How to get your customers to say WOW!

How to get your customers to say WOW!

Thumbs UpConsumers are more informed than ever before, and acutely aware of their options. An essential ingredient for success in any business is customer service that attracts a “wow” reaction.

Successful business people are constantly looking for new ways to delight their clients. They are always on the lookout to discover the response hot buttons that turn people on.

As customers, we can all recognize outstanding customer service when we experience it.

But there are still many businesses that do not reach minimum standards.

Not surprisingly, there are some individual consumers who hanker for a return to the types of service that the typical old-style corner grocer used to offer in the 1940s and 1950s. The trader of yesteryear used to take a personal interest.

He would know that your grandma was sick and would inquire about her. He’d put unusual or hard-to-get items aside for particular customers. He’d dole out broken biscuits for the kids. He looked after everyone’s needs and in so doing was an identity in the customer household. He truly did have a relationship with his customers.

Today it is all so much more complex.

If you sometimes feel that people try to complicate the simple truths of service excellence, then you are probably right.

In fact there are just a few key concepts for setting any business on the path to service excellence.

“Listening to customers” is probably the first of these.

Astute business people recognize that they cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand. If they ignore the changing demands and expectations of customers they are asking for trouble.

There is plenty of research indicating that people have significantly higher expectations as customers than they did just five years ago. These rising expectations create additional pressures for team members in service delivery – especially those in front office.

While formally commissioned market research is important for getting to know the wants and needs of your customer base, there is no substitute for being at the frontline and listening to the random concerns and the nuances that are expressed by the people who are supporting your business.

It is also important to be receptive to suggestions from new team members, who may have a different perspective.

Recruits have the advantage that they are seeing the company set-up and procedures with “new eyes” – just as new customers see it.

Beyond listening to customers, “keeping promises” is also a critical key element of good customer service.

In personal relationships, the surest way to destroy trust is to break promises.

Similarly, in business, it is an essential element of basic customer service to always keep promises. It is important to manage customer expectations and much better to under-promise and over-deliver rather than vice-versa.

Customers are “big” enough to live with delays or shortages occasionally – it is all a matter of how these things are presented. What they don’t like is being misled or messed around with.

When they are told delivery will take place at a particular time on a particular day, they expect that promise to be kept.

One definition of service is “to be useful.” This approach fits in very well in the marketplace. Most team members can more readily embrace the service concept if they think of it as being useful.

Empowering people in the front office is another key element.

When put in place effectively by a manager who has confidence in his people, empowering can have multiple benefits. It is great for customers who get hassles resolved on the spot. It conveys positive vibes to customers who get the feeling that they are dealing with a decision maker.

In addition, it is great for team members. Front office people who are empowered to make customers happy feel they themselves are being given due recognition. Such team members are far more likely to take a personal interest in their work and to act responsibly.