We can read many books and articles on customer service strategies and how to create processes that serve customers more successfully. All these things are precious, but if we put our full attention on processes, systems, strategies and procedures, we could lose sight of something very important.
Customers come first.
This means that each of your customers, like everyone else, wants to feel important. It’s a universal truth: we all want that feeling and will gravitate towards those who make us feel that way.
Tip: Having customers gravitate towards you is a great thing.
Here are seven ways that you, as an individual, regardless of company policies or systems, can make customers feel more important, written from the customer’s perspective:
Please use my name. I know I have a customer or registration number and may need to give it to you. But I also know that once you enter that number into the system, you know my name. Use it. If I give you my credit card, now you will know my name too. Please use it.
I want to be part of the “in” crowd. This is why I like to be invited to frequent flyer clubs, frequent buyer clubs, or anything that offers me discounts, special services, education, or surprises. If you have this kind of club, invite me to join. If you don’t already have one, consider starting one.
Ask me for advice. I have an opinion, and if you ask me in the right way, at the right time, when I know you really care about the answer, I will give you that advice. Opinion cards may be fine, but I’d like to be asked personally. Give me the opportunity to tell you what I think and I will reward you with my other business. They don’t usually ask my opinion and I feel good. And who knows, you might even have a great idea for a new product or service.
Recognize me. I know you are busy sometimes. I can see the line. I also understand that your system may not work or that you have five people in the phone queue. I’ve been there, I work too. But when I call or come to you, please acknowledge that I am there and let me know that you are happy to be on the line. A smile and a greeting, or a “We will be with you soon” will be of great help. Recognize me and I will understand. Ignore me and well, how do you feel when you’ve been ignored?
Surprise me A little more with my order or a handwritten note would be nice. A special “just because” discount or a free dessert sample. It doesn’t have to be important and it doesn’t always have to be. If you receive a pleasant surprise, do you want to share it with others? I also.
Apologize. I hate when people try to prove they’re right or fail to mention that the order is three days late, the supplement can’t be removed, or the item is out of stock. But then again, I know things happen. However, when things go wrong, please give me a simple apology. Here’s the funniest thing. When you make a mistake and then apologize (maybe even with a surprise of some kind), I will love you more than ever. Excuses and recovery from good service are so rare that you can take my dissatisfaction and turn it into loyalty if you do it right.
Listens. Most of the other things I have told you require you to listen. I can tell when you’re really listening to me and that makes me feel really good, because really listening is rare, sometimes even at home. Listen to my concerns. Listen to my ideas. Listen to my request, so that we do not have any misunderstandings. When you really listen, you can’t believe how good it makes me feel.