How to Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty with Customers
Every company understands the value of listening to customers and yet JUST listening is creating a reputation for bad customer service. Each customer has their own communicating style of wanting to be heard and acknowledged. Want an example?
I recently went into a well known grocery store and asked for a customer comment card. The assistant manager handed one to me and whispered “we don’t like to get these because it means you’re not happy.” What a revelation!
I went into another grocery store and asked for a customer comment card and the response from the manager “Hey everybody – does anyone know if we even have a comment card? Anyone ever seen a comment card?” It’s no surprise that that grocery store has closed several locations!!! The comment I would have written is “your store stinks!” Literally! It smells like rotten food the minute you walk in. And if I ask customers in my seminars what is their first impression – that is the same response they give ME! Want to know something interesting? This same company just spent millions of dollars on a new ad campaign – a new singer singing a new song about how they are getting better (not cleaner-where the money WOULD have been better spent!)
When was the last time you took in information from your customers and created a noodlejam ™?
What exactly is noodlejaming(TM)? Well simply put…I believe that customers can bring creative solutions to customer service complaints if you can give them the tools to brainstorm ideas.
Want an example? Ann Block came to me with a common customer problem…AND a solution!
“I buy paper towels on sale. Not married to any brand. I tear off the wrapping, use it, and three days later realize this towel is worth purchasing again. But how can I? I threw the towels’ identity away days ago.” Her creative solution? “Why not embed your logo into the towel and maybe on the cardboard center?” GENIUS! Can you see how you’ve developed brand loyalty in a non-believer? And the costs to do that process are nominal for the profit gained!
How do you get started.
A = Attitude’s the Key. Change your Mindset Change your Mouth! Harvest with joy every complaint that you hear. Encourage all your staff to be open to hear complaints as opportunities to brainstorm (noodlejam) solutions.
B = Begin at the Top. Your staff will not participate in this new idea if they are afraid that they will:
Be reprimanded for bringing negative complaints to the table
Feel that this new process just means more work
NOT want more data…we already have too much more.
That nothing is really going to get implemented anyway
C = Commit to Action. You must have some process in place to listen, take, create, and act on the solutions that you are harvesting. If consumers and staff see that “nothing is really changing around here” your creative ideas fill come to a quick halt and all you will end up with is more complaining…now internal AND external/
D = Dedicate to Toot Your Horn. If growing and improving your customer communication and action is really important to you than dedicate someone in your office to be the “birddog” for customer service awards. There are lots out there. Make sure you’ve got someone that is publishing articles about your successes.
The internet is changing everything. I would put a laptop in every store and allow IMMEDIATE feedback from every customer to go straight to the bosses’ ear. That way it goes over the heads of anyone who can pick and choose it’s validity – pass any politics. If the ‘boss” gets too many complaints about a certain issue, then TAKE ACTION and change it – no need to do a survey or spend money on market research. You HAVE your answer directly from your customer.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on your ABCD’s of customer service!