Creating a Memorable Customer Experience
By: Carol Rovello & Cady Barrett
According to a recent study, attracting a new customer can cost up to five times as much as keeping an existing customer. Of course you want to build your customer base, but customer retention is also critical for organizational growth. An experience that exceeds expectations is essential for maintaining satisfied customers..
Not surprisingly, 81% of companies that provide excellent customer service are outperforming their competition. But, what do we mean by "customer service" and how do we get from satisfactory to memorable?
At SWS, we consider product quality, service, and hospitality to be three, equally important ingredients for a memorable customer experience. While you focus on your product quality, we can help you improve both service and hospitality.
As with all major initiatives, a sound infrastructure must be in place before employee training can be effective. You must first define your vision, mission, and culture, and identify your strategic goals. Then you can align operational policies, procedures, and customer service standards.
A lot rests with your leaders. They interpret organizational expectations and communicate them to employees. Ideally, they create a service climate that helps employees understand what they're supposed to and feel inspired to achieve excellence. Leadership development should always precede front-line customer service training because the best training can't overcome lack of clarity, inspiration, or support. The assessment shown at the top of this chart is referring to the evaluation you will conduct upon completion of your customer service initiative; however, assessment should be routinely conducted as part of your planning processes and upon completion of your development programs.
As you know, even in a down economy, good "customer
service" (meaning service and hospitality) is imperative, with 60% of consumers reporting that they will pay more for a better
customer experience. The employee behaviors that are expected - and get supported and
rewarded - should emphasize service excellence for internal as well as
external customers. For information regarding recent research that correlates a positive service climate with improved customer satisfaction and company success, CLICK HERE.
In addition to the above, how can you help your employees improve service?
Train your entire workforce regardless of their department or role within the organization.
When a customer becomes upset, the problem grows exponentially when no one can answer a question or help efficiently. Offer ongoing training for your staff to reinforce the importance of good customer service and build skills.
- Teach your employees to offer a solution when a problem arises. Help them:
Immediately shift to addressing the possible modes of resolution instead of focusing on the problem.
Offer several options for the customer to choose from.
Put themselves in the customer's place to better understand where they are coming from.
Clearly and calmly try to explain any limitations that do exist and may be causing the problem.
- Remind employees that customers (internal and external) are the reason
for work, not an interruption.
This old adage sounds like common sense in the workplace, but oftentimes it is overlooked when an employee gets caught up in the less important day-to-day tasks of an office/workspace. Good customer service must be a priority for your organization. Without customers, there is no organization!
- Teach basic etiquette, including the value of thank-you. Sincere gratitude goes a long way.
By making the interaction with customers personable, employees are creating a comfortable atmosphere that will make them want to return. For repeat customers, try to address them by name. Offer a handshake to introduce yourself. By creating a personable atmosphere you are helping the customer to be comfortable, and building relationships early can help diffuse adifficult situation should it arise.
Most organizations can continue to do business after losing a customer to a bad experience. But knowing that 91% of unhappy customers will never return to the organization again creates the impetus for building a service culture and instituting the infrastructure and developmental programs to consistently support it.
Our strategic approach helps you and your employees take the guess work out of customer service. Recognizing that each organization has different challenges, we customize our work to best meet your business goals, considering your industry, size, culture, and other pertinent factors. CONTACT US today to learn how we can help you better your customer service capabilities.