Customer Service is like 'Chinese Whispers' where a wave gesture to say Hello could be seen as a Good Bye. It is extremely critical to speak your customer's language and gestures so it is 'handshakes & high-fives' all the way. Easier said than done right.
Building a “Client-first” company, rather culture, means doing everything, even if it is a small thing, with your clients in mind and exceeding their needs and expectations. Rather than vague statements, companies need to implement policies and procedures to put the customer at the centre of the company. We all have heard it a million times ‘always under promise and over deliver’. However, we need to be honest and true (meaning knowing and recognising our strengths and weaknesses) to who we are and then allow our clients to see this truth and passion to deliver in every interaction we have with them.
Though living and breathing customer loyalty can be a tough task, there are several simple changes one can make to begin to grow a passionate client base.
Take it from Google: "Focus on the user, and all else will follow."
1. WHO IS MY CUSTOMER – Persona Matters
Who is your customer? What do they do? What do they need? Data can help you unlock useful information about your clients, but you will need to invest real time getting to know them personally too. Ask yourself some questions about your target customers. Are you working with corporations, or individuals? Up- and coming start-ups, or larger, more established companies? While it is possible to have a wide range of customers, such as working with both corporations and individuals, by separating them into categories you can map out how you plan to market and service each type of customer.
Dedicate a large portion of you time to calling your customers in an effort to understand their unique needs. By speaking directly with your sponsor, you will learn very quickly what is important to them. And thus you will always know that the experiences (sales) you create for them are going to be in line with their needs and vision. Knowing who you prefer to do business with one can stop running in circles and wasting time trying to service everyone. You can concentrate on what your ideal customer wants and anticipate their needs.
2. CUSTOMER ALIGNMENT STARTS FROM ME
Let’s try an experiment - Walk through the office today and chose three people at random and ask them about your company's values, ideally they all should give very similar answers. It is critical for everyone to know what your company stands for and all the team members should understand your company's purpose. If the company believes in providing exceptional customer service then we need to breathe it.
“Envision, create, and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you.” ― Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Companies who focus on customer experience know that this is largely dependent on effective communication and assistance from multiple functional groups within the company. The entire team must be motivated to work together to respond to customer questions, issues, ideas, and praise in the company in a systematic and timely manner. This ultimately results in the breaking down of silos across the company and a united focus on serving the customer.
3. ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL
"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well."
- Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
Understanding the needs of the customer should not stop at sales (prospect) or the delivery units (client). Whether you are a part of IT, Management or Human Resources, knowing and understanding the customer’s needs, wants and concerns will create a more focused and customer-centric company. Amazon is an excellent example of creating an environment of “customer first”. It is a requirement that everyone takes a turn working in customer service no matter their department.
This ensures that everyone gets to listen, not just hear, what the client wants and thus get themselves aligned to that delivery. Have maximum number of team members on calls with the client. Whenever possible, make these a video conference call so that the entire team will have a face to know, recognize and relate to. Let your customer also see that they are working with real people and not just project managers. There will be a clear shift from perception to priority within the team as they align themselves to that greater cause.
Excellent customer service is the number one job & personality for everyone in any company. This is the reason customers come back. Ensure the customer keeps thinking ‘I love working with them and I will tell others about this experience.'
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou, American Poet