Hassles are such a drag.
Have you ever noticed that some places are more interested in telling you why something can’t be done rather than how it can be made possible? It seems like such as waste of energy and a drain on patience. Sure there are going to be times when you have to say no, but that shouldn’t be your default position.
Hassles and inconveniences are huge turn offs to your Customers and in a world which is becoming increasingly complex, you can stand apart if you just keep it simple for folks to do business with you. There is no doubt that the huge WOWs are fun to talk about, and look great in the employee newsletter, but they may not have the impact you wish they did.
The biggest problem with the huge WOW is that Customers are quick to forget the grand gesture or put it in the “feel good moment” file, but it doesn’t have stickiness. They are far more likely to abandon a business for poor service and execution than to give their loyalty to a business that provides good service.
Consistency and ease are the big ticket winners here.
Here are some key drivers that your Customers will appreciate:
Keep your product consistent. I like the lasagna analogy here: if you run a restaurant it isn’t enough to serve delicious lasagna – it has to be the SAME lasagna. Folks want to know that love-it-or-hate-it, your lasagna always has mushrooms and Italian sausage. If it is made one way one time and another way the next time, it’s confusing and your Customers won’t ever know what to think.
Don’t make them repeat themselves. Customers hate having to tell you and your team the same things over and over again. If they call or engage face-to-face, and you must have another person engage, bring them up to speed first.
Don’t overcomplicate things. Above all, your Customers are looking for EASY. Don’t give them six forms when two will do, don’t over-tweak your website, and keep your surveys short. The easier you make things the more likely folks are to come back. That goes for how many clicks it takes to complete a transaction online and how many questions you ask them while you check them out.
Focus on the Opportunities. No doubt that you must reinforce positive behavior – and it can give you scalable solutions for your organization – but if things are going wrong you have to focus on them. Schedule meetings designed to shine a light on underperforming segments of your business and devote the brain power of the team to solving them. Take a page out of the Bill Gates playbook and start the meeting off with problems to be solved while everyone is fresh and before you run short on time. Removing obstacles and playing error free ball are much more impactful that pouring energy into service recovery because things went astray.
Removing obstacles for your Customers should be a key focus for your teams daily. The best way to start here is by understanding hassles that are impacting the Customer experience. You can certainly review you comment cards, analyze surveys, and most importantly ASK THEM. The face to face conversations can certainly yield the best commentary if you take the time to dig deep and listen.
Once you’ve done your homework:
Compile all of the key learnings, then craft a plan to address and remove the hassles. Involve everyone in this conversation – likely your front line team is well aware of these and probably have some dynamite ideas to solve
Review the plan with your team to work out these “kinks” in the Customer experience
Train the team to deliver, both in the classroom and on the front line
Coach your team in the moment to reinforce the training you’ve given and show that it isn’t “flavor of the month”
Codify the behaviors through positive reinforcement and nudging them back on track when they stumble
Follow up consistently and retrain as needed
You have probably embarked on change efforts before and most likely some worked and others didn’t. The key is to make sure that you speak the language of convenience whenever you look to add a process or service. Keeping it easy for your customers, and making sure that your teams are well trained to deliver, can yield results when it comes to retaining and growing your Customer base.
And let’s face it, loyalty really means happy Customers that keep coming back.
Talk to you soon,
Tony Johnson -Customer Service Leader and Speaker-