Take a moment and think about the last time you thought like a customer. Perhaps it was when you were standing in line waiting to buy an early Christmas present. Or as you were waiting in line to board a plane. As you waited patiently or impatiently, what was your mood? Did you think there has to be a better way to treat customers? Or did you just think, “I guess that’s just the way it is!”
The fact remains that excellent customer service is a positive differential – a value add!
Thinking like a customer builds the foundation for:
- Increased customer retention
- Quick customer problem resolution
- Building trust and improving your industry
- Building a positive reputation
Remember to act like a small business and think like a customer to keep that mindset. View your customers through the lens that No. 1, they are people, and not numbers.
Ponder these questions: Who will my customers be three years from now? What is the organization doing to earn and nurture long-term, mutually beneficial strategic relationships? Our industry is changing rapidly, is your organization prepared for the change? The watch words in many companies is control costs (at any cost) in line with some companies, reduce staff or shortened hours of operation. In many cases this has negatively impacted customer service and the customer experience.
Excellence in the customer experience is the lifeblood of any organization. According to Bain and Company at Harvard Business School, “Eighty percent of companies believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only eight percent of their customers agree.”
What is your customer satisfaction index? Have you polled your customers for feedback? The customer experience often seems to be ethereal, something that appears as if by magic. Think of Southwest Airlines.
The good news is that great customer service does not require knowledge of magical incantations. It springs from the human touch, (yes, human) not your smart phone. The action word is commitment, responding to the needs of your clients and displaying empathy, is what I call the customer journey.
There is a danger today, to be too internally focused. Who is the voice of the customer in your organization? It is paramount to remember that for long-term success, the customer experience needs to be seen as the sum-total of how the customer engages with the company and its brand, as well as the entire arc of being a customer.
World-class customer service starts with good employee morale. Do your employees feel good about what they do? Do they feel appreciated? Have your customer service professionals ever met a live customer? Do they understand the needs of your customers?
The question behind the question is: Does your company value customer service or view it as a necessary evil? Invariably, companies that care about their people are in a better position to ask them to care about the customers.
Building a culture of customer focus:
F – Frame the needs of your customer.
O– Organize your company’s capabilities to determine the scope of your customer’s business objectives
C– Collect and seek data from you customer. What is their product story?
U– Understand the true voice of your customer. Listen to gain insight. Vis-à-vis their concerns and opportunities.
S-Select an action plan that generates and executes the plan to clearly address the needs of their customer.
Articulate the mission that every employee in your organization WORKS for the customer! Customers are not statistics – they are people.