As businesses reemerge, decisions about marketing, your pipeline, employees, and customers are at the forefront of managerial staff meetings. What’s tricky is no one knows how changes in our new environment will affect these areas. It’s hard to plan.
However, there is one topic that our team at Open Door Media Solutions, LLC, thinks companies of all sizes should pay close attention to – Customer Service. Your Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) serve your customers. They are the face of your company.
Extensive training should accompany the acquisition of CSRs, followed by relevant updated revisions for all CSR staff. Technology and products continuously update, people need refreshers, and company policies change.
And now our whole world is in disarray. How are you preparing your CSRs for what is already upon you and what lies ahead? Organizations that think through the results of having excellent customer care will come out on top. Today’s leaders cannot let this area slide.
Leaders and employees alike need to be inspired. Gallup shows nearly 70% of employees are disengaged and are doing the bare minimum. The employees who don’t care will reflect poorly on your company’s brand when interacting with customers.
Customers are people who are looking for some resemblance of normalcy in their shopping experiences again. They are hoping to have an above-average experience in your place of business, whether in your store, on the phone, or on your website.
Invest in the training of CSRs. Celebrate people who are doing it right, encourage growth in adhering to new policies, use rewards to reenergize, and make working at your organization fun.
Here are four simple principles and recent, noteworthy examples of customer service experiences.
1. Let customers know what you are going to do, and then do that.
In July, while on a call with Priceline, the CSR that helped me was meticulous about communicating what she was going to do and how long I would be placed on hold.
It was overkill in my thinking, but I also appreciated how careful she was being. There were no surprises. I could tell she was the kind of person able to preempt escalations and keep customers calm.
2. Think through and implement processes that take the customer experiences to a higher level.
Mark, a business man, recently visited a hotel that has breakfast as a part of its amenities. Mark and his wife frequent this hotel when they travel.
Because of the pandemic, they had to fill out a form on a clipboard and hand it back to the masked lady behind the Plexiglas, to let her know what they wanted for breakfast. They had to stand on an “X,” constant reminders of the world we live in right now.
Communication was almost non-existent. Then they were told it would be in a bag, at the lobby, for them to pick up in the morning.
For Mark and his wife, this was a cold and impersonal experience; it was not what they were used to from this hotel chain.
How could this hotel have changed these customers’ experience? In this case, there were very few guests. They could have taken their order personally and delivered the breakfast bags to their door in the morning.
3. Treat all your customers as if they are shopping at Mercedes Benz.
When you think of establishments that have excellent customer service, you think of Mercedes Benz, Ritz-Carlton, and other high-end businesses, because they have big-ticket products and services. But does Walmart come to mind? No. You go there for relatively low-priced items and to save money.
When I am at Walmart, I usually have to try to hunt down an associate if I need help finding something. Imagine my surprise last month when a Walmart associate actually came to me as I was in electronics looking for a power cord for my phone! I will never forget that because it is unusual for a Walmart employee to seek someone out and to offer help.
And I’m sure she saw how surprised I was when I looked at her as if to say, “Dear woman, do you not know that you are a Walmart employee?” I thanked her very much for her attention and knowledge, which led me to purchase the right cord.
4. Treat every customer as though they are the most important person in your life.
Two weeks ago, I visited Talbots. Mom insisted on buying me a new outfit.
The woman who tended to our every whim was the most exceptional person we met all day. The excellent customer service we experienced with her started with an earlier phone call my mom placed to make sure they were open and that I could try on clothes. Many stores are not letting anyone use the dressing rooms because of COVID concerns. She assured us we could try on clothes.
The associate’s positive attitude over the phone made us feel welcome before we arrived. Once we entered the store, she greeted us and even remembered my mom’s name from the last time she was there! She offered us some water bottles and set me up with a changing room. She laid out all the COVID rules about leaving clothes I tried on inside the room.
We knew what to expect from beginning to end and never felt rushed. I’m sure she had other duties to do, but you would never know from her demeanor. Everything she did and said was all about her customers.
How will you create positive experiences for your customers, so you receive glowing reports like my Talbots review? When everything around you reminds you of COVID, how will you create an oasis – an escape – from it all? While we can’t avoid it altogether, diminishing how COVID affects your customer’s experiences is how to “Wow” them and keep them coming back. Will you invest in the training of your CSRs to make that happen? Those who do will reap long-lasting rewards.