Do your customers feel like they are being celebrated when they experience you, your products and services? Do they feel like they just received the best birthday gift ever??
I am often asked, what does it take to dial in and move the needle in this area? and how do we maintain it, improve it and or change it?
Giving excellent customer, patient, client and guest experiences is something we all care about. As a physician caring about how our patients are treated in our practices. As retail store owners, caring about our customer experience in our stores is vital. As a hotel manager ensuring our guests are extremely happy with their stay and experience is important.
What does it take to dial in and move the needle in this area of your business?
It starts with putting yourself in your customer or guests shoes. How do you like to be treated? Next as a leader or manager you need to clearly define the customer experience expectation to your team and staff so they know what is expected.
Training and development and ongoing monitoring is key in this area.
First and foremost, being customer or guest experience focused is a must. Being clear about what kind of experience you want them to have while experiencing your products and services. Establishing a good reputation with your customers, clients and guests will reward you in time with repeat business and have people happily referring their friends, family and colleagues to you. Delivering and giving excellent customer service is important both for the customer and you in your business or organization.
So what makes for a WOW customer experience? What are the necessary ingredients to creating raving fans?
I was talking with a friend yesterday who was a General Manager for a well known hotel chain. We got to talking about guest experience, which reminded me of working for Thomas Cook Travel in the UK where customer service was everything. My friend shared with me how he went about encouraging quality control and service by improving the overall cleanliness of the hotel guest rooms. He placed coins in various area’s throughout the guest rooms and gave his housekeeping staff an incentive. Over a period of time the person with the most coins would win a TV. I thought what a great way to improve the guest experience by making sure the guest rooms were immaculately clean and whilst giving his housekeeping staff something to strive for. He was able to keep both his external guests happy and his internal staff while improving service and making it FUN!
One of the things I most recall of my days in the travel industry, and working for Thomas Cook Travel in the UK was just how much customer experience was ingrained in me. As a branch customer service manager my role was teaching, training and monitoring service that our sales consultants were providing to our customers. It was such a huge deal that our General Manager even had a video camera in his office to watch all of our customer service actions. All staff were regularly trained and graded on how well they delivered customer service and was something that was always discussed during staff performance appraisals. One of the things we would do to create a wow experience for our clients was to invite them into our VIP lounge, give them a glass of champagne, invite them to relax on our luxurious couch and consult with them, discussing their specific needs and desires for their most idyllic vacation. Followed by having them watch a travel experience on TV that matched their needs and wants before confirming their flights and hotel.
So What can you do to provide and give a WOW customer experience?
How do you create an experience that leaves your customer feeling like they just received the best birthday gift ever from you?
Here are three things you can do:
1. Extra Mile – Be willing to go the extra mile, above and beyond what your customers, clients or guests anticipate. Give them something to be surprised and excited about by offering something unexpected. Check in with them and ask them for their feedback on the service they received with your company, this could be even making random calls periodically to existing customers and also important is checking in with customers who may have decided not to use your products or services again and find out why? This creates opportunities for future growth, training needs and improvements.
2. Respect – Remembering that as a business or organization you are serving both internal and external customers. The people that consume and buy your products and services and your staff. Treating both your internal and external customers with respect is incredibly important. You wouldn’t treat your customers with respect and disrespect your staff would you?
3. Pulse – Keeping your finger on the pulse, knowing what is happening in your organization and business is key to quality control and service. You don’t need to micro manage but you do need to pay attention and keep your finger on the pulse, be in touch with what’s happening in your organization and business. This could mean checking communications that are being sent from your organization to your customers from your staff, checking to see if incoming emails are being handled effectively and timely. Maybe there are things happening in your organization that you are not aware of and that you should know about. While the intention is to build trust among your team and staff, it is not about micro managing them, rather by keeping your ear to the ground you are aware of potential problems early on that can be nipped in the bud before they become bigger problems and it is also a way to ensure that your expectations with communications are being met.
4. Retention – Imaging losing one of your raving fans, one of your best customers and not knowing why? This would bother you right? I know it would bother me greatly. Like when an employee leaves an organization, conducting exit interviews I think is very important. Unless you already know, perhaps they were let go. If not, understanding what went wrong or why a person chose to leave matters for lots of reasons. One reason is to learn where there are opportunities for a business or organization to grow. Why are we losing great people? What might we do different in the future? Where as a company or organization do we need to get better? Are there situations or communications that as a leader I am unaware of that may have caused this person to leave?
What are some of the ways you and your business, company and organization are giving WOW customer service?
How are you CELEBRATING both your internal and external customers & staff? Do they feel appreciated? Do they think and feel like they just received the best birthday gift ever from you?
Janet I Mueller is the author of her forthcoming book “The Blossoming – A Leaders Guide 10 Keys To Unlocking Your Blooming Potential” and “A Champion’s Guide To Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer. She is a mentor for the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, and recognized as a woman of outstanding leadership by the International Women’s Leadership Association. She is a parent educator, writer, coach and speaker. She helps her clients and audience inspiring and instructing helping them to become the best leaders they can be through personal growth and development and servant leadership http://janetimueller.com