Recently, I pondered this question.... For me a customer service experience starts on the day you first make the connection with a potential client or customer. That’s right, even before they have purchased from you. The whole interactive experience for a potential client or customer starts from the very first connection. This is the time that your first impression counts whether it is a face to face meeting, a phone conversation, email or over the internet. That first impression can be a lasting one.
A month or so ago, I purchased a product from a major Telco player. My initial connection with the company went seamlessly and the service I received was impeccable. What happened preceding that initial interaction was where the whole customer service experience came unstuck. I had inadvertently purchased a faulty product. A few days after purchasing the product and about to use it I realised my product was faulty. Returning to the place of purchase (with receipt in hand) I was sent on what could only be described as a 7 day run around. After a humiliating and disturbing interaction with the store manager I then took it in my own hands to go farther up the ladder. Now, the outcome although long winded was a suitable outcome and the service from ‘up the ladder’ was exceptionally good.
This example shows that customer interaction, relations and service are on-going from the point of enquiry through to the purchase of a product or service and the on-going relationships. Just because the purchase has been secured doesn’t mean the customer service interaction should be removed or forgotten.
In my business even after a client has finished a particular service the interaction continues. The interaction can come in many different formats according to the particular client. Interaction can include a ‘thank you for your business’ card, a follow-up phone call, email or letter. It totally depends on the client and the service that has been provided for that particular client. Follow up and providing a great if not exceptional customer service experience can be a simple cost effective solution to on-going product or service purchases, receiving referrals and being kept top of mind.
Do you have a great customer service solution for your business? Do you show gratitude to your clients, customers or consumers? If you would like to know more about a terrific referral/gratitude system, give me a call or email me.
Why not share a customer service experience.....
Many, many years ago I started working for a retail group. This group was so far ahead of their time it wasn’t funny. When I look back now at what I was taught back in the early 80’s this is what business are still trying to replicate to this day. It doesn’t matter if you are an on-line business or an off-line business the principles I was taught back then are still very relevant.
I was a young, green and naive girl back then, I was a sponge and very keen to soak up whatever was sent my way. I remember when I first started with this group I was sent home with two files of information that I was required to read before my first shift. One file contained basic product information and the ‘how to’ of the business. The second file was much more interesting to this enquiring mind. The second file was a “Formula For Excellence”. Boy, I ploughed through the information over and over again, soaking up all the information that was laid on the pages. The pages had been painstakingly typed by an old typewriter and diagrams were hand drawn. The information however, was up to date, exciting and most importantly relevant.
Now, I hear you ask why am I bringing up something from over 20 years ago? Well, just recently I found my file, my formula for excellence, I sat and read through the pages one by one, reminiscing a little, becoming that brash young 20 year old and then realizing that what I was reading was the formula I had put in place in my business. Without realizing I had been using that same formula throughout my working career and my business.
When I started my business I created a formula to work by using the word ‘Clarity’, although the wording is different the principles are the same. Although I had not read the old file from the past I realized that if I wanted my business to be a reflection of me, a reflection of my professionalism and a well regarded business I would need to have a formula to work by. When you are a soloist it is sometimes difficult to stay focused and on track so I spent time putting together my ‘Clarity Formula’. To this day I continue to use the formula in my business and with my business coaching clients.
Who would think that over 20 years later what was an exciting induction file for a retail group would end up becoming my formula for excellence?
Do you have a formula for excellence?
Wow, what a bold statement. Sometimes you get great service, sometimes ok service and rarely super, fabulous, awesome service. Occasionally you can feel like it is a privelege to be served by the service provider in some establishments.
Well, last weekend, hubby and I headed into Melbourne for a weekend just the two of us. We stayed at a particularly grand hotel at the top of town in Spring Street. I am so in love with this hotel, just this morning I mentioned my wake should be there if anything should happen to me.
From the moment you pull up outside in your car to the moment your weekend draws to a close the service is absolutely awesome. You are made to feel like you are the only people in the hotel for the weekend, nothing is too much trouble.
Once we checked into the hotel we preceded down to the wonderful walkways and arcades that Melbourne is so famous for. We decided lunch was in order and plonked ourselves down in a little laneway cafe. The service there was just fabulous. The waitress came back to make sure everything was in order, we were happy with the food, did we need another cup of coffee. The waitress returned several times and was unobtrusive, not pushy or 'selling', just very helpful and polite. In fact the whole weekend we encountered the most super, fabulous, awesome service where ever we went.
The art of fabulous customer service is not a dying practise, it is alive and well. Everywhere we went from small family run restaurants in China Town, large national department stores and laneway cafes and bars we encountered amazing service. Even the horse drawn carriage ride around the city on Saturday night, the driver was keen to oblige and take our photos for us on the carriage, even if there was a small queue of eager customers behind us.
This got me thinking, do we get back what we project? If we are a happy friendly customer do we automatically receive a happy friendly service?
Just recently on my free webinar series the end comments went something like this... customers and clients only remember two types of service, really super, fabulous, awesome service or really stinky service. Nobody remembers the mediocre service from a provider.
Of all the establishments we visited over the weekend, I have already told friends and family, recommended places and gave a big thumbs up on the services and places we ventured. The power of word of mouth marketing!
Guess what? It hasn't cost any of these businesses one cent!