Customer Service – Real stories

I had an opportunity to gain first hand knowledge of what customer service and delivering an exceptional customer service experience means. These talks gave a perspective on how the business owner feels about their customers. The owners talked about what they consider exceptional customer service to be. They gave insight on how the service is delivered to their customers.

It is interesting and reassuring to know that even though the businesses I interviewed are completely different. They all share the same feelings about the customer.

In the interviews. I asked four questions.

As a consumer or provider of a product/service, what determines exceptional customer service?

How do you feel when you don’t receive great customer service or when your customer’s have not received great service?

Is the customer always right? If so why if not, why?

How far are you willing to go with your customer to maintain the relationship?

Let’s see their feedback.

Polished by Mistey – Independent business salon owner

I want to create a bond, a friendship with the with the customer. It means a lot to a person when you remember what’s going on with the customer.

Apologize with sincerity and engage the customer in a positive way so they will return to do business with you.

It depends on the scenario and you have to be careful that the customer does not take advantage. Never argue with the customer.

Go the extra step (above due diligence) to research the problem and educate the customer in a positive way so the business relationship is maintained. 

Points to remember
Create a bond
Friendship
Engage the customer
Never argue 

Creole 2 Geaux – Authentic Creole food truck business owner 

Listening to my needs? Did they pay attention to me? Are you seeing what is going on with me? Attentive. Being on the lookout for something that I don’t know that I necessary need. Paying attention to customer queues. Body language. Smiling. Building the rapport. The customer deservers it. Making it right . The internal customer is key to keep engaged. They help hold the business together.

Angry, unappreciated. The customer service is what makes us a 5 star truck.

Not always right, but you have to show empathy in engaging with the customer. You have to put yourself in their shoes. Do not argue with the customer.

Above and beyond. Send texts, discounts to preferred customers. Share location to customers on where my truck will be. Treat like family. Reward program.

Points to remember
Pay attention to the customer
Smile
Show empathy
Remember the internal customer

Beau Burton – State Farm Agent 

Going above and beyond what the customer expects. Not delivering the status quo. Setting the customer up for success.

Disappointed and we have to do better.

Not to focus on what we can’t do, but what we can do. In most cases it is an misunderstanding of what the customer has interpreted an argument is never won by either side. You can’t argue with the way a customer feels.

Find a common ground. Focus on the things we can do. If the needs cannot be met, maybe an alignment with another resource will satisfy the customer. I’m not going to make a promise that cannot be upheld. Maintaining a customer relationship is of paramount importance if mutually beneficial to both. I have the customer’s best interests at heart. Work to educate the customer.

Points to remember
Go above and beyond what the customer expects
Educate the customer
Focus on what can be done for the customer
Find common ground

Well, there you have it.  The people in this interview have never met one other. However they all have the same feelings about customer service and the customer experience. The customer is what drives the business. Without the customer the business could not survive. It is vital that the points to remember outlined are committed to your memory and reflected upon when interacting with the customer. Customer service is about how you treat the customer. We all want to be treated with kindness, respect and above all valued as an important consumer of the goods and services businesses have to offer. Tweet: Customer service is about how you treat the customer. We all want to be treated with kindness, respect and above all valued as an important consumer of the goods and services businesses have to offer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you have found the information customer service important please share. #customerserviceisreal

Emotional Intelligence and the Customer

 

It is always an honor to be a guest on another persons blog to share your content. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity. Kelechi Okeke you are appreciated. Thank you for your kindness.

Emotional Intelligence is a skill that really shows the human side of a person. It is a key component for success in delivering an exceptional customer service experience. Take a look at what I have shared in the link below.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my post. If you have found the information is customer service important please share.

https://www.cxservice360.com/2018/09/26/emotional-intelligence-and-the-customer-david-beaumont/

#customerserviceisreal

 

 

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.

*****

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.

*****

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

*****

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