Want to keep your current customers coming back? Want to attract and keep new customers?
There’s one key word to providing the kind of exceptional customer experience that will do just that.
We learned it on Friday. We spent the day interviewing employees of one of our client companies. As we asked questions of employees individually, we couldn’t help but notice they all had the same thing to say.
“What’s the most important thing you do to attract and keep customers?”
“I treat customers the way I would want to be treated.”
To a person, the employees of this successful midwestern bank, said that they put the needs of the customers first. They treat their customers they way they would want to be treated.
We always talk about treating customers with kindness and professionalism to create the most delightful customer experience possible. On Friday, I added an important word to my customer experience vocabulary:
Empathy means you put yourself in the position of your customer and act accordingly. And what could be more important to providing a delightful shareworthy customer experience than that.
Practically speaking, this means:
1. Use plain language that your customer can understand, leaving behind your “insider speak.” Don’t use jargon or abbreviations known only to industry insiders, but explain concepts and products with words your customer knows and understands.
2. Serving your customers trumps any sort of prescribed schedule. Employee breaks, changing cash drawers and running hourly reports are important. However, they should not take precedence over your waiting customers. If you MUST interrupt service to perform a task related to personnel or management, explain and apologize to customers who may be waiting.
3. You don’t need to know all the answers but you do need to be willing to find them. Part of essential customer service is researching the answers to questions your customers are asking, and solving problems they actually have, and replying to them in a timely fashion.
4. Be willing to build a relationship with your customer without expecting a sale right away. Investing time to explain and teach is a valuable relationship-builder and worth the time in the long run.
5. In a weary, rushed world, choose to be the smile that brightens your customer’s day, no matter what. Choose to smile. Choose to welcome. Choose to delight.
With more people entering your business this week than perhaps any other time of the year, why not consciously put the principles and actions of empathy into action.
This week, treat each customer as you would like to be treated.