How To Create Memorable Customer Service By Focusing On This
I write and speak a lot about customer service because I am fascinated how some companies and individuals excel in this area and others fail miserably. What’s the difference in success or failure when it comes to taking care of your customers? There are many things that make up great customer service, but in my years of experience and observation, I keep honing in on a theme that leads to happy and loyal customers.
I was preparing a presentation on this topic several months ago and I decided to scrap all the previous things I had done and start over. Customer service is a topic that has been talked and written about so much over the years, I was determined not to recycle a bunch of tired material. I wanted my talk to be memorable - something the audience would really take to heart. That thought described exactly what I was looking for. We should want our service to be so good that our patrons will never forget AND go tell others about it. I believe the path to memorable service is through a person’s heart.
People want to do business with companies and other people that make them feel good. In most cases, the product or service doesn’t really matter. I guess it’s probably easier to feel good buying something like ice cream than buying a toilet, but let’s face it, both are pretty important. The point is, the main thing is how a customer is treated – and that comes down to how one human being makes another feel during an interaction. And make sure it’s an interaction, not just a transaction. Transactions are simple exchanges of money for goods or services. True interactions are when we make a connection with our customers, even if it’s for a brief moment.
While I’ve been lucky to visit some 5-star type places in my life, those are not the first that come to mind when I think of my best service experiences. My top memories are from more modest businesses, but the employees made me feel special. I was having fun. I absolutely knew whoever was helping me was fully invested in making sure my time there was great.
A customer can use his/her head and observe what type of business you are running. Does the place look nice aesthetically? Is it clean? Do the employees conduct themselves professionally? Do they say the “right” things when interacting with me? These are all important – and may help determine an overall perception of the business - but they aren’t the way to a customer’s heart. In a previous post I mentioned that addressing the needs of your patrons and showing genuine care about their experience are what separate some businesses from the rest of the pack.
Your business may have the best facilities, technology, amenities, etc., but if your employees aren’t reaching customers on a deeper level, you’ll never be great. People will always be the most important asset of any business. The more technology advances, the more we seem to lose real connection with others. Remember, people want to feel good when they spend their money at an establishment. Not just good about the value of what they pay for – but good inside because of the way they are treated. Smiles, handshakes, pats on the back, eye contact, and genuine interest in a customer go a long way. These may be simple, but they’re becoming more uncommon in a technological age that allows us to get things done without human contact. These “basic” things are now a chance to stand out from the crowd.
Look for special situations each day to “surprise” your customers. I call them Hero Moments and they go above and beyond the norm. These moments will most likely require extra effort but will resonate tremendously with customers because they don’t get it anywhere else. In his great book Raving Fans, Ken Blanchard says “Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing it better.” If that is true, then we have been given a gift – an opportunity to really shine!
Remember, it’s not all about amenities and pampering. Those things are great, but they don’t touch a person’s heart. Most people have enough serious things going on in their lives at any given time. Give them a break from all that. Create an atmosphere at your company that makes your customers feel warm inside when they do business with you. They may start by using their head (Google, research, referrals, etc.), but it’s how you reach their hearts that will determine if they remember you; if they come back; and if they tell others. Yes, you need a great product or service, but ultimately it’s about impacting people more significantly
If you want your customers to love you and remember you, then focus on hearts more than heads.
Win their hearts and they’ll never forget.