How to Build Customer Loyalty through Consistency

How to Build Customer Loyalty through Consistency

Customers are creature of habits.How to Build Customer Loyalty through Consistency

They like the comfort and convenience of predictable customer experiences. For all of the talk about WOWing customers, it is consistency that is the secret sauce in customer experience.

In fact, consistency is one of the three aspects of Hero-Class® customer service that I outlined in Be Your Customer’s Hero.

Why?

Because consistency is incredibly difficult to achieve, which means that those who can deliver it can differentiate their organization from the competition.

Consistency is one of the best ways to differentiate through customer service. Click To Tweet

Why Consistency Works

In the book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal, the author contends that 40% of what we do each day is based in habit.

Habits can be extremely powerful. They operate at a subconscious level, causing us to function on auto-pilot. If you can addict a customer (in a win-win, good for everyone kind of way), you can keep that customer for a very long time. Read more

9 Customer Service Training Ideas That Work

9 Customer Service Training Ideas That Work

Looking for ideas to help focus your customer service training and get results? Far too often, managers, business owners, and organizational leaders struggle with how to effectively train their frontline teams.

9 Customer Service Training Ideas That WorkOf course, nothing can replace formal, professional training, but leaders can accomplish a great deal by focusing their efforts on customer service training ideas that have proven to be effective.

Here are nine ideas that can help any organization focus on training that works.

  1. Practice Greetings and First Impressions — While studies may disagree on how fast we form first impressions and what judgments we make in our initial interactions, the consensus is clear: first impressions happen quickly and matter greatly. Greetings might seem simple and not worthy of specific training, but consider how often you’ve been on the wrong side of a greeting as customer. Either the greeting was delivered poorly, unenthusiastically, or not at all. Don’t take greetings and first impressions for granted. Work with your team to deliver a consistent and positive greeting to every customer.
  2. Share System Best Practices — All too often, frontline reps are trained on “the register” or “the system” when they first start, and their training ends there. While customer experience training is certainly necessary, it is important to remember that great customer experience depends on the frontline reps having the time to deliver it. Making sure all reps know the best practices and time savers that can make them more efficient with the company’s register or CRM system can free up time for more focus on customers.
  3. Simulate Conditions — While training can never replicate the real world, the more you can mimic reality, the more effective role playing will be. When role playing face-to-face situations, if possible, try to practice at the register, the counter, or somewhere where the action takes place. When role playing phone interactions, try to use the actual phone or at least have reps stand back to back, eliminating the insights from facial expressions and body language that are absent on the phone.
  4. Train on Documentation — As we noted in Be Your Customer’s Hero, great documentation is at the heart of great service; yet, it is rarely discussed and even more rarely trained. Take an opportunity every once in awhile to train the team on the best ways to document a service interaction, the types of information it is important to record, and any particularly helpful documentation habits.
  5. Practice Transfers and Transitions — Being Shuffled is one of the 7 Service Triggers that are likely to set customers off. Far too many customer service interactions go bad when a customer is being transferred to someone else. While transfers should be avoided as much as possible, they are inevitable, and it is important to train teams on the best ways to make transfers as painless as possible for customers.
  6. Role Play the Last Issue — Obviously, role playing should be a key component of any customer service training program. One specific way to use role playing that is timely and relevant is to focus on the last issue a rep had trouble handling. By focusing on a recent challenge, you make sure your role playing stays grounded in the real world and addresses the immediate concerns of your teams.
  7. Discuss Options — One of the primary rules from Be Your Customer’s Hero is to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. When I work with frontline reps in our customer service workshops, it’s clear that many frontline reps struggle with what options they are able to present customers. Helping your team members to know not only what options are available but which circumstances they might be helpful in can help them feel prepared for those dreaded times when they cannot provide the customer what he or she is requesting.
  8. Explore Empowerment — In a similar vein, empowering employees effectively is one of the most powerful methods for solving customer issues in real time and preventing escalation. However, any empowerment that is granted should also be trained. Team members should understand what they can and cannot do, can and cannot give, to make a customer service situation right. In addition, training on empowerment makes it real and helps team members feel psychologically empowered in addition to being actually empowered (see this post for a breakdown of actual vs. psychological empowerment).
  9. Share Your Heroes — Every organization has stories of Hero-Class® acts of service performed by their frontline team members. Sometimes, one of the best ways to motivate and give confidence to frontline teams is to show them how their peers have succeeded in delivering superior service. Share the stories of the heroes in your organization, and if you have the customer feedback to go with the story, share that too.

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Why Amazon Will Swallow Almost Everyone

Why Amazon Will Swallow Almost Everyone

Amazon. The name itself perfectly captures the essence of what the company has become.

Why Amazon Will Swallow Almost EveryoneIt is the largest, dominant feature in its ecosphere. It provides sustenance to those who use its resources. It serves as an economic engine for those whose livelihoods center around it. And nearby bodies of water feed it more than they compete with it.

A few recent interactions with Amazon demonstrate how the company is slowly but surely going to swallow almost everyone. While these examples are certainly anecdotal, they seem to exemplify larger trends in Amazon’s continued growth and increasing dominance.

The Same-Day Suitcase

We needed a new suitcase, and our options were simple:

  • We could go to the traditional mall or outlet mall and hope to find a suitcase that matched our needs. A multi-hour proposition with a dicey chance of success.
  • We could research local retailers through phone or web for models and inventory, buy it online or call to have them set it aside, and then drive to the store to pick it up.
  • We could find the brand online and either buy it directly from the manufacturer or go bargain hunting on a variety of discount and often dubious websites, creating new logins, adding new account info, and navigating unfamiliar shipping policies and procedures.

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8 Ways to Be Your Customer's Hero

8 Ways to Be Your Customer’s Hero

It’s official! We’re celebrating the 1 year anniversary of Be Your Customer’s Hero!

By focusing on the skills frontline teams need to successfully navigate relationships and interactions with customers, Be Your Customer’s Hero has directly impacted customer-facing teams and businesses teams all over the country and the world.

To commemorate the one year anniversary of HERO, we thought it would be fun to put together an infographic on customer service techniques and tips from Be Your Customer’s Hero.

Our Customer Service Infographic

Customer Service Infographic: 8 Ways to Be Your Customer's Hero

Improve Your Frontline Customer Service

Interested in upping your team’s service game? Dig deeper into Be Your Customer’s Hero using the links below.

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When a Customer Refuses Your Help

When a Customer Refuses Your Help

When a customer refuses help, it can sometimes feel personal, like a form of rejection. As I’ve interacted with frontline reps, both as a speaker, a trainer, and a customer, I’ve seen how the simplest, most benign “no” from a customer can cause a customer-facing professional to shut down.

It’s almost as if you can see the thought bubbles above service reps head.

  • When a Customer Refuses Your Help“Can’t you see I’m trying to help you?”
  • “Really, I just want to do this, because it’s a benefit for you.”
  • “I’m just trying to do my job.”

Sometimes, this is a personality issue; it’s just how the rep is wired.

Sometimes, it is a training issue; the rep fails to see that their job is making the customer happy not performing Task X.

Often, it’s a bit of both.

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Interview: GetApp's Top 25 Customer Service Apps

Interview: GetApp’s Top 25 Customer Service Apps

Suzie Blaszkiewicz, GetApp

Suzie Blaszkiewicz, GetApp

Interview: Suzie Blaszkiewicz of GetApp

Suzie Blaszkiewicz is a market analyst and content editor for GetApp. 

GetApp offers a digital comparison tool of customer service software and recently published a report on the Top 25 Customer Service Apps.

Suzie speaks with us about the methodology behind the study and some of the surprising results. If you’re interested in customer service software, make sure to check out the interview.

 


You recently published a report on the Top 25 Customer Service apps on the market today. What methodology did you use to determine this?

“Our ranking uses five unique data points to create a Top 25 list that provides a snapshot of the leading options for customer service software for small and mid-sized businesses.

Interview: GetApp's Top 25 Customer Service AppsThese data points are reviews, integrations, mobile app availability, media presence, and security.

Reviews looks at the number and rating of reviews on GetApp, giving a sense of user perception of the application.

Integrations is based on the number of integrations listed on GetApp, giving a better idea of the maturity of a product and how it might integrate with other common software that’s already being used.

Mobile app availability pulls data from Google Play and the App Store to see an app’s rating in both stores.

Media presence uses followers and fans from Facebook and Twitter to discern the relative popularity of an app.

Security is based on a vendor-completed security survey comprising 15 questions.

Each of these data points is scored out of 20, for a total possible score out of 100.”

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To WOW Customers, Listen and Care

To WOW Customers, Listen and Care

Back in 2012, I wrote about the concept of 5-Second WOWs — small, simple actions that allow organizations to create memorable moments for customers without a lot of investment or time.

My wife and I recently experienced one of these WOW moments while traveling, and the experience perfectly demonstrated how easily you can WOW customers by simply listening and caring.

A Quick Getaway

Back in January, we took a quick weekend trip to Costa D’Este Beach Resort and Spa in Vero Beach, Florida.

To WOW Customers, Listen and CareOne of the features that attracts us to Costa D’Este is that it is a dog-friendly hotel. Since Vero Beach is driving distance for us, Costa is the perfect place to go for a quick weekend getaway with our Chief Happiness Officer, Dalton.

Now, when I say Costa is dog friendly; I should more aptly say dog-awesome!

They love dogs (well, at least our dog), and every staff member we have encountered on our numerous stays has gone out of their way to remember his name.

We never met a staff member that was standoffish or who gave us the “oh great, they have a dog” look.

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Customer Loyalty: Winning Hearts and Minds

Customer Loyalty: Winning Hearts and Minds

Joseph Michelli, author of Driven to Delight

Joseph Michelli, author

Guest Poster: Joseph Michelli

The following is a guest post from Joseph Michelli.

Joseph A Michelli, PhD, CSP, is an internationally sought-after speaker, consultant, and New York Times No. 1 best-selling author. You can find more information about him at josephmichelli.com.

In this post, Joseph explores how important hearts and minds are to earning customer loyalty. He also touches on some of our favorite themes — such as reducing customer effort and empowering team members.

And now, Joseph…


When it comes to new customer acquisition, advertisers and marketers strive to position a brand so that it becomes “top of mind.” However, if you want to improve customer engagement, increase loyalty, and drive referrals, the challenge is to connect with both the “mind” and “heart” of your customer. Read more

How to Handle Unreasonable Customers

5 Ways to Handle Unreasonable Customers

Customers are irrational.

They overvalue what they already have, they react differently based on how an issue is framed, and they are less satisfied with decisions when they’ve been given more options to choose from.

How to Handle Unreasonable CustomersHowever, these well-known forms of customer irrationality are often easy to work around and can even be used to enhance customer experiences.

Unreasonableness is an entirely different matter.

With unreasonable customers, appeals to logic are subsumed by an emotional intransigence that is often hard to break through. Unreasonable customers are inherently stubborn; they are unwilling to accept what we (and we like to think) most others would accept as obvious.

Because unreasonable customers are detached from reality, they are among the most difficult customers to work with.

Below is a five step process for working with unreasonable customers. The techniques are most powerful when used in order but, like all customer service techniques, should be adapted to the specific circumstances. Read more

Gainesville Police Officer Plays Basketball, Customer Service Lesson

What the Gainesville Police Officer Teaches Us About Customer Service

Last week a video of a Gainesville, Florida police officer following up on a noise complaint went viral.

Gainesville Police Officer Plays Basketball, Customer Service LessonWhen Officer Bobby White arrived on the scene, he found a group of young kids playing basketball in the street.

What he did next is a lesson in human relations, community policing, and even customer service.

He played basketball with the kids.

He talked to them. He established rapport. He connected with them.

And only after he had connected and played ball with them, did he say, “I have no problem with y’all playing basketball in the street, just, if you can, try not to be too loud.” Read more