What do the best businesses in the world, who deliver exceptional customer service, do differently than others? They have empowering leaders at all levels of the organization who ensure the guest experience is accurate, easy, and personalized.
I recently read The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and Wow by Joseph A. Michelli. He talks about delivering a service promise that is built upon the following three pillars:
Michelli defines accurate as “delivering exactly what customers want the first time you serve them.” I believe that means you do whatever is necessary to ensure that…
- Your product meets or exceeds a customer’s expectations
- Your business honors appointment times
- Your costs are transparent and accurate (no hidden fees)
- Your employees have deep product knowledge
Michelli defines easy as “reducing the overall effort required for customers to get their needs met.” I reached out to my followers on Facebook and asked them what makes a business easy to work with when buying a product/service. Some of their ideas are listed below.
- Business resolves problems without putting them back on the customer to resolve
- Business provides transparent communication and responds promptly to emails/calls
- Business provides flexibility when the customer needs it
- Business process/systems are streamlined so you minimize redundancy
- Business makes it right for the customer if they get it wrong
- Business follows through with their commitments
- Business does not transfer customer to multiple people
Michelli makes the point that “delighting customers” with personalized service should not be your first priority. The first step is making the experience accurate and easy. Only then do you open the door to make the experience personalized. A few ways you can make the experience personalized are the following:
- Know your customers name
- Know the order of repeat customers
- Talk to customers like they are part of your family
- Provide personal recommendation based on their specific needs/interest
- Send thank you cards or gifts of appreciation
- Listen to your guest
- Demonstrate empathy for what they are going through
The customer experience is everyone’s responsibility. It is vital that executive leadership teams create the vision and expectation for the customer experience. Mid-level manager must then empower, motivate, and hold employees accountable to the expectation through feedback and recognition. Finally, individual contributors should use their unique strengths and authenticity to bring the vision to life so that customers have a consistent experience every time they interact with your organization.
A great customer experience isn’t left to chance. It is intentionally crafted, well communicated, and executed with passion and accountability. Every business would benefit by discovering ways to make their customer experience more accurate, easy, and personalized.