ARE YOU EASY OR DIFFICULT to do business with? Would your customers rate your products and services as top-quality? Or would they try you once and move on? In a recent Bain & Company survey, 80% of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8 percent of their customers agree. Why is there such a large gap and how can it be fixed?
Customers, clients and constituents are in a perpetual state of service experience evaluation. They evaluate you on an ongoing basis — every time they interact with your people, your products, and your processes. Every one of these interactions presents an opportunity to strengthen or weaken your customer relationships and your bottom line. Realize that every aspect of any organization, whether visible to the customer or not, plays an important role in your customer’s experience.
What Do Customers Want?
In our work with many clients, we have found that customer delight is based on three major factors: We call them the “3 P‘s”
The People Experience:
What is it like to deal with your business? Whether it’s the neighborhood cafe, the telephone company or the city government, people play a major role in the overall customer experience. Not only do they physically interact with customers in person, on the telephone and over the internet, but they are also responsible for carrying out your policies, procedures, and strategic initiatives.
The Process Experience:
How well do you deliver your products or services? Every process should be designed to strengthen the service experience — and never to weaken it. The process experience occurs with almost every customer transaction, from buying a new car to applying for a passport to ordering a pizza. No matter how good your product is, your customer will rate the quality of your product based on how you treated them, how you handled their order and most importantly how you resolved their problem.
The Product Experience:
Does it do what it says it going to do? Customers care about performance. Customer delight starts with identify your customers or customer groups and their differencing needs and expectations. A strong product experience will help you retain existing customers and attract new ones because satisfied customers will naturally recommend you to others.
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Bringing the 3P Experience to Your Business
Make customer focus a way of life.
Start from day one to talk about your customers, who they are, what they want and how everyone must meet their needs and expectations. That means every employee and every department share the responsibility for the customer, not just “customer service”. Use group meetings, memos, posters bulletin boards and in-house publications to build customer consciousness throughout the organization
2. Hire the right people from the start.
Great people may cost 50% or more than mediocre people, but they can frequently be ten times more productive. Assemble a first-class team of service-oriented managers and staff. They will provide better service than those who think the customer is “a pain” or is not important to what they do. Your front line staff particularly needs to be well hired, well trained and well treated.
3. Then train all of them in customer care skills.
If you expect your employees to provide outstanding service, then they need to know how to strengthen the service experience of your customers. For example, they must be able to greet the customer professionally, use question to uncover exactly what the customer needs, listen carefully and show a sincere willingness to be of assistance. Whether you choose a skills training program or brief TIPS meetings, make sure your workforce has the tools to delight all your customers all the time.
4. Set standards so customers experience consistency.
Don’t make employees guess at what you mean by, “Give good service.” As more hands touch each customer, you may find that one person’s interpretation of good service differs from the next. One health care facility gave everyone a two-column service card. In the first column were the standards or “how we serve the customer” and the second were specific behaviors or “how the customer will know this”.
5. Make sure everyone is talking to each other.
Strengthen teamwork within and among the many departments that serve the customer. Sales or business development should be talking to production or program managers; finance to IT folks; and customer service to everyone. Getting and retaining customers requires teamwork and responsibility for the customer does not reside in just one department.
Smart Moves Tip:
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, said,
Listen to everyone in your company, especially the ones who actually talk to the customers. They really know what’s going on out there.[su_spacer]
Therefore, hold regular brainstorming sessions to come up with new or better ways to delight the customer. For example, break a typical customer transaction down into its individual steps and get employees thinking about ways to add a “delight” factor or take away the hassles in each step.
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How well are you providing the “3P’s” experience in your business?
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