Delightful Customer Service
What makes a good recipe for Delightful Customer Service?
The recipe for good customer service is very similar to that for a good cake or cookie.
It is one that results in something that the person using the goods, products or services enjoys during the event and tells nice stories about after the event is over. This may be defined as a â€œDelightful Experienceâ€?.
Just think about the last nice cake or cookie that you enjoyed.
First of all it does not matter if it is a company in the whole or just a single employee, the ten (10) step recipe for a delightful experience is always the same:
- In advance, find out who your end customers are? And find out what they want and expect? In other words â€œAnticipate their needs!
- Understand what you have to offer them that matches their wants?
- Provide the goods and/or services to the customers in a manner that is enjoyable. Overcompensate your behavior.
- Be sure that the customer perceives value from the experience?
- During the process, make sure that the customer feels important and cared for? Donâ€™t â€œhover over themâ€? and donâ€™t ignore them as well.
- Study their actions, facial expressions, tone of voice, hand gestures and analyze what your interaction should be.
- Ask them if they would like some more of this or another product or service.
- When completed, ask them how they enjoyed the experience.
- Analyze their answer and â€œbrainstormâ€? how to make it better the next time. Everything can be made better. Think hard!
- Be ready for the next experience. Look sharp, clean up, plan ahead, organize everyone, lead the activities (be visible) and ask others opinions.
Note:â€œHoveringâ€? is defined as the activity of one person (provider) watching or interacting with another person (customer) to an extreme amount that creates a feeling of uncomfortable ness on the part of the customer. â€œEnd customerâ€? is defined as the person who actually enjoys our goods, products or services. â€œOvercompensated behavior â€œ is defined where you do more than you would normally do to make it easy for the customer to understand,use or enjoy your service.
How to get started ?
This recipe is easy to say and for many it may be very hard to do. So how does one actually get started in providingâ€œCustomer Delightâ€? ? There is a big difference between just providing customer service and providing customer delight! It can be called â€œThe guiding principle of lifeâ€?. It is something that you must learn and then just do naturally each and every moment of your life. It is called the building of trust through demonstrating integrity in your behaviour.
So what is â€œIntegrityâ€??
When you say you will do something, you first of all understand what is you say.... you will do. Secondly, you agree that you will actually do what you say you will do? This is then defined as a commitment. You need to clearly discuss with all related parties or other departments or other team members what you can do and what you cannot do. This is called clear and measurable communication.
It is understood that there are times when external conditions change such that you may find it difficult to complete what you thought you could complete. This is â€œokâ€? as long as it was out of your control, but do note its very important to communicate the same to the customer. And if for some reason is becomes difficult or impossible to do what you say you were planning to do, then you will at the earliest possible time provide notice at the situation has changed and you need to re- examine your commitment.
Is follow up important?
Absolutely, Following up is one of the most important steps, it is done when you have completed what you said you were going to do, you need to ask the persons/customers who you were doing it for, if it was done satisfactorily and met their expectations. Do collect feedback, and inform us, so we can make amends if the feedback is not positive, do not hide the feedback as it will really impact us and our future.
Ok, so what else?
Lastly, you need to hear their response, analyze what they told you and make changes in your behaviour to be a better position in the future to anticipate the expectations of the customer. This type of behaviour is then something that each person does all the time. Basically we may think of each interaction between two persons as a customer and supplier relationship. Someone wants something and we want to provide something to them.
This is just like a clerk in a store, hotel or travel agency or a waiter or waitress in a cafÃ© or restaurant. The concept is the same for each interaction between two persons.
How does one see the customer's point of view ?
In the process you begin to see the situation or interaction from the customer's point of view, sometimes referred to as â€œwalking in the customers shoesâ€?. You then begin to change your behaviour to make sure that it is easy for the customer to understand or enjoy what you do or provide for them.
You are pained when you do not get you PF on time and have to run around for it, or if you are using a service say from a cable TV provider or from a DTH service and your connection breaks, you have to make numerous calls , emails, and this becomes a pain. You even escalate matters but that too does not help. You cant watch TV for weeks and can only crib about it .(Ask Shiven, he just helped me sort out an issue with Dish TV that's been going on for one reason or the other, for a month or so).
Behaviour in this manner using the principle of Integrity then defines the difference between â€œCustomer Serviceâ€? and â€œCustomer Delightâ€?.
One common example is with your handwriting. Handwriting styles vary widely from person to person & surprisingly country to country too. Therefore for example, when writing or filing in a ROE form with the telephone number or address for a customer, make sure that you print these carefully... the letters and numbers that you write needs to be legible to all our teams...so as to clearly understand what you are writing.
Similarly we need to bear in mind that accents and mannerism that we hear over phone from our customers are more to do with the levels of literacy and have an impact of region dynamics. On a phone call, a person from north India will sound very aggressive, while a person from Gujarat -very soft and gentle, some people from South may sound helpless, but remember each one of them is communicating with you.... to fulfil a need. We, as customer orientated people, must understand these dynamics to bring about the delight factor and to build this important relationship.
Delighted customers are those where you anticipate their needs, provide solutions to them before they ask and where you are observing to see if new and/or additional expectations are about ready to be required. This is all"easy to say and difficult to do"; but, through commitment and practice you will soon achieve positive results.