This is the final post in the Prospect to Customer Series. See links below to catch up posts that you missed!
I stay at the same hotel every time I visit one of my clients in Richmond, VA. It’s right in the middle of a group of different hotels, so I could really have my pick of any one. But I keep going back to that one for one big reason: the staff.
Now this isn’t the Ritz Carlton, and I’m not spending hundreds of dollars a night on my room. In fact, it’s the budget choice in a well-known hotel brand, and I’ve stayed at many of them across the country. But I have rarely encountered a hotel staff that goes out of their way in every interaction to make me feel important and well-taken care of. Because of this one hotel, I’m a loyal customer for life.
Of the 4 Levers, the People lever is the one that is most visible, and has the potential to make someone sing your praises or write a lengthy blog post about how badly your service sucks.
Creating a high-quality customer service environment means more than just saying it out loud and sticking it on a poster in the employee breakroom. It has to come alive in how your people treat everyone they come into contact with; whether the person is a buying customer or not.
A few simple ways that employees can make our day:
- Be Friendly: Being professional doesn’t mean that you have to be stuffy or formal. Showing genuine interest and being friendly makes me more comfortable with you.
- Make them feel special: Here’s my favorite thing that people do to make me feel special. They listen to me. Not only that, but when they tailor what they share with me based on my specific needs it saves both of us time and energy.
- Ask Questions: Asking questions shows me that you are paying attention to me and interested in what I'm sharing with you. It can also help you uncover needs that I didn’t even know I had, and gives you an opportunity to suggest something else you can do that could help.
- Set Expectations and then Deliver: Following through on what you say you will do should be one of the easiest parts of customer service, and yet it is where businesses consistently fall down. If something does happen that is going to affect your ability to follow-through, be sure to tell me that as soon as you can.
- Empower Your People: Help them help me. Give them the power to make at least small decisions that they don’t need to get approval for that answers my questions, or resolves my issue quickly and efficiently.
- Forget the Drama: When you are having a bad day, it’s easy to let that emotion come through in every interaction you have. Emails are short and terse. Your tone is annoyed and bothered. You have to contain the negative energy, otherwise you will inadvertently cause me to think the reason you’re in a bad mood is because of me.
So you may not be Zappos or the Ritz Carlton, but how you and your employees interact with everyone they touch can make a significant difference in your sales. Show the love, and they’ll show it to you in return.
If you missed any of the previous posts in the Prospect to Customer series, you can catch up by clicking the links below:
(photo credit by malfet)
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