Creating true advocates to some people is the lifeblood of their business, they live and breathe the needs of their customers, being fully attentive at all times and consistently ‘in the moment’ delivering service excellence. However, as you will no doubt know from your own consumer experiences, this does not happen as often as we would like.
“From Ouch to Wow”
Hands up all those who want to deliver poor customer service
If you asked a room full of people, “how many of you would like to provide poor customer service?” You wouldn’t get too many putting their hands (if any). So why is it time and time again we see such appalling levels of service and a seemingly complete lack of desire to ‘wow’ the customer?
The answers are many and varied, but I’d like to share a few nuggets as to what businesses should be doing to develop a truly customer-centric and systemic approach to achieving world-class levels of service. When I say world class, let me quantify that:
We use the internationally recognised Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gather customer feedback which can range from -100 to +100 depending on how bad or how outstanding the service you provide is.
The NPS is the balance between all those that would promote your business and all those that would be detractors of your business, -100 if everybody was a detractor and +100 if everyone was a promoter.
It is recognised that companies delivering world-class levels of service are consistently achieving an NPS of 70 or above (Apple, Costco, John Lewis & Waitrose, for example).
Where do businesses fall down when providing customer service?
If there are three particular areas that in my experience a lot of businesses lose sight of, it would be these:
- Being customer-centric
- Listening to what customers think and say
- Grasping the opportunity to turn a poor customer experience into a great one
Put the customer at the centre of what you do and your key business decisions. The minute you start making decisions that make the life of the business easier at the expense of the customer, you are going backwards in the long run and losing advocates. The challenge is that decisions may well look good on paper offering short-term gains, but this is your call.
Being customer-centric is easier said than done. You will be under pressure to achieve and improve your KPIs, but all key decisions should be taken with one thought in mind, “Is this going to improve the customer experience?”.
Listen to what your customers have to say
However you do it, make sure you find out and know. ‘what the word on the street’ is about you and your business.
Soliciting feedback is fundamental for two reasons:
- Better to find out proactively what you could be doing differently to improve the customers experience further – because it will demonstrate understanding and a willingness to improve
- Finding out what you do well is equally valuable, but most importantly it is the perfect springboard for asking for referrals
Turn the ‘Ouch’ into a ‘Wow’
When you learn about a poor customer experience, seize the moment, deal with it instantly as that is your opportunity to turn an ‘ouch’ into a ‘wow’. All too often people get defensive and try to excuse what has happened rather than ‘fess up’ and deal with it immediately.
None of us like bad news, less still to understand that we have let someone down, but that is your opportunity to say, “sorry, we messed up, what can we do to put things right?”. Nothing will impress a customer more than when you admit you were wrong, or that you messed up and when you demonstrate that you want to put things right. Why? Because it instantly puts them at the centre of your focus, demonstrates honesty and a desire to serve and to serve well.
How do you turn this into delivering world-class customer service?
- Ensure your customers are at the very centre of everything you do. Your major business decisions are with the customer in mind.
- Keep tabs on what your customers think of you and your business. Develop a culture of asking for feedback.
- Look out for when things go wrong, don’t get busy on your defence, get busy on creating your next advocate.
If you would like to know more about how to consistently wow your customers and develop a truly customer-centric business, call us on 0115 940 4966 or fill in our contact form.