Monthly Archives: December 2014

Last impressions

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…thanks for visiting hanging sign

Top Tip #6

Last impressions

You’re only as good as your last encounter with the customer.

What’s the very last thing your customers see, hear, smell, taste or feel as they leave?

What will your customers remember most about doing business with you?

Whatever happens in the last few moments of their transaction that will undoubtedly influence their lasting impression.

What’s the one thing they remember when they get home, or next time they’re thinking of doing business with you….


Say thank you

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to meenvelope and note

Tip #5

Say thank you

In the same way you’d thank a friend or relative for their Christmas gift, a simple verbal thank you or even better a thank you note is always appreciated by your customers. And an added bonus, it helps you to stay on their radar.

It’s one of the simplest ways to get your customers’ attention and to make them feel special.

It not only shows your appreciation, but it will give them something to remember you by.


Give customers a warm welcome to the New Year

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to memake training memorable

Tip #4

Give customers a warm welcome to the New Year

It’s all too easy after the holidays to feel a bit sluggish and slow to get back into the swing of things. But, behaviour breeds behaviour and so any lack of enthusiasm on your part rubs off on to your customers (and your team).

Look forward to the start of the New Year and welcome your customers with open arms…


Consistency +1%

graph

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

 

Tip #3

Consistency +1%

Do what you say you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. Better still plus a little bit extra.

Everyone talks about going the extra mile, but in my book going the extra inch is enough as it gives you some leeway add something extra next time!

Whatever you deliver now effectively sets your promise for next time to. So ensure you’re able to maintain consistency, or consistency +1%


Give customers a reason to return

exclusive offers for existing customers

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

 

Tip #2

Give customers a reason to return.

Show your appreciation and give something of value for encourage your customers back in the New Year.

Make your loyal customers feel special by putting together bonuses, deals or events which are exclusive to them.

Even if it’s not for them personally; if it’s something they can share or pass to a friend, it’s the gesture that counts.

Set up privileged access to special products, upgraded services, valuable information, previews, invitations to private events, or exclusive deals. Something that’s of value to them, and not available to new customers.

The more exclusive the better.


Accept the gift of feedback

12 days of a customer focused Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me…question mark with speech bubles

 

Tip #1

Accept the gift of feedback

Never take your regular customers for granted; ask for their feedback and resolve shortfalls quickly. Listen and observe so you can avoid any problems before they arise.

Your customer feedback is a gift. It gives you the chance to learn and put things right so seek customer feedback whenever you can, ideally first-hand. Listen and ensure you understand the feedback before responding and acting on it.


Adding a touch of magic

magic wandYesterday I was being filmed for an online customer care training programme I have written for one of my clients.

We had some fun with the retakes, but I’m pleased to report it went remarkably smoothly and we were done in time for a bit of last minute Christmas shopping.

One of the things we focus on in the programme is adding little touches of magic for customers.

These are the little moments that make them feel valued and that bit special, and which stay with them long after the event. The sort of things that get talked about and recounted to colleagues, friends and family.

As you celebrate Christmas keep your eye out for the little touches that add magic for you and your family. And look out for those that could be translated into the business world, and bring a memorable touch to light up your customers’ experience.

Make them smile

In the same way you might compliment Aunty Doris on her new hair cut, or share a joke, it might just be something we say or small gesture that really makes our customer’s day.

Spot opportunities to bring a smile to your customer’s face.

Help your customers to celebrate

Even if you’re a Bah Humbug sort of person, you usually enter into the spirit of things for the family’s sake! In the same way, something that seems insignificant to us might be a big deal for a customer. Share in their excitement.

What can you do to help them celebrate their special day or achievement?

Remember your Customers

You’ve just earned extra brownie points as you remember a loved one’s favourite perfume!

The same principle applies to your customers… Make them feel valued. Never under estimate the impact when you remember someone’s preferences especially when they aren’t expecting it.

Do they have any particular likes and dislikes, what is their favourite tipple, their favourite colour, or as simple as how they take their coffee.

They’ll be touched you remembered.

I saw this and thought of you

Don’t you just love it when you open up a gift, and it’s perfect for you?

Whether for Christmas, birthday or simply because someone says, “I saw this and thought of you, and I knew I just had to get it for you!”.

It feels really good that somebody’s gone to the trouble of finding something that they knew that you’d love. You’re perhaps surprised that they paid attention to something you’ve mentioned in passing. You may feel humbled that they’ve gone to so much trouble to find the exact match of something you’ve always wanted.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get our customers to feel that way about what we give them?

Adding GLUE

Spot opportunities to Give Little Unexpected Extras

It’s akin to those moments when you go into the kitchen and find the kids have done all the washing up! (OK, so maybe I’m dreaming here…!) or Cousin Clare has brought you a jar of her delicious home-made jam that all the family love.

It’s the simple little gestures that don’t cost much.

Simple things such as getting back to people quicker than anticipated – speed always impresses; finding something they’ve mentioned even though it’s not something you normally stock; gift wrapping or packing something with a personal touch or greeting because you notice it’s for a special occasion; including something extra just because you think they’ll appreciate it due to e.g. the weather, time of day, who they have with them.

All these are spontaneous unexpected extras – all of which are tailored to the individual and situation. So make your ‘extras’ relevant, well timed and personal.

Creating Magic Moments

What ideas do you have to create magic moments for your customers?

Challenge your team to come forward with their own ideas – If they were a customer coming to your business what little touches would they love that would make it memorable or extra special for them?

Ask them to imagine they had a magic wand and had all the time in the world, and a limitless budget…

What potential added extras can make an average experience into an amazing experience for your customers?


What irritates customers?

What irritates you?Why?

A couple of weeks ago the Sunday Times ran an article on what irritates hotel guests the most. I have to say it brought a wry smile to my face as nearly everything mentioned I’ve experienced myself.

But it’s not just hotels that can get the simplest of things wrong. Are you ever left puzzled and wondering why on earth a business does what it does when it has a negative impact on the customer?

What are the things that most irritate you when you are a customer?

I thought I’d share with you my top twelve most irritating practices. Forgive me if this comes over as a bit of a rant, but do you know of any businesses that are guilty of any of these? Maybe, as it’s the season of goodwill you might like to let them know so they can do something about it!

1. Road to nowhere

Hiding their postcode away on the website or worse still having a postcode that won’t work in helping you locate them. Yes, it might be an accurate postcode used by the Post Office, but 99.9% of people who are looking for a postcode will only wanted it to help locate them, not to be sent round the houses or to a back entrance.

What comes up on Google maps and satnavs for your postcode?

2. Everything’s out

When you ask a member of staff for something and all they can respond is ”Everything we have is out” doesn’t actually answer the question! It’s as good as saying “I don’t know and don’t much care”. Don’t they know what they have in stock?

Why would any customer want to go searching if the answer is no, and if the answer is yes for goodness sake help us find it!

3. Impracticalities

What I mean here is when something just can’t perform the tasks for which it was designed.

For example in a hotel room when the kettle is positioned so that it can’t reach the socket without having to rearrange everything on the table, or even putting the kettle on the floor so the cord reaches the socket. Worse still having moved said kettle and going back to your room later to find it moved back to its old position, so you have to do it all again.

Does your layout or process make it easy for customers and if they ask for something to be changed do you oblige or go back to your ‘standard’?

4. Look but don’t touch

You know in clothes stores when jumpers are all beautifully folded but you can’t see what they are really like without picking it up and feeling awkward in case you ruin the display?

Same goes for leaflets or useful info that’s all pristinely laid out.

Do you encourage customers to browse, or make them feel awkward?

5. Packaging

Taking delivery of a package that has so much tape on it it’s impossible to open it without taking to the knife and running the risk of ruining the contents inside as you do so.

Why are we so obsessed with so much packaging?

6. Do I need new specs?

Typefaces which are far too small to read. Small type on menus in romantically lit restaurants, working out which is the soap and which is the hand cream in the toilets without having to put your glasses on, business cards which require a magnifying glass to read the contact details…

Same applies online; dark fonts on a dark background (often the hyperlinks) that are all but invisible, log in areas or page menus tucked away in small fonts.

Have a thought for us oldies! As we get older our eyesight gets weaker so it’s not a good idea to rely on the views of trendy young thirty somethings!

7. Your call is important to us

It’s bad enough being put on hold, but when you’re not even asked first of all if you’re prepared to wait, and then left with atrocious deafening music. Even worse when you’re told “Your call is important to us”.

What do your customers get to hear when they are put on hold?

8. How much is it?

The saying goes “If you have to ask the price you probably can’t afford it” comes to mind when you can’t find a price tag. Why do some businesses insist on hiding the price away so you have to hunt for it leaving you wondering if the above statement is true?

How visible and transparent is your pricing?

9. Now where?

When you’re involved in a business day in day out you know where to go or what to do next. But of course customers are not so familiar.  We like guidelines and good signage that tell us where to go or what to do next.

How clear is it on your website what step to take next, or when arriving at your business which way to go?

10. Premium numbers

The whole concept of being charged a premium to call a business when I’m the customer is beyond me, yet how many businesses only list a number which if not premium from a landline will certainly be premium from a mobile.

Worse still not listing a phone number at all and making me go through web forms to make any kind of contact which of course is dependent on being online.

How easy is it for customers to contact you directly?

11. That’s not in my script

A script might be fine as a guideline. But when it’s followed to the letter irrespective of your responses, you may as well not bother.

Do all your team listen and know how to respond appropriately if they get an unexpected response from the customer?

12. Not delivering what’s promised

Stuff happens and there are times we really can’t deliver what’s been promised. But not letting me know till the last minute leaves me high and dry with fewer options.

How well do you keep your customers informed if you’re about to miss the target …even if it’s because you’re waiting on them for an answer…?

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So these are some of the things that most irritate me.

How about you? What are the things that bug you when you’re the customer?

p.s. The chances are that if any of these things irritate you, there’ll be things that irritate your customers in your business.

And if you’re not sure?

Two things you can do…

  1. Have everyone in your team (including you) experience as much of the customer journey as possible AS A CUSTOMER.
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  2. ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS directly for their feedback. What little things can you do to make it a smoother, quicker or all round better customer experience?