Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
– Mario Andretti
Last week I wrote about the pitfalls of letting the excellence of your customer service whither away. Let’s be honest, when your commitment to excellence fades, so do your fans. And you can’t afford to provide anything less than outstanding customer service. If you don’t, then why should your clients and customers stay with you?
Perhaps the best way to approach the concept of excellence in customer service is to understand that all of your clients and customers want the same thing. THEY WANT TO FEEL BETTER. It must be your commitment to ensure they want to feel better when they interact, use, do business, and have contact with . . . YOU! Fail to do this and all the best intentions in the world won’t keep you from falling on your face.
You don’t just provide customer service. You are also a customer and consumer. How do you want to feel when connecting with another business? I’ll bet you want some of these feelings:
• Your concerns are being heard
• Your needs are being addressed (if not met)
• You matter to the person you are talking to
• You want answers, not excuses
Let me put is another way. When you do business with someone, you want to feel that you are the most important person in the world to this company. If you don’t treat me that way, I might as well take my business somewhere else (or anywhere else for that matter since I simply don’t matter enough to you, do I?)
Now, it’s time to take our discussion into the real world and determine how you can move from ordinary customer service to outstanding relationships. And, these same techniques work for those customers and clients you already have to keep them as raving fans.
THE TEN STEPS TO NOT FALLING ON YOUR FACE
STEP ONE. Make a list of your raving fans. Who are your repeat customers? Who keeps coming back to you? Who pays you the most money?
STEP TWO. Make a list of those things you do, the words you say, the items you offer, and the services you provide that appeal to your list of raving fans.
STEP THREE. Look back over your list of raving fans and start asking yourself, “Has my relationship with any of them changed for the worse?” Look at your business metrics and determine whether any of these people have stopped coming to your place of business or stopped calling or stopped buying. (By the way, if you don’t have a way to track these measurements, that might be part of your challenge. If you don’t care enough to track your customers, why should they care about you?)
STEP FOUR. Contact any of your raving fans who’ve stopped being raving fans. Ask them, “How are we doing?” More importantly, ask them, “How can we do better?” Then LISTEN. This call is not about meeting objections. It is about learning what isn’t working and committing yourself to correcting your course.
STEP FIVE. Contact the rest of your raving fan list (the one’s you still have as raving fans) and ask them, “How are we doing?” and “How can we do better?” Then LISTEN SOME MORE.
STEP SIX. Compile the information and review it. Look for patterns. Look for gaps in where you are and where you want to be. Look for ways you could have said “yes” to a customer or client need or, at the very least, provided them with an alternative solution.
STEP SEVEN. Give a gift to those raving fans you’ve lost in order to get them back. Show them that you care. And do so in a way that is safe for them to return. Most people don’t like confrontation. You’ve lost raving fans because you haven’t been there for them in some capacity. Show them that you’re home and there’s no place like you.
STEP EIGHT. Give a gift to those raving fans you’ve kept. Show them that you really appreciate their dependability and loyalty. The, too, need to be reminded that you’re home and there’s no place like you.
STEP NINE. Look back over what you learned in Step Six and now ask, “What can I do to take the successful patterns and move them to the next level of customer service excellence?”
STEP TEN. Implement the changes for consistent and sustainable excellence. And . . . delegate the power of excellence to your employees (if you’re a business owner). This is about bringing you and your raving fans together and keeping you dependent upon each other. And, here’s a little secret for you . . . excellent customer service is as much a craft as anything else. Oh, you might have the ability and accomplishments behind you. And you might even have the artistry. This is about combining ability and skill with the practice of connecting.
Now, I have a challenge for you: I dare you to go out and excite, uplift, and arouse your clients and customers. Excellence is not just wanting results . . . it’s only about results. And those results need to be the experience of your clients and customers, not just profits.
Create value for others and you will find that create value for you!
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