of the little things that really started to help them identify issues.  The biggest item of note was that due to their downtown location, there was no place obvious for Customers to park upon arriving on the street where their business was located.  They were so focused on the driving sales and satisfaction within their four walls, they had neglected external forces.  Guests were already so irritated with finding parking that they were entering the business frustrated and already spoiling for a fight.  The two-part solution was simple and impactful.  There was parking close, in the form of a free parking deck just around the corner, so communication was the first step.  They put out a simple sandwich board sign in front of the business which directed Customers to the parking area.  The real wow came on weekends – they hired part time college students to valet park cars on their busiest days at no charge.  These two inexpensive moves grew sales, Customer satisfaction, and the bottom line all with minimal expense.

Often times, organizations spend so much time addressing what they think is important that they fail to deliver upon what is ACTUALLY important to those they serve.  It is fantastic to treat folks the way you’d like to be treated – and there is impact in that message.  But think about the power of serving Guests the way they want to be treated.  The best-meaning businesses get this wrong regularly, but the good news is that there is a very simple way to flip this switch.  This formula looks something like this:

  1. Ask Your Guest What They Want

  2. Listen Carefully

  3. Do It.

Now all tongue-in-cheek aside, this simple thinking will never steer you wrong.  All the experts, conference calls, and meetings in the world will never replace the act of good old fashioned Customer service touches.  Ask the questions and then listen – but don’t let them get away with “everything is great thanks” if you can help it.  Dig deep and find out what is aggravating them or what could be improved to help them associate your brand with excellence.

You have probably heard the idea that Customer service isn’t a department, but rather everyone’s responsibility.  That is a core value that best in class organizations not only adopt, but live at a cellular level.  Throughout the service funnel within your organization there are dozens or even hundreds of places where your business interacts with Customers.  It could begin with your web site.  Is it easy to find, easy to use, and does it look great on mobile devices?  Does you marketing really tell your story and reflect your brand?  Is your business well marked and easy to find when they come to visit?  Are you open on time?  Is your product available and do you have well trained employees to help Customers with questions?  Most of these interactions took place before the Guest ever stepped into your business – and each demands the same care as the quality of the actual product itself.

This is where really being involved can help you win the Customer experience.  Those leaders who make it a point to get away from their offices and spend their time in high value activities such as walking their spaces, talking to Guests, and coaching Front Line Associates in the moment will always find the best success.  This is a great way to not only dole out recognition to those who are performing well, but to also ask the team what we can do better and how we can improve service.  Many times our teams have the answers, but we haven’t been savvy enough to ask or to ask the right questions.

Be inquisitive and inclusive during your daily tours of your organization.

Be aware of your entire brand and keep an eye on anything that can impact the reality or perception of your business.  This is an ultra important piece of the customer service puzzle.  We, as leaders, must be prepared to analyze the Guest experience from a macro level, seeing each key move in details but also how the entire service process fits together.

And while we are busy analyzing these processes and evaluating the details of our locations, we can never lose sight of the fact that this all about the Guests we serve and those we lead to serve them.

Until next time, take a moment to look at every piece of your operation with a critical eye and remember to treat every Guest like a cherished friend.


Tony Johnson Customer Service Expert | Author | Trainer | Speaker

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