Volume 9: July 2012
Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.
The Month in Customer Service Blogging
A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience I read this past month.
- Four Customer-Centric Ways a Call Center Agent Can Go Off Script – Even a simple, routine customer service call can still have a personal touch.
- Leaders, Can You Ace This Customer Service Recovery Moment? – It is imperative that customer facing professionals know how to appropriately respond to criticism from customers.
- Increasing Customer Spend With a Little Social Media Help – An incredibly small-scale effort generated tens of thousands of dollars from clients this company already had.
- It Takes Empathy – Leaders should listen and connect with its company’s customers in an emotionally meaningful way.
- Examining Apple Stores And Employee Engagement – The connection that Apple employees have with its products has driven Apple’s retail experience, and contributed to its success.
- How to Value Customer Feedback – A Case Study – Companies should be using customer satisfaction measures to say, “I really value your opinions about us.”
- New Ways of Visualizing the Customer Journey Map – Insights from design students are translated into practical customer experience design.
- What’s Your Company’s POV? – With a clear and consistent point of view, your customers will always know what to expect.
- Customer Service Is Failing Consumers [infographic] – An interesting set of statistics showing the state of customer disservice today.
- What Kills a Customer Relationship? – Customer relationships fail all the time, due to price, poor service or product failure. Businesses can save these relationships simply by focusing more on their customers than they do on themselves.
- What Makes A Good Customer Service Website? – A well designed, customer-friendly website can make all the difference in your customers’ experience… especially when they need help!
Someone Was Listening
Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.
The 5th Habit of Customer Service: A Shout Out to Stephen Covey – We lost Stephen Covey this past month, and I took the opportunity to discuss one of Covey’s 7 Habits and how it relates to customer service. Coveys 5th Habit – first seeking to understand before trying to be understood – is a simple message that is a foundational aspect of great customer service, and fundamental to living an easier life.
Thoughts on the Customer: The First Step in Customer Loyalty is Asking For It
The myth of the magical customer experience goes something like this: We design a customer experience that not only totally meets the customers needs but also exceeds their expectations, we execute flawlessly in providing this experience, and we automatically have a customer for life. The customer has bees so WOWed by their experience that they will automatically come back and be so enthused that they will tell all of their friends.
The beautiful part about this myth is that, sometimes, it is reality.
But not everyone will be so moved.
One of the fundamental rules of customer service is that what works for one does not work for all. We cannot expect all customers to be so inspired by the customer experience that they automatically become loyal. Some will need help; some will need a reason to come back and the opportunity to develop a pattern of behavior.
When your customer reaches the end of the customer experience, are you asking for them to come back?
- Are you offering a discount coupon for their next visit?
- Are you prebooking their next appointment?
- Are you using their first experience to offer a better, more customized second experience?
The first rule of sales is don’t forget to ask for the sale. In customer service, we need to ask for the opportunity to provide another customer experience.
Sometimes loyalty is formed in an instance, more often it is built brick by brick, experience by experience.
Ask your customer to come back. Most loyalty begins with repetition.