Today I’m getting back to my roots. My business passion roots, that is.
You see, I fell in love with Customer Service when I was only 17 years old and employed to an international bank in Jamaica. Yes, I was young. I actually was hired at 16 years and 5 months. The HR Administrator knew my age and was aware that I’d just graduated from High School a month before, but I passed both the clerical and typing skills with flying colors, and so I was hired. I really think my height at 5’8” helped though.
The Attraction Phase with Customer Service
A few months after I was hired in the Foreign Exchange Department, several of us from the bank were sent on a 5-day Customer Service training. As I progressed through the training, Customer Service and I became attracted to each other.
Falling in Love with Customer Service
Once we returned to work and began to implement the training, I could immediately see the difference it made. Since this was the main branch in the capital, it was huge, and people often walked through the front door looking pretty lost. Especially when their purpose was to purchase a bank draft to send overseas. It was new territory for many. The transformation on their face was an absolute delight when they heard a pleasant greeting and turned to see a smiling, welcoming face! They relaxed…and smiled right back. It changed their experience.
My attraction to Customer Service also changed. I fell in love.
It was not a one-sided romance either, because the practice of good Customer Service with internal (employees at different levels) and external customers (customers, vendors and associates) served me well in my time with the bank and later in my 16 year career with another international company.
The Impact of Social Media on Customer Service
Over the years, with the advancement of technology and the ability to do business and make purchases online without involving a human, has Customer Service become irrelevant? Not at all! It’s more relevant than ever. In fact, consumers expect good customer service, and if they’re not happy they have no hesitation in spreading the word. Social media provides an easy outlet, with the various platforms, on which to share information.
In fact, shortly after starting to write this article I went on Facebook and read the negative experience someone had, just today, at a professional office in our area. This post had so far garnered 15 comments by her followers, many of whom appeared to have had similar experiences with this business, and were quite harsh in their comments. I suspect that over the ensuing days there will be many more comments.
Now imagine if the writer of that Facebook post has 3,000 friends and conservatively each of the 15 persons who commented so far had 1,000 friends. Even with the algorithms as they are, that single post has the potential to reach 15,000 people.
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” — Jeff Bezos, Fast Company interview
In an article published on Forbes.com Customer Service Expert, Shep Hyken noted, “Your customers no longer compare you just to your direct competition. You are being compared to the best service they have ever received – from any company or any person. It could be a vendor, a retail store, even an online seller – any business. Customers now know what great customer service looks like, and they expect it from you.”
The Gladly’s Customer Service Expectations Survey noted that “consumers are also becoming more active on social media when it comes to sharing their experiences compared to 2017. In terms of sharing positive experiences, we saw a sizeable 12% increase in sharing over last year (from 28% to 40%), with a commensurate 11% increase in sharing negative experiences (from 31% to 42%).
What this Shift Means
“Customer service is the experience we deliver to our customer. It’s the promise we keep to the customer. It’s how we follow through for the customer. It’s how we make them feel when they do business with us.” – Shep Hyken
For individuals marketing on and offline it means that customers EXPECT you to deliver excellent customer service. If not, they have no hesitation in letting you know about it by ceasing to do business with you. At the same time, they have multiple platforms with easy access that allow them to voice their displeasure. This shift means that for your business to rise beyond mediocre, and stand out above the crowd, you have to create an experience for your customer. Their expectations are much higher.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
In view of the foregoing, it means that there has to be something in what you offer or in the delivery of your products or service to create a WOW! experience. It’s incumbent that you demonstrate a willingness to go the extra mile to make your customers feel valued and important to you and to your business.
What can you do in your business to create an experience that makes your customers say, WoW?
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