Have a smile with the customer

Have you ever been out in a crowded place like the mall or  waking down a busy street or passing a person at work and smiled at them? What was the reaction from the person you smiled at? Some may not have smiled back, some may have turned their heads away, some may have given the nodding gesture or a quick wave of the hand. The list of outcomes that could happen are too many for me to name in this post.  One to think about though is the person that smiles back at you. Whether you realize it or not. You have just established an emotional connection with that person. How does that make you feel when you receive a responding smile?

There have been several conversations about how many muscles it takes to produce a smile and how many it takes for a frown. I’ll share a few here.

From the Snopes  site https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/happiness-is-only-grin-deep/

They mention a few.

One deep-fried-Zen adage advises: “It takes 13 muscles to smile and 33 to frown. Why overwork?”
(The Washington Post, 5 December 1982)

It’s easier to smile than to frown. A smile uses 17 muscles, a frown, 43.
  (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 24 February 1997)

Don’t they know it is said you use 35 muscles to frown and four to smile? Why tire yourself?
([Queensland] Sunday Mail, 18 August 1991)

According to doctors we use only four muscles to smile, but when we frown we use 64 muscles — 16 times more.
(The Hindu, 11 March 2000)

When you smile your face delivers a signal to the brain that you are happy. The brain has a connection of some kind to the muscles in your face to say something about your emotional state.  A simple genuine, honest smile can make a difference in how the rest of your day goes.

Let’s try and relate the smile with the customer service  experience. Here are a few statics on how smiling can help in the customer service experience.

From the Toky blog
https://blog.toky.co/why-a-smile-will-improve-your-customer-service-experience/

A good smile can increase confidence by up to 10%, studies have shown. This impression can be seen by people as a vital component in the sales process.

It helps build a good first impression of your business; a customer will always prefer to do business with someone who is happy.

From the Qminder site
https://www.qminder.com/smile-in-customer-service/

Around 73% of customers say they fall in love with a brand thanks to friendly employees. Meanwhile, over 58% of customers are willing to spend more money with companies that provide excellent service.

From the Nicereply blog
https://www.nicereply.com/blog/the-role-of-smile-in-customer-service/

Willingness of participants trust towards another person increased 10%, if the person smiled.

A smile is critical in having a successful customer service experience. And guess what? It does not cost you anything.  As you interact with your customer today keep these few suggestions in the forefront of your mind.

A smile can really set the tone of how the customer interaction is going to go. If you are looking for a positive outcome smile today.

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A smile can give your customer a feeling of trust. The customer may be more willing to share their concerns with you. Which may result in a successful resolution.

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A smile sets that initial emotional bond that is the building block for a lasting customer relationship.

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A smile is the antidote that gives the other person hope knowing that you care and value them as a person. Make the smile genuine and authentic. You never know what that other person may be going though and your smile could be the life changer.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog. If you found the content customer service educating. Please share.

#customerserviceisreal

Why does a customer leave without saying anything?

Have you ever had a customer service experience that left you unfulfilled? One where you had high expectations  and when you got there it just wasn’t what you thought. Or have you watched an ad on TV where they show that good food for a restaurant? You know how they make the food look so inviting and delicious that you just want to stick your face to the TV! So, you go to that restaurant and order the food. It comes out looking nothing like what you saw on TV “sad face“. You think in your mind, “This is not what it looked like on TV” and you feel a little dissatisfied. Even more so if the food is not good. You leave the restaurant not saying a word about your experience thinking it will be better next time. You feel disappointed, unfulfilled and now still hungry because the food was not good and you didn’t even eat it all! Will there even be a next time based on this experience?

Why does this happen? Why does the customer leave without saying a word, voicing their concerns?

Here are some stats that share some information.

 

The No. 1 reason why customers stay or leave. … 60% of all customers stop dealing with a company because of what they perceive as indifference on the part of salespeople. 70% of customers leave a company because of poor service, which is usually attributed to a salesperson. Jun 10, 2013
http://www.customerexperienceinsight.com/the-no-1-reason-why-customers-stay-or-leave/

5 Reasons Customers Leave
1% pass away
3% move
14% are lured by a competitor
14% are turned away by product or service dissatisfaction
68% leave because of poor attitude or indifference on the part of the service provider
http://www.insightsfromanalytics.com/blog/bid/335381/5-Reasons-Customers-Leave-and-9-Ways-to-Keep-Them

For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.
Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

A typical business hears from 4% of it’s dissatisfied customers.
Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner

 

I have a couple of thoughts on why this might be the case.

 

  1. Why bother
    You may have this feeling of “what difference will it make?” A sense of helplessness, that no one is going to correct the problem anyway and it would just be a waste of your time.
  2. Attention
    Some customer service experiences you may not want the focus on you. It may seem as though you are making a scene. A feeling of being embarrassed. It might be better if nothing is said.
  3. Backlash/Argument
    In some customer service experiences when they are not good and you try to bring it to the attention of someone they take offence. “Oh! you didn’t like the way I prepared the dish?” “You should have asked for no sauce!” “No, we can’t refund this.” “All sales are final!” Some of these exchanges could make for a heated argument and may even cause the support/service person to make it more difficult for you as the customer.

 

So, if you are someone who likes to avoid conflict (I am one of these people) You may find it best in most cases to just say nothing about your customer service experience and just hope the next time it will be better. What if that’s not the case? What if you never go back to that restaurant or you never purchase that product again? That company will never get the chance to know how you felt. 

As the customer, it should not be ok to endure a bad experience or just go along with it. I have listed a few tips that could be helpful in allowing you to recover from a not so pleasant experience.

Do speak up pexels-photo-105472.jpeg
If you have spent money on a product/service and it’s not right. You must say something about it. It is up to the business to make it right with you. The business has a responsibility to honor their commitment in providing a quality service/product to you.

Write the companypexels-photo-209641.jpeg
If the service/product is not what was promised and you feel like if you say something now you will make a scene (turn heads in a public setting). Take some time and write a letter to the company about the product or service and how you didn’t get what you were promised Talk about how the experience made you feel (I have done this a few times and received a positive outcome each time).

Sharepexels-photo-267350.jpeg
Social media is a wonderful tool in reaching the masses. If you are not getting the desired feedback at the service level (at the shop, restaurant, store etc.). Then reach out on your social media channels. It’s almost a given that what you are feeling about your experience someone else has the same feeling but were not willing to say it because of the above points I stated earlier. As a bonus to you sharing you might just give that other person the courage to do the same the next time he or she has a bad customer experience.

pexels-photo-273011.jpegFollow up
Request feedback from the company about the service/product you had the bad customer experience from. Ask how they plan to make it better. Ask them when they plan to make the change to service their customers better. Let them know you will follow-up in a couple of weeks to see where they are at with what they said they would do. Hold the business accountable.

 

Remember as the customer have options and resources. We have to be ready to use them when the customer experience does not go correctly. We should never be made to feel as though we are the problem. We are the priority. Without the customer the business would not exist.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. If you feel this content is customer service useful. Please share.

#customerserviceisreal

Making it right when it went not so well.

 

We talk a lot in the customer service world about how the customer should be treated.  We say things like ‘Walk in the customers shoes”. “Show them that you care.”  “Put a smile in your voice.” “Attitude is everything.”  All of these words mean nothing if there is no action behind them.  In fact, with no action behind the words, the customer becomes even more agitated and frustrated with the businesses service.

Well, this experience was one where the words had action.

My son is a track athlete. He had an opportunity to compete in New York City at the Fort Washington Avenue Armory. This was his first time visiting New York. Let me tell you. He enjoyed himself greatly.  My wife and I have been to New York a couple of times each time we have enjoyed our stay (personally I could live there!). From what I can remember from the past visits the experience was good, nothing really exceptional just a fun time.

This particular experience stood out though. We arrived at the hotel around 8am on Friday. We were greeted by Amanda at the front counter.  Amanda took excellent care of us. She provided insight on how to get around the city. She gave us excellent navigation directions. She let us know which trains were running and which ones were have maintenance done. Amanda was a wealth of knowledge.

What made Amanda exceptional was she took her time getting us acclimated. Amanda is a native of New York, but she was able to put herself in our shoes so that she could understand that we don’t come to New York every day and we needed a little patience and handholding to help us succeed. Amanda did all of this with a smile on her face and a caring attitude. It was as if we were family to her and she wanted to be sure she got it right.

Since we were not able to check into our room because of our arrival time. We decided to tour a little of the city to burn some time before our son’s meet. Amanda was instrumental in providing us with some options for breakfast.  She took our number and said she would call or text to let us when our room would be available.  My wife and I ventured on to our son’s meet.

My wife has the ability with the Hilton app to select a room. Her ideal room is on the first floor away from the elevators. My wife was able to select a room fitting her requirements. We were contacted later in the afternoon to say that our room was ready.  However, were informed that the room my selected was not available because the heat was not working. So we had to decide on another room. We were not able to get a first floor room, but a third floor room was open.  Not what we wanted, but it worked out.

When we entered the room we found the following:

Here is an up close of what the handwritten (Yes, Handwritten) note says.

 

This completely wowed me! I was not expecting this. In fact, I almost over looked it thinking it just came with the room (You know items like coffee, snacks and such).  It wasn’t. Amanda really got it right and she owned the obstacle we encountered.  I’ll end here on a few things that went right with this experience.

AttentionWe as the customer were made the priority. We were not made to feel that we were the problem.  This is how you want to make your customers feel.

UnderstandingAmanda got it. She put herself in our shoes and related to our situation. Customers need to know that you understand them. An effective way to accomplish this  is to truly walk in their shoes.

OwnershipAmanda did not cause the room to not have heat. She did however take ownership of the problem and worked to find a resolution. Customers need to know that you as the business will handle a problem without a lot of back and forth or placing blame. (This is not a good look for a business) 

AttitudeThis is key. Having a positive attitude and showing empathy sure does make the experience a lot better even if it was not what you expected. Remember, your attitude determines your altitude.

In the end my wife and I had an enjoyable stay in New York. Amanda added to our enjoyable stay.  Amanda keep up the exceptional job. You are made for this. You are a natural! You are awesome!

#customerserviceisreal

Making a Customer

tool-work-bench-hammer-pliers-53987.jpeg

I had the opportunity to be a guest blogger on the site http://www.cxservice360.com/
where Kelechi Okeke is the founder. I wrote a post about what it takes to make a customer. Please stop over and take a look. How To Make A Customer

Remember there is a lot of consideration that goes into getting a customer and keeping them. You have to be prepared to spend the time and do you due diligence so that you can be assured you are delivering on the  promise made to the customer.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog posts. Please share if you find the content customer service helpful.

#customerserviceisreal

 

The customer relationship

PFChangsExperience2

I write often about what the customer experience should look like, how the customer should be treated, what happens when the customer doesn’t receive the best service or has a poor experience.

A few of my posts come from personal experiences. This is one of them.

My wife and I like to eat out at restaurants. We do this on the weekend as after the week of cooking at home. We like to get out and have someone else cook for us.   We eat at P.F. Chang’s a lot! So much so that some of the hostesses at the front know our faces when we come in. We pretty much order the same dishes and the food is always good. Occasionally, something will be off with the food or service, but they always make it right.

I’d like to shine the light on one server in particular though. This lady, is what you would call in my opinion a natural at what she does.  Her name is Angie. From the first time we had the opportunity to sit at one of her tables she has been nothing but exceptional in how she cares for us.  Let me give you one example (there are many). My wife likes the Hot and Sour soup at P.F. Chang’s . However, she does not like the tofu that comes in the soup. My wife asks if she could have mostly broth. Now, even though that soup is already made up with everything in it. Angie magically finds a way to bring that soup to my wife with mostly broth every time!  Angie knows that my wife does not like brown rice and she automatically brings the white rice with her main entrée. Angie knows that if my wife orders lettuce wraps that she does not want the rice sticks. Angie is above amazing at what she does. She is phenomenal  (Sorry, I gave more than one example).

Angie has a way of connecting with the customer on a personal level where she makes us feel like we are a guest in her own home. Angie makes suggestions for entrees to try when we are not sure what we want. Angie even knows some of the dishes we have ordered in the past and she offers those dishes as a suggestion if we are still undecided.  Angie reviews our food before it comes to the table and if it does not look right to her (if she wouldn’t eat it) she sends it back to the kitchen for it to be re-made (How awesome is that!) Sometimes, when we are out and about we may stop by P.F Chang’s for dinner. We always ask for Angie. If she is not working, sometimes my wife and I will try a different place to eat. If Angie is working and her tables are super busy, we’ll wait just so we can have Angie as our server. She is exceptional!

A few word that describe Angie which are essential if you are trying to provide an exceptional customer experience.

Attentive
Courteous
Kind
Takes Ownership
Engaging 
Friendly
Focused

Angie has no doubt raised the bar on what it means to deliver exceptional customer service. She is the example of what it mean to find that personal connection with your customers so that they will want to come back over and over again. I am sure P.F. Chang’s has a brand that they live by. Angie is a true representation of that brand. So, if you are ever in Columbus, Ohio and you like P.F Chang’s. Stop by the Easton Town Center location and ask for Angie. You will no doubt have an amazing experience.

PFChangsExperience

Thank you for taking time to read my blog post. If you found it interesting. Please share.

#customerserviceisreal

 

2018. What experiences can the customer look forward to?

Hello to all. It’s been a little bit since I last wrote.  I promise to write more. A lot of thimages-customer feedbackoughts and ideas have been running through my head. I have been working to make sense of it all and how it fits in with the customer experience journey I have come to learn and educate myself about.  I’d like to share an article where I was fortunate to have a few of my thoughts submitted. The article speaks about 2018 customer experience predictions. The content in this article is thought provoking and important to consider if businesses plan on delivering an even better customer experience in 2018.

Have a look.

https://www.surveygizmo.com/customer-experience/2018-customer-experience-predictions/

A big shout out to Survey Gizmo for allowing me to participate and share my thoughts.

Please share your thoughts on what you feel will be important in 2018 for an exceptional customer experience delivery.

I appreciate you taking the time to read and share my content. #customerserviceisreal

Happy Holidays to everyone!

 

What does providing customer service cost?

customerservice

Hello to all. I hope everyone is well.

I was sitting in my car (taking a much needed nap. You do know naps are a good way to recharge. I like to call it pre-sleep). Anyway, sorry for the digression.  I was in my car thinking about customer service and all the things I have been seeing and  learning about customer service (#custserv).  I learn a great deal from seeing tweets from customer service great Shep Hyken (I like to call him the customer service whisperer) as well as many other customer service advocates. I began thinking, “What does customer service cost to provide?” Here are my thoughts and you let me know what you think.

Here are just a few things that I discovered in my research.

Businesses are losing $62 billion per year through poor customer service. That’s up $20 billion since 2013, just three years ago! – https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2016/08/27/bad-customer-service-costs-businesses-billions-of-dollars/#162fb7715152

78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.Source: American Express Survey, 2011

A typical business hears from 4% of it’s dissatisfied customers.

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner

It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.” – Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business”

In the last year, 67% of customers have hung up the phone out of frustration they could not talk to a real person.

The list goes on. There is a lot of information out about how to deliver customer customer and what can happen if you don’t.  This particular blog post was inspired from a song that came into my head and it’s just the title – Don’t Cost You Nothing by Ashford & Simpson  While the lyrics of the song does not necessary relate to customer service. The title is says a lot when you think about what customer service costs.  Let’s see if I can illustrate and also make a few points.

Customer service don’t cost you nothing if you greet with a smile at every customer encounter.

Customer service don’t cost you nothing if you put yourself in the customers shoes when addressing their concerns.

Customer service don’t cost you nothing if make the customer feeling like the priority and not the problem.

Customer service don’t cost you nothing if your respect the customers time and resolve problems in a timely effective way.

Customer service don’t cost you nothing if you are proactive and not reactive to a customer’s needs.

Customer service don’t cost you nothing if treat your internal customers how you do when you are trying to win your external customers.

I think you see what I am saying. The art of customer service does not cost a thing if you relate to the people in a kind, caring, honest and personable way. We as customers are emotional feeling folks and at any point in time The provider of customer service has to have a way to relate to those customer feeling. This can be done in a negative or positive way. If customer service is what you are into. Then it doesn’t cost you anything to smile and show that customer that you really do care that they are receiving an exceptional experience.

If you like what you have read and you think someone else would benefit from reading too. Please share. #customerserviceisreal