If you want to learn a new language you have to work at it. To create consistently great customer experiences you have to work at that too! Those that work on it and practise consistently are the ones that become 'fluent' in it. The basic foundation of any language is its alphabet, and it's the ability to combine the right letters in that alphabet that helps people to 'master' the language. So I thought I'd try and develop an alphabet for customer service!
Are you 'completely happy'? Yes or No - A great question to ask your customers
Be prepared to do something as a result of their response
Champion your champions - recognise and reward those who deliver great service in your business (and while you're at it, 'Challenge your Challengers' - those that don't!)
Delight your customers - strive to 'exceed their expectations'
Empower your people - give them permission, encouragement and training to deliver a great service
Find your customers' problems and solve them
Get 'personal' - make sure that customers recognise you care by tailoring things specifically to them
High expectations - your job is to keep raising your customers' expectations and then continually strive to exceed them. It's never ending (Hey, I never said this was easy!)
Incentivise your people - what's the reward in your business for 'going the extra mile'? In too many businesses, the 'reward' is more work!
Just ring up a customer and ask 'how are things?'
Keep in touch - but make it 'two- way'. Think 'Dialogue, not Diatribes'!
Listen to your customers..... this is a follow on to 'Keeping in Touch. Do it properly please - no Lip service and please pass on what you hear to others in the business
Memorable stuff is what gets customers talking. Be memorable! (In a good way please!!!)
Never underestimate the power of a simple smile or acknowledgement
Old fashioned ways can work - write personal notes to your customers and your staff (I emphasise 'write', not 'type')
Planned spontaneity - build 'surprises' into your processes to make your customers feel good (Again, It's 'good' surprises only please!)
Queues - Stand in your own. What's it like to be a customer of your business?
Ring up your own business too, and while you're at it, go on your own website, visit your own depot and sit in your own reception - what sort of 'experience' do your customers get?
Sales Prevention Officers - the things, systems, processes and people that irritate or annoy your customers - identify and eliminate them!
Thank you - say it to your customers (and your people)
Understand why your customers choose you and buy from you. If you don't know, ask them!
Valued - make your customers feel 'valued' -go out of your way to demonstrate you care
Wow reactions - that's what you're aiming for. What do you do to 'wow' your customers?
Xterminate 'scriptease' - when it's easier to follow the script than to engage and interact with customers
You are a role model - It's not what you say, it's what you 'do' that counts! What do your people see you doing (or not doing)?
Zappos - see how they do it, and learn from them.
This is clearly the alphabet according to Andy Hanselman here in Sheffield in the UK! I'd love to hear from anyone else around the world about their 'interpretation' of the letters. We could maybe create a multi-lingual version! Please let me know what you think!