In the competitive and chaotic world of Customer Experience Management, there is a tendency to overlook the basics. When it comes down to it, the old adage “treat others the way you wish to be treated” rings true now more than ever. In our attempts to differentiate our business, and in our obsession over Ideal Customer Service Delivery, have we lost sight of this? I’m hoping not!
Exceptional customer experience begins with respect and relationship building. I believe there are several fundamental truths that resonate regardless of the industry, type of service you provide, or your target audience.
Here are my five core values to great Customer Experience delivery:
- Treat others as you wish to be treated: Say “hello”, be polite, and don’t talk on your cell phone when you are interacting with someone. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But how many times have you dealt with someone more interested in their phone conversation than you?
- The little things: Often times it isn’t the big things that we remember, it’s all those little ones. Taking a little extra time to do something special for someone can yield great returns. Here’s an example: The Ladies’ room of my favorite Thai restaurant in Miami is more like a Zen spa destination. I’ve lost count of the number of girlfriends I have taken there who comment on the details, particularly the way the individual towels are folded! Do the test. Check out the bathrooms in your favorite restaurant next time you go.
- The human touch: Establishing a personal relationship with every customer at each touch-point is easier than you might think…and it’s quite a natural thing to do. I recently read an article about the manager of an NYC boutique hotel who went out of her way to offer up her own personal anecdotal comments and stories to guests when they walked into the lobby with bags of clothes from nearby Greenwich Village shops. No doubt she bonded well with the target group for the hotel, but isn’t that the point? Wouldn’t you rather stay somewhere where all the staff, management and front-line, “get you”?
- Be “offensive”, not defensive! Sound counter-intuitive or crazy? Actually offensive also means to be proactive. Think of a sports analogy: the offense is the front-line group engaged to win and create success. Be proactive, especially when you know you have done the wrong thing or failed in your delivery. Be open and honest and invite your “wounded” customer back for a free meal, drink, sample product, etc.
- Smile: It’s amazing what an impact this simple gesture can make. A smile can help every interaction start off on a positive note. Go out today and count the number of service touch-points you experience. Don’t offer up a smile yourself and the count how many front-line staff smile at you first. Send me your findings, with all the gory details, and let’s publish the results.
Jane, I think you’ve summarized beautifully the heart and soul what it takes to create a great Customer Experience.
Every customer is first and foremost, a human being. And as humans, we crave attention and respect from others. All the technology, process-mapping and sophisticated techniques in the world won’t produce a great experience if those five values aren’t present.
Perhaps the technology and techniques are merely tools that allow us to act out the five values more easily.