Customer Service

Franchisees must follow franchise rules. In fact, some brands actually look for frenchisees who are comfortable following rules.


Yet customers don’t care about the rules. They want a great experience and rules don’t deliver it. Here’s the question. Do the franchise rules stop super customer experience? They don’t have to.


Franchisees: Image is Customer Service Checklist Excellent Good Poor

Franchisees: Rules Need Not Stop Super Customer Experience

Image licensed from Istock.com


Franchisees: Amaze Customers With These Top Tips

Despite the franchise rules, you can wow customers with a great customer experience.

  1. Inspire service workers to care. Start each shift with a service motto. Use one example each day of how the workers make a difference! Inspire workers to care before you teach them to smile.

  2. Give each customer your full attention. Customers are becoming more and more insulted by distracted workers. At check out counters, workers are chatting with friends while scanning customer purchases. They are texting and talking on the phone while customers wait for service. Attention is one of the easiest ways to show customers you care. It is the first impression you give and sets the tone for the interaction.

  3. Smile. You’ve read it before and I say it again. Customers have chosen to come to your business. A smile says welcome and thank you. It defuses their tension. Everyone has struggles. You can lighten their load and make a difference.


  4. Listen. Make sure you know what customers want. Restate what the customer asks for. Listen for special requests. One drive-through customer stressed they didn’t want any ketchup on their burger. As they drove away and reached into the bag, they found a burger with ketchup. They came back with the burger — very upset.

  5. Double check before you deliver. Had the worker checked the order before giving the burger to the customer, they would have prevented the bad experience.

  6. Blame no one. In a family style chain restaurant, the customer at the table next to mine told the server he brought the wrong order. He then blamed the customer. “That’s what you pointed to on the menu.” Had he restated the customer’s order before sending it into the kitchen, he would have prevented the problem.

  7. Let the customers have their say. When customers are upset, don’t interrupt them. Don’t say calm down. They don’t take orders. Customers aren’t in your army. If you let them speak, they will come up for air. Then show them some empathy and work to resolve the problem.


  8. Franchisees: Quote says Everybody has their own struggle. So be kind.

    Be kind. It creates a great customer experience.

    Image via quoteeveryday.com



Successful franchisees strive and know how to create an irresistible customer experience despite the rules. Their customers rave about the service to their friends and family.


As franchisees, they inspire great service attitudes. So hire friendly employees. Model great service and train service workers to deliver it. Appreciate their work and recognize their efforts.

Franchisees: Caring Words Cost Nothing: Image is a poster with those words.

Treat employees well. Be the model of how to treat customers! Remember always that business rules need not stop a super customer experience.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


Let’s do a customer service workshop or webinar for your service workers. Together we can make a difference! Ph: 908.595.1515.


Related Post:
24 Customer Service Tips to Make It Easy for Customers
11 Surefire Beliefs for Superior Customer Experience

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

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Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Two Magical Words That Expand and Improve Interactions


Two Magical Words: Image is a magician's wand & hat.

Magical Words for Great Interactions and People Skills Source:Istock.com

Image licensed from Istock.com.

As you read the title of this post, you might immediately think of please and thank you as the two magical words for great people skills.  While they are critical for positive interactions, there are two magical words that supersede them by having an impact from just thinking them!

What do you think the two magical words are?


Click to reveal the two magical words their impact on teamwork, collaboration, and innovation.



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer Experience Beliefs: 11 to Win Over Customers


If we want our customers to have a superior customer experience, we need to examine our customer experience beliefs. What we think affects what we do. This is true in every aspect of business. With customers, it’s even more important.


Customer Experience Beliefs: Image is the neon sign "belief".

11 Winning Customer Experience Beliefs. Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by: Steve Rhodes via Flicker Creative Commons License.

11 Surefire Customer Experience Beliefs

  1. Customers cannot observe our intentions. Treat them well.

  2. The customer’s voice echoes forever. Of course they talk about us. What they say is actually up to us.

  3. Persist when you sense potential; shift and innovate when you see futility. Never let frustration with a customer stop you from giving great care and finding a solution!

  4. Make customer experience easy! Count the number of hoops you ask customers to jump through & you’ll find the places they may jump ship! Leave the hoops for basketball.

  5. Courtesy and civility do not undo our authenticity. They allow the customers to easily embrace it. Authenticity is not an excuse for being blunt or rude to customers. A smile can change everything.

  6. A customer’s trust is an invitation for a human bond. Our actions RSVP the truth about our integrity and foretell the customer’s next choice.


  7. There is a difference between service and servitude. The first you choose; the second you don’t. What choice will you make to deliver superior customer experience?

  8. A sincere apology is the quickest way to repave the road of customer trust. Waffling, defending, and delay leaves a trail of mistrust.

  9. Our future is behind every customer. The customer is the heart of our success. Their pulse is our vital sign. It beats for our future. Maintain heart health!

  10. When we hold resentment in our hearts, we deliver far below our capabilities. Learn objective caring to prevent taking customers’ criticisms personally.

  11. Choose to trust until there’s proof to mistrust. Check all your processes, procedures, and touch points. Do they communicate trust or mistrust of the customer? Then ask yourselves, if you were the customers, would you feel welcome?



Are your customer experience beliefs serving or sabotaging superior customer experience? Leaders, do you know what your teams think? Sit with them and ask “What are our customer experience beliefs?” You may be pleasantly surprised or jolted by the silence. In either case, this review is a no cost high return step to superior customer experience!


What winning customer experience beliefs would you add to this list?


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
5 Powerful Beliefs to Win Over Rude or Angry Customers
Irresistible Customer Experience: What Every Customer Wants

©2012-2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

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Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Caring Words: No Cost & High Return in Business


Caring Words Cost Nothing: Image is a poster with those words.

Caring Words Cost Nothing. Image by Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™




Don’t mistake caring words in business as weak, risky, or beating around the bush. Caring words cost nothing and create infinite possibilities. Their power comes in what they do and don’t do.

Caring words & caring tone of voice …

  • Build trust.
  • Develop relationships between strangers.
  • Open closed minds with empathy & trust.
  • Strengthen relationships to ride through storms together.




Caring words & caring tone of voice don’t …

  • Insert scars into important business agendas.
  • Trigger defensiveness that slows down success.
  • Foment resentment that overshadows the true business purpose.
  • Create walls that obstruct & maybe doom future opportunities.




Caring words & caring tone of voice are emotional intelligence in action.

  • They are based on respect for all humans even in disagreement.
  • They require a positive self-image that doesn’t preach to others.
  • They call for a courageous choice of giving before you receive anything.


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; deeply loving someone gives you courage.” ~Lao Tzu via Goodreads Quotes


“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~Mother Teresa via Goodreads Quotes


Leaders, use caring words and tone to inspire, engage, and buoy employees! Hire employees with the emotional intelligence and desire to care for others. Teamwork and collaboration ascend to new heights. Customer experience soars to loyalty.



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
People Skills Missteps: Not So Friendly, Friendly Advice
3 Steps to Overcome Bias in Business
Emotionally Intelligent Teamwork: 10 Ways to Work w/ Immature Teammates

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Superior Customer Service: Think Care Not Guilt


I hear some customer service reps, agents, and analysts — even leaders — say that you shouldn’t say “We’re sorry” to customers because it means “we’re guilty.” There is even one consultant who has written a book with this same idea. The problem is, it is simply not true. It’s a myth and a costly mistake to make.


Sorry doesn’t mean guilty. It means we care. In fact if we are thinking about who’s guilty, we aren’t even in the zone of delivering superior customer service and customer experience.


Don’t picture this …



Superior Customer Service: Image is words Mea Culpa

Superior Customer Service: Sorry Doesn’t Mean Guilty Image via Istock.com





Picture this …



Superior Customer Service: Image is Balloons w/ Sorry Words Celebrating!

Superior Customer Service: Sorry Means We Care!

Grateful for both images from Istockphoto.com.



Superior Customer Service: Think Care, Not Guilt!

Superior customer service is never about guilt. It’s about responsibility, desire, and passion to serve and to care.

  • Sorry doesn’t mean guilty. When we offer condolences at a funeral, it doesn’t mean we are guilty. Sorry is one of the many ways to express empathy. We’re sorry for your _________ doesn’t mean we’re guilty of it.

  • When customers are upset with us, we are responsible (not guilty) for the less than satisfying experience they had. Let’s not back away or defend ourselves. Let’s make it an incredibly great moment that customers will remember. Studies show that outstanding service recovery skills often create some of the most loyal customers! Many customers believe that some mistake is bound to happen and they are wowed by great empathy and service recovery skills.

  • Thinking that sorry means guilty says we are thinking of ourselves instead of the customer. We have misinterpreted the customer’s outburst as an accusation against us. It isn’t. Customers want care and resolution. Give them an unadulterated full out “we’re sorry”. Give them full commitment to resolve the issue and loads of care.

  • Customers can get upset for many reasons. Don’t analyze whether they are valid reasons. Don’t analyze who’s at fault. Don’t act neutral. All of these are wasted time and effort. Go all the way and show them true empathy. Empathize emotions; don’t analyze them.


  • Humility is not humiliation. Humility allows us to put the customers emotional needs ahead of ours. We are the professionals. This is not humiliation — the driving emotion behind the guilty/sorry debate. The debate is useless. It sidetracks us from the main goal of delivering superior customer service, memorable customer experience, and retaining the customers.

  • Live with accountability not blame. We are responsible for delivering superior customer service experience. This is a far cry from being guilty when we miss the mark.



Remember, if customers are complaining to us, they’re still interested in our business. We have a chance to show we care. A chance to wow. Don’t blow this chance by withholding empathy. Give a caring “we’re sorry”. It’s not a shameful “we’re guilty.”


Apologize to customers if they had a less than stellar experience. It is a chance for us to reaffirm commitment with true empathy. It’s a chance to show just how much we care about them. It’s a chance to improve our business and wow the customers even more.


Short 2 minute video with inspirational message for leaders and teams to deliver superior customer experience!


Replace guilt with care. Guilt doesn’t belong in superior customer service. Care does. Create a customer-centric culture that brings them back for more.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Leadership: Breed Accountability Not Blame
24 Customer Service Tips That Make Loyalty Easy
Superior Customer Service: 5 Ways to Stay Calm AND Caring w/ Upset Customers

©2013-2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer Service: 24 Tips to Make it Easy for Customers


Leaders, does your vision of company success include the phrase easy for customers With so much spent on customer loyalty research, it is surprising to see so little focus put on the basic customer service request — make it easy for me!!


There are some exceptions like Staples Office Supplies who have made Easy their brand. Yet it is not a message you hear from every single business. It should be!


When you give customers value and ease, they have little reason to go to your competitors. Easy and valuable builds loyalty builds because it is hard to leave! Are you ready to move past the customer loyalty research and into the zone of true customer loyalty?


Customer service: Image is button that says "easy".

Customer Service: Customers want it easy & valuable. Image by: Spackletoe




Basic Beliefs You’ll Need

  • The customer is your pathway to success — not your enemy. Trust don’t mistrust.
  • There are things all customers need from you to give you their loyalty: value, ease, positive memory, gratitude.
  • The opposite of easy is difficult not high status. Some businesses believe that complexity makes their brand seem more valuable. Yet the finest hotels and restaurants make customer service easy for the customer not complex and difficult.
  • Making customer service easy costs you little and brings you much.






Easy Customer Service: 24 Things Customers Will Love!

  1. Be attentive. “Stop doing other things while you’re helping me.” Stop texting, stop talking to your coworkers about other things, stop picking up the phone and serving other customers, stop watching the video playing in the room, etc… Be present and attentive in customer service.

  2. Be friendly. Friendly makes it easy and it doesn’t have to delay value. “Smile, be open to questions, show me you care.” It costs nothing and speaks volumes in gratitude.

  3. Be adaptable. “I’m a person. Not a cog in your process wheel.” Strict scripts in customer service make life difficult for the customer. This doesn’t mean you must throw out all processes and let each customer run your company. It does mean your processes must be flexible to make customer service easy for each customer.

  4. Be timely. “if you here I’m urgent, get to the point. If I’m laid back, don’t push me.” There are some cultures where fast is rude because it seems like you don’t value the customer as a person. Other cultures value time and want you to respect it.

  5. Be proactive. “Use your expertise to prevent my problems.” Anticipate customers needs. Not that hard to do if you are listening. So throw away the script, listen to what the customers are saying, and make it easy for them. Anticipation communicates care which breeds loyalty. You may even sell them more as you anticipate their needs!

  6. Be creative. “Do something to help me even when I have an unusual request.” Creative problem solving or creative fun (depending on your product/service) makes life easy for the customer. It also energizes employees’ commitment to your brand and the customers!

  7. Be resilient. “Don’t treat me badly because it’s the end of your shift.” The customer needs care even when you are tired. Be as caring to the customer at the end of your workday as you were to the ones at the beginning. This makes it easy to be loyal to your brand.

  8. Be balanced in a storm. “You’re my lifeboat. Stay calm to ease the storm.” Things happen. Handle them with ease and make customer service easy for the customer. This builds trust and loyalty. Don’t tell the customer to calm down. It makes you look like an uncaring inept control freak.

  9. Be transparent. “Remove my doubt.” Pre-purchase or post purchase, being able to trust your brand makes life easy for the customer! Smoke and mirrors, hidden clauses, and surprises that deny service make it difficult for the customer to stay and easy for them to leave!

  10. Be virtuous. “Show me your brand has integrity.” Make your brand a brand of no excuses! Deliver the fix. Don’t defend the trouble. Make it easy for the customer to trust you! Remember, mistrust is a powerful engine.






  11. Honor privacy. A pharmacist in a well-known nationwide pharmacy said out loud to a packed waiting area, “Miss Debra _______________, where on your body will you be using this special powder for your rash? I have to enter the information in the system.” The patient customer was horrified. She gathered her courage and replied, “Why don’t you tell the whole world?” Was this pharmacist an idiot, an uncaring person, or a techno-focused robot? None of those deliver great service. Speak with people privately and secure their private information.

  12. Honor the customer’s view and knowledge. If the customer feels overrun, it’s not great service. Whether it is a retail customer explaining their situation or a patient explaining their pain, their view matters. Honor them with listening and insightful questions that diagnose not demean.

  13. Honor the customers for choosing your company or professional practice. All the traditional courtesies do this well. Please, thank you, you’re welcome, so glad to see you, thanks for coming back to us — all honor the customers for being your customers.






  14. Stop asking the customer to repeat themselves. “Hear me.” Contact centers are notorious for torturing the customer through repetition — especially when connecting the call to others departments. Stop this madness. Listen, take notes, and be the customer’s advocate! Why would anyone be loyal to a brand that tortures them?

  15. Stop hiding! “What’s your phone number?” If a customer can’t easily find your phone number, they are not likely to give you their loyalty. Even in today’s high tech environment of online service, customers want to know that calling you is an option when needed. If you hide your phone number on your website, your message is “don’t call us”. Hmmm… hardly a strategy for customer loyalty.

  16. Stop the jargon! An airline agent asked the customer: “What’s the fare basis on your ticket?” The customer snapped back: “I don’t know. I don’t speak airline.” Jargon makes life difficult for the customer. It also makes a brand seem full of itself.

  17. Work as a team. “I don’t care that it’s not your department!” Silos, personality conflicts, turf wars in companies are the opposite of easy customer service. It makes life difficult for customers and once again tells them you don’t care enough to work as a team.






  18. Welcome the customers’ questions. Questions are a sign of interest. Don’t misconstrue them to be questioning your authority. Build loyalty — don’t expect blind trust. The healthcare community seems to struggle with this. They send the message “ask questions and be active in your healthcare” yet they get impatient when patients ask questions. Remember, customers are easier to deal with when you make it easy for them to build trust in you.

  19. Welcome the customers’ view of customer service. Hotels that have a true customer satisfaction policy build loyalty. Hotels that rigidly define what they think is great customer service lose out. To some customers, safety is absolutely #1. To others, it’s access to the internet. To others, it’s a firm bed. Personalize customer service and you will see customers return.

  20. Welcome the customers’ real feedback. Does your customer feedback survey give customers opportunity to tell you in words what they think and what they would like next time? Having a voice makes it easy for them to come back to you. If you have primarily a numbers based survey, you are telling them you care only about the overall ranking — not what they think.

  21. Satisfy customers before they complain. Customers don’t like to become angry. They want things to be easy and easily addressed. Let them know upfront you will help them. BAM! Easy. Rebuild the trust.

  22. Hire people who like to serve. Yes, they do exist. Then train them, empower them, support them. It’s easy for employees to satisfy customers when leaders aren’t using the reps to limit service to the customers!



  23. Be grateful. Every word you speak, every action you take must tell each customer: “You matter individually.” This makes it easy to come back to you. What human doesn’t want to be valued? Even those that play it kool and claim they don’t care about gratitude, actually love it.

  24. Deliver on the most basic human need — love. Customer loyalty is pretty simple. If you want customers to love your brand, love your customers!


Make it easy for customers! Appreciate them, their time and value to your company. They are not numbers, demographic segments, dutiful servants, idiots waiting for your wisdom, nor puppets for profit.


Respect. them. Care for them. Each — and every one of them!




What tips would you add?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Grateful for image by: Spackletoe via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Related posts:
Irresistible Customer Experience: What Every Customer Wants!
Super Customer Experience: Feelings Aren’t Random
Inside Customer Service Video Series: Kate Nasser
10 Winning Beliefs for Super Customer Experience

©2013-2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Irresistible Customer Experience: The Core Truth

An irresistible customer experience is not the tough unachievable summit many leaders and teams picture. There are things that every customer wants to hear and wants to experience.

Irresistible Customer Experience: Image is pictoquote of Make positive thinking our way of life.

Irresistible Customer Experience: What Every Customer Wants! Image by: BK Symphony of Love

Image by BK Symphony of Love via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Irresistible Customer Experience: What Everyone Wants

An irresistible experience …

  • Is pleasurable.
  • Makes us feel wanted.
  • Puts us in a positive light.
  • Gives us something we really want.
  • Surprises us with something positive we didn’t even know we wanted.
  • Gets better and better each time.
  • Reawakens pleasant feelings we had before.
  • Prevents or relieves difficulty or pain.
  • Elevates us in some way.



An irresistible experience doesn’t …

  • Inflict pain.
  • Confuse.
  • Demean.
  • Manipulate.
  • Ignore.
  • Require anger for action.



What customers want to hear …

  1. Welcome. We’re happy you’re here.
  2. Thank you for being our customer.
  3. You’re the reason we exist.
  4. We like serving you.
  5. We respect your choices.
  6. We’re glad you’re back.
  7. We’re listening.
  8. We work hard so you won’t have to.
  9. You’re worth it.
  10. We’re sorry you’re having trouble. Let us fix it!
  11. We will make this easy for you.



Marketing folks capture this core truth of irresistible customer experience in the company tag lines they write. So why do so many companies with great tag lines struggle with delivering an irresistible customer experience?


They make the simple truth complicated!

  • They don’t believe that customer experience is critical to financial success. Yet the simple truth is, customers leave when the experience they have with your company is mediocre or bad.
  • They mistrust customers and thus hedge on giving. Irresistible customer experience becomes unattainable.
  • They mistrust employees and thus don’t empower them. Say goodbye to irresistible customer experience.
  • They become metric-centric instead of customer-centric. Customers don’t list great metrics as an irresistible customer experience!
  • They believe that only small companies can deliver an irresistible customer experience very time. They think that scaling up makes wowing the customer impossible. This belief blocks the possibility. If you can’t envision it, it won’t happen.




However, when we remember the core truth of what every customer wants, we are well on the way to delivering an irresistible customer experience every single time.





Irresistible Customer Experience: Image is "Thank You Cards"

Irresistible Customer Experience: The Simple Core Truth Image by: KatrinaAlana

Image by Katrina Alana via Flickr Creative Commons License.



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Customer Experience Superstars & The Irresistible Things They Give
Customer Experience Vibe: Are You Being Generous or Greedy
Fake Empowerment: The True Cost to Customer Experience


©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customers Frustrating You? Stay Professional in Unfair Moments!


Are Customers Frustrating You? Image is Speak No Evil Hand Over Mouth

Are Customers Frustrating You Onto the Ledge?

Image by Tim Samoff via Flickr Creative Commons License.


In my previous post, 5 Powerful Beliefs to Win Over Rude Angry Customers. I explained 5 ways to stay objective and caring with rude or angry customers.


One customer service representative left the following comment riddled with frustration and posed a heartfelt question. I felt what she was going through and promised I would write this post to respond.

Her Struggle

I’m having a very very difficult customer service day, and am trying to talk myself off the ledge. Specific to my current customer service issues, I am convinced that it doesn’t matter how nice you are, how much you let them vent, how much you empathize with them, how much you don’t interrupt, how much you try to help, there are just some people who you cannot make happy no matter what, and that’s what I’m dealing with right now. Frustration is a good way to describe this.

My question is: When is enough enough? When should respect be commanded? ~Wendy Y.





Are Customers Frustrating You?

Have you ever felt frustrated with customers just like Wendy? I think most of us would say yes.

  • When customers claim we didn’t tell them something when actually we did
  • When customers don’t communicate their expectations until they see the solution isn’t working
  • When customers change requirements at the last minute
  • When customers get impatient with us



Feeling frustrated is human. Wanting to finally show it is also human and very foolhardy.

  1. It won’t change the customer’s behavior.
  2. It won’t command or earn you respect. It will cost you.
  3. It won’t feel as good as you think because you will pay for this moment of revenge in future interactions or lost business.




Picture Customers Frustrating You

Picture yourself feeling frustrated with customers. What are they doing? What do you want them to do — change their behavior? Lashing out at them or giving them sarcastic slams won’t accomplish that.

If you are, as Wendy said, on the ledge and ready to lose it, write down all the reasons the customers might be acting that way. The list will be long and incomplete and there is only one way to work in this state — with a patient positive can-do attitude.

Focus on what needs to be done and do it. Simple! Deliver knowledge with care. It keeps you and the customers moving toward a solution not detouring to the land of emotional squabbles, vengeful dings, hurtful one-upsmanship.



Picture customers frustrating you and remember that customer service is not friendship. It’s not equality. It’s a professional pursuit of objective caring that allows us to be proud and happy when we show patience and restraint in frustrating unfair moments.


Customers frustrating you? Don’t make it a battle of who’s right or wrong. Use your emotional intelligence to show customers how professional, perceptive, and forbearing you are.


I look forward to helping you and your teams reach this level of happy professionalism!



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Customer Service Superstars: 11 Things They Give That Make Them Great!
Simple Integrity: Best Single Step We Can Take
Potent Communication: 9 People Skills Tips That Make It Easy

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

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Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer Effort: Does Your Invoice Ruin the Customer Experience?


If your gut reaction to this question is, of course, pause for a moment. I’m not speaking about customers wishing your product/service was free or less expensive. This story is about an alarming trend of companies sending out confusing bills.


Customer Effort: Image is a confusing list of numbers.

Customer Effort: Paying the Bill Should Be Easy Not Confusing! Image by Eliazar Parra Cardenas via Flickr.

Image by Eliazar Parra Cardenas via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Customer Effort: Punctuate a Great Experience With an Easy Bill

The Story
I damaged a tire on my brand new car. It was a side puncture so the tire did not go flat. Yet I suspected I would need a new tire.

I called a place I had bought tires before. Mike was very nice. He asked me what type of tire and asked me to come in and he would look at it. When I arrived Mike wasn’t there yet Dave knew about it and told me they ordered my type of tire just in case I needed it — which I did.

This was a great customer experience. They were proactive and helpful. They even said they could do it in time for me to leave for my next appointment and they did it. THEN suddenly the experience soured. I looked at the bill. There were multiple columns of numbers and fees for extra services I had turned down. I said to Dave, “Why is this so complicated? I have bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and I can’t even understand this bill.”



Dave tried to explain the bill yet you could see he was struggling to make it clear. I expected three numbers in a straight column — the cost of the tire, labor and service charges, and sales tax — that would add up to the total.


Customer Effort: Other Difficult Examples

  • Telephone bills with unrecognizable taxes strewn over multiple pages. How much customer effort does it take to understand a telephone bill?
  • Hotel bills that display as double entry accounting — how many customers understand double entry accounting? Extra customer effort to understand a hotel bill leaves a bad lasting memory.
  • Banking statements with transactions in the order of when they cleared — most people write their check ledger in check#/date order. Why do banks ask customers to extend this extra customer effort just to balance their checkbooks? Make it easy!



Confusing bills are such an unnecessary ding against a wonderful customer experience. Don’t mar the great customer service experience you give with a confusing invoice. Raising doubt and mistrust at the moment you’re asking for money is risky and foolish!


Customer Effort Tip


Invoice — should be “in” the customer’s “voice”, — not yours!



You’ll get paid more easily with fewer questions.



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Business Leadership: Who Are Your Customers’ Advocates? You?
Create a Generous Customer Experience Vibe – It’s Irresistible!

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer Experience Superstars: Are You Ready to Be One?


For years I’ve had the honor of inspiring customer service and customer experience professionals to be superstars.

Super stardom starts with desire. The actions that create a marvelous customer experience come from the thirst to celebrate the customers.

Customer Experience Superstars: Image is gold stars.

The Celebratory Give & Take of Customer Experience Superstars!! Istock Image.





Superstars shine through customer success.


They engage in the celebratory give and take of customer care.


Their leaders inspire this desire daily and guide efforts to service excellence.




Image licensed from Istock.com

The desire launches through inspiration, takes shape in beliefs, sustains with commitment, develops through actions, and is honed with daily practice.



Are you and your teams ready to be customer experience superstars?



Customer Experience Superstars: Here’s What to Give & Take


    #1 Give your attention. To what customer trust truly means. To the customers themselves. To the customers’ human needs as well as the tactical requests. To the details of execution without turning the details into the destination. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is the customer care to get there.


    #2 Give your listening. For what the customer perceives and is trying to achieve. Customer experience superstars celebrate the input to create output. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is harmony with the customer to get there.


    #3 Give your empathy. It is the essential connection to customer trust. Empathy is feeling what the customer feels. It is not limited to comforting them in negative situations. It is the underpinning of great design. It crafts customer friendly policies. It puts you and the customer in community. It solves actual customer problems. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is empathy with the customer to get there.


    #4 Give your heart. Customers judge commitment and establish trust through the heart. Heart is visible in the quality of products and services. It is authentic. It shows through the design and delivery. It elevates the spirit as it meets a tangible need. Heart transforms a great idea or invention into sublime success and profit for both. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is giving your heart and authenticity to the customer to get there.


    #5 Give your objectivity. Objectivity unsticks people from tunnel vision. It creates new roads to success. It questions the obvious to uncover the obstacle and discover the answer. It preserves your professionalism in tough times and serves the customer well. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is using your objectivity with heart to get there.


    #6 Give your balance. Balance creates a valuable human connection with the customer. Balance feels good. It draws customers back to you and the comfort. It impresses customers with your ability to see the big picture before they complain. It is not the extreme enforcement of a rigid policy. It is the design and use of procedures as guidelines that enable marvelous service. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is keeping your balance to get there.


    #7 Give your ease. There is one thing that every customer wants and that is ease! Ease of interacting with you. Ease of using your website. Ease of getting information. Ease of making a decision. Ease of use. Ease of purchase. Ease of meeting their specific needs through you. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is making it easy for the customers to get it.


    #8 Give your flexibility. Large organizations often struggle with this. They design a complex structure to preserve quality yet these become rigid processes that instill fear of flexibility. Customer experience superstars like Zappos, Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton have conquered that fear. They plan and manage for success yet don’t let the plan kill the customer experience. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is conquering the fear of flexibility to get there.


    #9 Give your knowledge and insight. In the mobile sea of Web based information, customers still value perspective, experience, and insight. Anyone can look up a list of restaurants for their vacation spots. Front desk superstars and concierges can filter that list and tailor it for the customers. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is expert tailoring for a wonderful customer fit!


    #10 Give your solutions. Delivery with care is the mecca of a great customer experience and what customer experience superstars do so well. Solutions that hit the mark leave a lasting memory. It takes both vision and tremendous cross teamwork. It takes true customer focus to overcome the security of internal bureaucracy. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is the teamwork, urgency, and follow-through to get there.


    #11 Give your professionalism. Professionalism is loving the feeling of caring for others. With customer experience superstars, it supersedes frustration, impatience, and envy. It puts a positive tone into every word. It holds the customer’s best interest in equal weight to the company’s goals. It defines the superstar’s work identity and sustains the long term customer relationship. The destination is a great customer experience. The mission is professionalism to get there.




Be Customer Experience Superstars!

Find and Take …

  • Pride in your service; it is not servitude.
  • Note of your growth; it is not an easy road.
  • Comfort in the comfort you provide.
  • Strength in your teams’ collective talents.
  • Every opportunity to wow the customer.



Customer experience superstars celebrate what they contribute to the customer’s success. They take extra care and pride in doing it.


Be customer experience superstars. Shine through the customers’ achievements. Be instruments to their success. Get set and be ready for mission possible!


Leaders, how are you inspiring and developing customer experience superstars?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Business Leadership: Who Are Your Customers’ Advocates?
Rapport is the Artery to the Heart of Trust for Super Customer Experience
Leaders, Are You All Attitude Ready?

©2012-2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Business Leadership: Do You Have a Culture of Customer Advocacy?


If a customer asked you right now — who is my advocate — what would you say? The consumer protection agency? The better business bureau? Or everyone in this company!


Business Leadership: Image is two hands joined.

Business Leadership: Who Are Your Customers’ Advocates? Image by Craig Sunter via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Craig Sunter via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Or would you hesitate? Would you start thinking of which department handles angry customers?

If a customer asks one of your employees — who is my advocate — will they be stumped by the question?

If you and your teams wouldn’t all respond “we are”, it’s time to ask yourselves …


Do we really have a culture of customer advocacy?



To customers, the answer is either yes or no — not halfway or maybe.



Business Leadership: Without Customer Advocacy

When customers ask, “who is my advocate”, the only answer that earns you their trust is … “all of us.” Else at some point, the customers will experience:

  • The Great Runaround.

    Whether it’s in a small professional practice, a mid-size business, or a large corporation, the customers will feel like hockey pucks at some point as you and your teams pass them around. Meanwhile the pucks (your customers) will look around for a company that advocates for them instead of playing with them.


  • The Tug-of-War.

    When you specify departments or individuals as customer advocates, you set up customer interaction as a tug-of-war. It tells the customer you want to contain what you offer them. The customers must tug and tug to get what they want.


  • The Last Resort.

    If your business leadership isn’t customer advocacy, the culture is “catch the customers just before they leave.” Yet, your retention efforts are late. By then, the customers are fed up and no longer trust you. They feel unappreciated. They have endured too much disdain, frustration, and pain to still care.



Business Leadership Customer Loyalty: Image is a saying.

Business Leadership for Customer Loyalty: Image by Lessons Learned in Life.




Business leadership without customer advocacy comes across as manipulative and greedy. It mistrusts customers in the fear they will drain profits. It isolates their requests to certain departments in response to this fear. This toxic vibe is not a customer retention strategy.





Long term success in business is achieved through and with the customers. Let your message to customers be: We exist because of you!


Have each and every customer saying, “This company makes life easy. They are reasonable and professional. They have great products and services at a fair price and I have no need to leave.”


Build a culture of customer advocacy. Empower every employee to be a customer advocate. Seek and destroy all silos, tugs-of-war, runarounds, and mistrust. That’s smart business leadership that creates customer loyalty.



What businesses have impressed you in this way? Give them a shout-out here!



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Business Leadership: The True Cost of Fake Empowerment on Customer Experience
Business Leadership: Win Customer Loyalty on the Move!
Customer Service is Head & Shoulders Above When You’ve Got Their Back

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, delivering the ultimate customer service experience, employee engagement, and teamwork. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Simple Integrity: People Skills Influence


Simple Integrity: Image is Happy Emotion & Sad Emotion

Simple Integrity: Single Best Step We Can Take. Image by Andras Pfaff via Flickr.

Image by Andras Pfaff via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Simple integrity is the moment of truth in personal and professional relationships. Although integrity can seem complex, there is one basic step we can take to show simple integrity with others.




Simple Integrity: Which would you prefer?

Answer this question: When you feel wronged by someone what would you prefer to hear from them?


“You really feel betrayed by me.”



OR



“Clearly, I’ve let you down. I’m sorry.”




When we take ownership of how we’ve affected others, we affect others in a positive way. Our empathy with how they’re feeling now — minimizes the pain of what we did before. Neutrality would intensify their pain.


The best single step we can take for simple integrity is to show ownership not neutrality.









Question: Taking ownership makes others feel great. How does it make you feel?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leadership: Fairness is Not Neutrality
Potent Communication: 9 People Skills Tips That Make It Easy

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Ersatz Empowerment: Customers See Through to the Truth About Your Brand


Ersatz Empowerment: Image is Empty Panel w/ Magicians

Ersatz Empowerment: True Cost to Customer Experience. Image by Wonderlane via Flickr.

Image by Wonderlane via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Study after study shows that employee empowerment is essential for superior customer experience.  Complex layers of approvals and silos of solution teams create more than delays. They create breeches of customer trust.

Yet despite the research, leaders still engage in ersatz empowerment that falls short of what’s needed to create superior customer experience.

Ersatz empowerment includes:

  • Telling employees they are empowered yet not tooling them with information or technology to act empowered.  What does the customer actually experience? Holes and gaps and a vacuum of trust.  This lip service to empowerment is not half-way empowerment. It’s ersatz empowerment. It’s zero empowerment. It’s fake and customers can see through it.

  • Onboarding employees with procedures without orientation about the organization’s customer service culture.  Procedures alone do not empower and they don’t create superior customer service experience. Big picture awareness, knowledge of existing customers, and understanding how and when exceptions are made empowers employees to deliver superior customer experience.

  • Leaving silos in place that make front line empowerment impossible.  It takes cross teambuilding to break down silos. Front liners can’t do it alone. Without leaders changing the culture, you have ersatz empowerment at the front line that fills the customer with mistrust about your brand.

  • Believing that customer service skills are inborn.  They aren’t in most people. Customer service training is a vital mechanism for empowerment.  It empowers the employee with professional skills to step outside of their own perspective and into the customers’ mindsets. It gives them essential ways to build a thick skin and a warm heart for difficult moments.  It reduces the number of times they must escalate incidents to management.  This is true empowerment.These are trust building moments with customers and they make or break superior customer experience.




So what’s the true cost of ersatz empowerment to customer experience?



It’s more than just delays to resolving customer issues.  It’s more than just customer frustration.

The true cost of ersatz empowerment is loss of customer trust.  Customers translate all of the holes, gaps, delays, and frustration to one powerful feeling:

You don’t care therefore I don’t trust you.


This is a very avoidable catastrophe.  Create a culture of customer service excellence with truly empowered employees.  Give them training, tools, big picture awareness, knowledge of customers, and collaborative engagement. 


Replace fake ersatz empowerment with a trust building organization that will outstrip the competition and sustain itself for decades to come.


I’m here to help you! Let’s talk soon about the steps to empowering your customer service and customer experience teams.


From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™


Related Posts:
True Customer Experience Leadership: Breed Initiative Beyond Procedures
Customer Experience Vibe: Is Yours Generous Or Greedy?

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

Customer Experience Vibe: Do Customers See You as Generous or Greedy?

Customer Experience Vibe: Image is a Gift Box With Gold Bow

Customer Experience Vibe: Generous or Greedy? Image by SalFalco via Flickr.

Image by: SalFalco via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Everyone knows companies are in business to make money. Yet if customers feel that is the customer experience vibe of your company, you lose. Customers can sense greed and it repulses them. 

But there is good news!



Customer Experience Vibe: Generous Not Greedy

Generosity is a giving attitude. It’s a focus on others’ needs — in this case those of the customers. A generous customer experience vibe says to customers, it’s “non-stop you” — to borrow a tagline from Lufthansa Airlines.

Generosity doesn’t mean giving away the profits. It doesn’t require deep discounts. There is significant research to show that people will actually pay more for a product or service, when the customer experience is great.


Create a generous customer experience vibe. It’s irresistible!

  • Great listening feels generous. Telling feels greedy as it seizes control of the moment. Great listening invites others’ thoughts. It is the generosity of an open-mind. It is a magnetic customer experience vibe that draws people back to you. Listen generously.

  • Flexibility feels generous. Rigidity feels greedy. One of the classic customer service training videos, Give ‘em a Pickle, tells the story of entrepreneur and restaurant owner Bob Farrell who realized that giving an extra pickle could secure customer loyalty. Just one extra pickle when the customer requested it created a generous customer experience vibe. Find ways to be flexible with customers!

  • Clarity feels generous. Smoke screens feel greedy. It gives information that feeds decisions and resolves problems. This builds trust and brings customers back. Conversely, fast talking sales reps like some car dealers I recently met, seem greedy as they withhold information and create confusion. Telephone menus (VRUs) that spin people around trying to guess the right option, seem like greedy robots that suck up customers’ time while lowering companies’ costs. Be generous. Be clear!

  • Win/win collaboration feels generous. Win/lose feels greedy. When you create the customer experience vibe of “we win when you win”, customers come back for more. When customers feel a power struggle between them and you, they move on.

  • Giving words feel generous; selling words feel greedy.

    I’ll never forget the day I purchased some cosmetics in a large well known beauty store. The sales rep was helpful and I bought what I went in for and two more items. Then the manager said to the sales rep, “nice up-selling.” This remark turned it from a positive customer experience vibe to a feeling of greedy manipulation. I never went back. Customers don’t like to be sold; but they love to buy. ~Jeffrey Gitomer


  • Respecting customers’ preferences feels generous; being handled feels greedy.

    I had an appointment with my dental hygienist and dentist for a regular cleaning and checkup. When I showed up, the hygienist led me inside, sat me in the chair, and then told me that my dentist wasn’t there that day. I could have the other dentist give me a checkup or skip it. How greedy! They decided what my options were to favor their hygienist’s schedule. They should have called me to let me know my dentist wouldn’t be there and ask me if I would like to reschedule or come at least for the cleaning. Professional service is about serving people not manipulating customers to secure revenue.






As a customer, what generous or greedy customer experience have you had?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Courtesy Checklist: 10 Superior Ways to Succeed With Customers
10 Winning Beliefs for Superior Customer Experience
Customer Experience People Skills: 5 Needless Costly Mistakes

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

True Customer Experience Leadership Breeds Initiative Beyond Procedures

 

Leaders, true customer experience leadership succeeds by believing that procedures can only go so far. There is no way to foresee everything the customer will request. Employees close the remaining gaps to ensure a great customer experience.

 

That is, they do if you breed employee initiative. Even when you are not comfortable empowering them fully, foster their sense of initiative. Without it, customer experience and your brand image falters. True customer experience leadership doesn’t let this happen.


True Customer Experience Leadership:; Image is an empty packet of ketchup.

True Customer Experience Leadership: Breed Initiative. Image by Hi Turkey Toe via Flickr.

Image by Hello Turkey Toe via Flickr Creative Commons License.


A True Story to Illustrate

I was in an upscale grocery store that had a  cafe for dining.  The store is known for their customer service. They are also heavy into metrics, procedures, forecasting and planning.  I was in the cafe eating on a Thursday evening and two staff members were nearby discussing that they had run out of ketchup packets. The conversation was very telling.

“Can you believe we’re out of ketchup? How can a grocery store be out of ketchup?”



I heard the employees and said, “Maybe you could get some bottles from the grocery aisle and put them around this restaurant section. You could ask the general manager how to account for it. It would be great customer service and the diners would appreciate it.” Other diners heard me and echoed what I said.

He simply replied, “Oh well, I think the ketchup packets are coming in on Saturday.”  He showed no initiative. Not even to bring it to management’s attention.


Will the diners overlook that there was no ketchup? Possibly. 

Will they forget that employees did nothing to help when bottles of ketchup were a short walk away? Probably not.


This upscale grocery store does a huge in-store dining business. They also cater extensively. So why did employees do nothing to address the customer experience gap?

Is there true customer experience leadership at this grocery store chain? Or have the leaders put so much focus on planning, metrics, and procedures that employees believe they must live within that frame?


True Customer Experience Leadership: Inspire Initiative If Not Empowerment

It is so interesting that the employees were aware of how customers would perceive the shortage. They knew it would seem illogical for a cafe in a grocery store to be out of ketchup. They were in tune with customers’ views yet showed no initiative to close the gap.

Did they know they should? Great customer experience must go beyond what leadership foresees, prescribes, and plans.

  1. Inspiration. Leaders as you speak with employees, your words cannot be purely about metrics and procedures. You must talk and walk a can-do attitude to close customer experience gaps. It is by your daily demeanor and behavior that the employees become inspired to care for customers — beyond procedures.

  2. Initiative. Breed a sense of initiative in all employees. Initiative is the action to see what’s possible. Even if you don’t empower employees to decide on the solution, their initiative can bring the real life customer experience questions to your attention. Show them your initiative in closing customer experience gaps and call them to do the same.

  3. Remove the fear. Organizations with a strong focus on metrics, inadvertently breed employee fear of stepping outside of standard procedures that drive the metrics. Employees prefer to play it safe even if the customer experience and brand reputation suffers. True customer experience leadership removes the fear by removing the blame. Never punish an employee for showing initiative and bringing customer experience gaps to your attention. Better yet, empower them to act!



Are you using true customer experience leadership to breed initiative beyond procedures? It readies everyone in the company to make a difference for the customer!


Pose this question at your next leadership or all hands meeting for no-cost customer experience improvement. The question and the answers can transform your culture!



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Service Recovery: Go Beyond Problem Solving
Customer Experience: The Opposite of Convenience May Surprise You
Customer Experience Leadership: Are Your Metrics to Loud to Hear the Customer?

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

 

 

PS-EnergyBar-LogoJoin me through these social channels

Engage in people skills learning! Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience. I invite your questions, share my experience, and welcome your wisdom.

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