Category Archives: Customer Experience

Customer Experience Goals

Customer experience goalsBegin with the end in mind ~ Your Customer Experience Goals

I love listening to books; I used to hate reading, so discovering Audible has introduced me to some brilliant books, which I’d probably never head read. I’m currently listening to Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. This is one book I have read before, and refer to his habits often.

If you’re familiar with the “Habits” you’ll know that the second habit is “to begin with the end in mind”.

Last week I talked about managing expectations, where one of the tips was to identify  the experience you want your customers to have, and the emotions you’d like them to feel. This is an example of beginning with the end in mind.

Whenever I’m working with my clients on improving their customer experience or creating a customer focused culture I find this is the best place to start. I like them to imagine either the conversation customers will be having in the car on their way home, or what they’d like their customers to feel, say, or do as a result of their visit or experience with you.

 

Emotions Matter

What emotions do you want to create for your customers? What would you like them to feel before (bear in mind a customer’s experience is influenced way before they ever set foot in your venue or business), during and after their visit?

Do you want them to feel confident in their decision, feel excited about their visit, feel special as they arrive, feel relaxed as a result of their visit? What would you like them to say about their experience? What memories do you want them to take away?  What do you want to be remembered for?

So, for example, if your venue is primarily for leisure you might want your customers to feel relaxed, energised, or calm. If it’s all about adventure you might want them to be feeling exhilarated, ready for anything, or on a high.  If your customers come to you to be pampered and spoilt you may want them to leave feeling a million dollars, feeling special, or confident.

You might not want them to be saying something on the lines of “Wasn’t that fantastic / great value / fun/”, or “We must tell John and Sarah about this place”, “We’ll definitely go back there again next week / month /year”.

What you want them to do might be to pick up the phone and book to come again, you might want them to pass on your details to their friends and you might want them to be posting a rave review on TripAdvisor. (Or of course all three!)

So how does this help you?

Once you know what you want the end result to be it’s considerably easier to plan the experience you deliver for your customers – all working towards that end goal.

You can create the activities, experiences and emotions that prompt them to feel, talk and act in this way.

 

Know what good looks like

Once you’re clear on the experience you want your customers have and the emotions you’d like them to feel (and the more precise you are the better), the easier it is to design each touch point of the customer journey to achieve this.

What do you and your team need to do, what behaviours would you expect to see or hear to achieve this? Ensure you have clearly defined expectations and standards. If you can’t describe or demonstrate what good looks like, how will your team know when they’re doing it right?

And once you’ve determined what it is you want your customers to be feeling, saying and doing as a result of their stay with/ visit to you, share this with your team.  Once they understand this you’ll not only all be working towards the same goal, but they’ll start to come up with their own ideas and spot opportunities to leave your customers feeling, saying and doing all the things you’d love them to.

 

Take Action

If you only do one thing – Ask everyone in your team to sum up in one word how they’d like customers to feel as a result of visiting your venue or doing business with you. Hep them keep these in mind to help them achieve your customer experience goals.

 

p.s.

If you’d like some help determining your customer experience goals and  ‘What Good Looks Like’ for your customer experience, book a 30 minute call with me here, where we can get crystal clear on your end goal and your priority actions to achieve this.

 



Managing Expectations

Managing expectations isn’t always easy. So what can you do to manage your customers’ expectations?

managing expectations

Have you ever had that experience on your birthday or Christmas when you’re all excited about opening a beautifully presented gift, only to find what’s inside is a real disappointment?

Or you’ve waited patiently for the delivery of that new shirt you’ve ordered, but when you open it up it’s nothing like described on their website; the colour looks different, the fabric feels cheap and it’s a poor fit.

One of the quickest ways to lose trust is when you or your marketing has promised one thing, but what your customers get is different (even if only from their perspective).

And, of course, it’s no wonder people leave unhappy if we’ve failed to meet their expectations.

 

Understand their expectation

We can help to manage customers’ expectations, but we need to define these first. Start by thinking about who your customers are in general, and what’s important to them. What are their expectations of your target audience, and are you able to meet these? Identify the experience you want your customers to have, and the emotions you’d like them to feel.

 

Clarifying expectations

Unclear expectations will lead to misunderstanding, disappointment and withdrawals of trust.  Managing expectations of individual customers starts with clarifying those expectations with the customer. Many expectations are implicit, make the expectations clear and explicit in the first place.  This can take a real investment of time and effort up front, but saves great amounts of time and effort in the long run.  When expectations aren’t clear at the outset even simple misunderstandings become a problem, turning into disappointment or even anger.

 

Implicit promises

Be honest with customers; yes, your marketing needs to sell your venue or business, but be clear about what you don’t or can’t deliver, too.

Are there any facilities, products or services that comparable venues or businesses offer and therefore customers might expect, but that you don’t provide? If you are upfront about these in the first instance your customers are less likely to feel let down. Capitalise on what you do offer instead.

A picture paints a thousand words, so is all your imagery representative of what a customer will see when they arrive. If all your images are of your suites and deluxe rooms, but what they booked is the equivalent of a study bedroom in an annex, is it any wonder they end up disappointed?

 

We’ve run out of chicken

Imagine how you’d feel if you’d travelled for something specific, only to find it’s not available?

Do you remember the KFC incident earlier this year? There may be occasions when circumstances are totally out of our control. Hopefully not quite as extreme as KFC running out of chicken! But we can still learn from how KFC’s responded to this, with a cheeky full-page apology.

If there’s anything which would normally be available, particularly if it’s one of your signature products but due to seasonal factors, breakdown, or the weather, is temporarily unavailable, inform customers in advance of their visit.

When you know you’re going to be exceptionally busy, and there’s a risk of long waits or products being in short supply, let your customers know upfront by whatever means you can. If people have a booking, let them know by email or text, if not, the very least is to let people know via your website.

 

Just to let you know…

Consider the circumstances which can impact your customers’ experience, even if they’re out of your control. For example, roadworks en route to your venue, or other events happening in your area which might impact customers. Even though this might be nothing to do with you, your customers will always appreciate being kept in the know, so they can make allowances.

 

User error

Are there any aspects of your product or service which are impacted by ‘user error’?

For example: If you need customers the return choices or confirm numbers by a certain date so you can meet their deadlines or ensure they get what they asked for. Or if there are certain steps they need to follow for something to operate smoothly such as automated systems or electronic keys.

If so make it crystal clear (in a non-threatening way!) to customers why what you’ve asked of them is important – not as a convenience to you, but how it might impact on their experience.

 

Keeping commitments

There’s probably no larger withdrawal of trust than to make a promise that’s important to someone and then not keep that promise.

Stick to agreed times for returning calls, meetings, deliveries. If you’ve agreed a time or deadline, stick to it.

If your team have to let customers know of delays, ensure they are realistic about time frames; always better to over-estimate a delay, than underestimate.

 

Admit mistakes

It is one thing to make a mistake, and quite another not to admit it. A sincere apology and having empathy with the customer when they feel they’ve been let down is the least you can do. Most customers accept that things can go wrong from time to time. But only if they’re kept informed.

If something they’ve asked for is no longer available; will it be available later or not at all. What’s the alternative? What can you offer that might be as good as or even better?

If there is a delay, does the customer wait, or do they do / have something that doesn’t involve waiting? That might depend on just how long they have to wait; is it expected to be a 2 minutes wait or half an hour? Being honest (and not making false promises and under estimating) allows the customer to make an informed decision.

 

Explanations, not excuses

Being kept informed is not about making excuses!  It’s about keeping the customer informed of the situation and giving them options…

However, there may be times when a little explanation helps diffuse the situation. If there’s been an accident, if it would be unsafe, if their preferred option is not up to standard and likely to disappoint. If it’s relevant to help them see why they’re not getting the experience they’d hoped tell them; if not, don’t!

Customers really aren’t interested in your staff shortages or that your suppliers have let you down or that the ‘x’ machine is broken.

 

Take action

Trust is the basis for building loyalty, and the quickest way to build this is to deliver what you’ve promised.

If you only do one thing – review your ‘promise’ to customers with your team and ask what do you say, do or show that could lead to customers having expectations beyond what you deliver. What else can you do towards managing expectations and maintain your customers’ trust?

p.s. If you’d like some help auditing your venue to check it meets your customers’ expectations here are 3 different audit checklists for hospitality and tourism businesses, to give you a head start.

 



Customer Service Week ideas

Customer Service WeekCustomer Service Week

This week is customer service week, and today is Customer Experience Day. Don’t ask me why the two events ended up falling in the same week, but it’s a good opportunity to raise awareness of customer service and the critical role the customer experience plays in running a successful business. For you, it creates the perfect opportunity to raise awareness within your own team of their vital contribution and to remind customers how much you appreciate their business.

Will you be doing anything to mark the event?

Over the past few days I’ve been sharing tips on LinkedIn on some ways to demonstrate your commitment to delivering great customer service and a great experience for your customers. (If we’re not yet connected on LinkedIn please drop me an invitation here so we can get connected now.)

In case you missed them here’s a summary of those ideas…

  1. Give recognition to your team members who go the extra mile for customers. Whether it’s a thank you card, a hand written letter or a small token gift, it’s the thought that counts.
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  2. We all know businesses who give incentives to new customers but do nothing to reward long term loyal customers. Reverse this thinking and demonstrate your appreciation of loyalty.
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  3. How can you add some GLUE, i.e. Give Little Unexpected Extras (by the way, this principle goes down well with team members as well as customers).
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  4. Your team are often much closer to your customers than you are. Get them to reflect on each stage of the customer journey and ask for their ideas on what they’d change if it was their business.
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  5. Review all the positive feedback you’ve received from your customers in the past couple of months; it lets you know what they like best and what they appreciate, and gives you great insights into what you could do more of to delight customers. (Great recognition and motivation for your team too!) If you’ve not collated any feedback pick up the phone to your most recent customers and ask for their feedback and what they think you can be doing to make your service even better.
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  6. Be proactive and pre-empt what customers might want, what questions they might have or challenges they might encounter, and offer solutions before they even ask! Think beyond your own products and services; your aim is to take away the headache of solving their problem.
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  7. Everyone likes a freebie! Offer your customers the chance to sample what you offer before they buy, just like they do in the ice cream shops… Or invite your regulars to preview new offerings before they go on sale, e.g. A tasting session of your new menu. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate you care about your customers opinions, and get some valuable feedback.
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  8. Look for ways to save customers time and effort. If that means introducing a premium or fast track service you are at least giving customers the option; you may be surprised how many take you up on the offer.
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  9. Thank your suppliers to show you appreciate their support and contribution to ensuring your customers get a great experience, and ask them for any ideas to improve your CX.
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  10. Have some fun! Play CX focussed games, do something to entertain your customers, or challenge your customers in a fun way e.g. a photobooth or selfie contest.

Naturally, these ideas aren’t limited to customer experience day or customer service week. Creating a service culture isn’t a one off activity, so don’t panic if you’ve done nothing this week to mark the occasion. Pick one of the ideas above and do it tomorrow and pick a couple more to carry over to next week.

Your team, your suppliers and your customers don’t mind when you show your appreciation, just so long as you do it!

Take Action

If you only do one thing, say thank you to your team for their contribution to creating a great customer experience.

P.s. If you’d like some ideas of activities to engage your team in customer experience and service skills here are 38 activities

Related Customer Service Week article: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/just-like-any-other-week/


Glass half full or glass half empty?

employee engagement glass half empty

How employee engagement impacts

When you get home from work how long does it normally take to sense what sort of mood everyone is in?

If you’ve said “almost immediately”, you’ll find the same is true in the workplace.

That is, everyone’s moods are evident to those around them – be they their manager or a colleague.

I’m sure we both can relate to the type of person who constantly looks at the downside of everything; the type of person who drains your energy and your enthusiasm; the ‘Mood Hoovers’ who suck the life out of everything.

Not only is this draining for the team, but generally it’s picked up by customers too, and is bound to have an impact on a customer’s experience.

But have you ever wondered whether or not you have others in your team who have this impact on their colleagues?

We often hear of managers complaining about the lack of employee engagement; but have they ever stopped to think about whether they are the cause of it?

Our physiology certainly influences our feelings and the feelings of people around us. So, if we mooch around all day with shoulders dropped, hands in pockets, we’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions, than if we’re smiling, animated and making eye contact.

Certain emotions or un-resourceful states will certainly have a knock-on impact on everyone around them – colleagues and customers alike. Being irritated, flustered, impatient, worried, angry, bored, frustrated, resistant, confused, tired or distracted all rub off on others.

But, when we focus on the positives it has a positive impact on others too. Smiling and laughing can rub off on others to help make everyone feel good and happy.

What’s more… it’s infectious…

If you want your team to be enthusiastic, flexible, motivated, interested, confident, energetic, happy, welcoming, and friendly this has to start at the top.

Want to know how this can happen?

Related posts: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/how-to-engage-new-team-members/



Hello, I’m Caroline

build rapport

Build rapport using names

Do you remember the TV series Cheers? And the theme tune “… where everyone knows your name”

Using someone’s name is a powerful way to build rapport.

According to Dale Carnegie, author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”  “… any person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.  ….we can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering the name.”

This is true, not just for customers, but your team members too; in fact, anyone you speak to.

However, sometimes it can be challenging to remember names. I remember about 20 years ago, the company I was working for at the time ran a series of Roadshows. At the time I was a management development executive at our international training centre. This meant that over the course of the year I would meet hundreds, if not thousands, of managers attending training.

Because I knew so many people I was asked to help with registration at each event, and because so many of those attending knew me, they made a beeline to me expecting me to remember them too. But when you have thousands of people registering at each event, it’s quite a challenge remembering everybody’s names, and some people got quite offended when I couldn’t remember who they were!

I learnt a little trick to get around this, which I’ll tell you about in a moment. But in the meantime, here are my other top tips for helping you and your team members remember and use people’s names.

  1. Start with your team, greet them by name, and use the name they want to be known by. So, if they have a preference to be known by their middle name, use this. Never shorten or abbreviate their name unless they ask you to. So, Andrew doesn’t become Andy, Christopher doesn’t become Chris, and Deborah doesn’t become Debbie, unless that’s what they request.
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  2. Repeat it. How often do we ask someone’s name and then instantly forget it? So, listen with intent, and then immediately repeat their name. This not only helps you to committed it to memory, but allows an opportunity for the other person to correct it if you’ve got it wrong or missed pronounced. If the pronunciation is a little tricky for you, always ask the other person, whether you’ve got the pronunciation correct. It’s far less awkward for both of you to correct it now than on your fourth or fifth meeting.
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  3. Can you spell that please? Spelling someone’s name incorrectly can feel insulting, so check the spelling if you need to. Even relatively common names often have more than one spelling; Cathy or Kathy, Iain or Ian, Philip or Phillip.
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  4. Formal, friendly or familiar. It’s difficult sometimes to know whether to address the customer as Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms. or use their first name. The rule of thumb is to follow their lead; how they introduce themselves.
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  5. Personalise your automation. Have you ever had a letter that’s addressed to you personally on the envelope, but the salutations reads “Dear Sir or Madam”. With technology today there should be no excuse not to address emails or letters with someone’s name (or at least the name they have given you).
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  6. Create a memory. If you can create an association between someone’s name and a characteristic or relate to a famous person. For example, my husband is terrible at remembering names and when he first met my parents this was no exception. Their names were Liz and Phil. So, I told him to just think of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip!.
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  7. Tags, cards and badges. Spotting name badges on luggage tags, payment cards or name badges at corporate events can help; a word of caution, don’t get too clever with this! Check the name their tag, card or badge is the one they want to be addressed by.  If you know which customers you are expecting remind yourself of their names (and personal preferences if you know them) before they arrive.
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  8. And what of employee name badges? They can make it easy for the customer to engage with and remember the people who have served them (as well as a level of accountability). But it’s a very individual decision, and what best suits your business and your style service. A name badge should never be a substitute for a personal introduction from a team member to a customer.

Take action

If you only do one thing – encourage your team members to use customers’ names, so they feel valued and important. Set the example and help make your team also feel extremely valued and important by always addressing them by name too.

And that little trick I discovered on registration? Thankfully, all the name badges were arranged in alphabetical order by people’s surnames. So, I’d always greet them with a cheery smile and ask how they are; and then ask absentmindedly “sorry, just remind me of your surname again”. It seemed forgetting their surname was acceptable, and when I found their name badge, hey presto, I was reminded of their first name too, and could then use this as I handed them their badge.

related article: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/creating-rapport-with-your-hospitality-business-customers/

 


How trust impacts customer experience

trust impacts customer experience

Last week I gave a short presentation at our local Institute of Directors meeting. It was only 4 minutes, but it’s surprising what you can fit into that time.

I spoke about pride.

Being recognised at work so you can be proud of your contribution can have a massive impact on employee engagement, and all the knock-on benefits of productivity, staff retention and the customer experience.

This stems from the top, so if you are recognising your managers and supervisors so they feel pride in what they do, they are far more likely to do the same with their team members, too.

I covered 3 ways as leaders we can help people feel proud of their contribution, but I’m just going to cover one of those today; demonstrating trust.

People soon pick up when you fail to trust or allocate any responsibility to them, leaving them frustrated or worse, doubting their own abilities. When you demonstrate trust on the other hand, you’ll be surprised just how resourceful people can be.

Here are 5 ways you can demonstrate trust in your team members:

  1. Play to people’s strengths. It’s a lot easier for you to delegate responsibility for tasks where people already excel, and the likelihood is when they are good at that task they’ll be confident and probably enjoy it.
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    That doesn’t mean to say you don’t develop people in other areas, but avoid the temptation to make everyone mediocre at everything.
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  2. Learn to let go, and empower them to do the job you’ve employed them to do. No one wants their boss breathing down their neck the whole time, and it’s frustrating for everyone when team members have to get sign off for everything.
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    Cut the red tape and give your team the freedom to do what they think is in the best interests of the customer.
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    Set clear boundaries so they understand the exceptions and when you really do need to be involved.
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  3. Give flexibility to adapt and adopt their own style. Let them bring their own personality to the role, particularly when dealing with customers.  If they know the end result you’re looking for they often come up with better ways to get the same result.
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  4. Identify staff champions for routine activities so there is always at least one person other than you keeping an eye on each aspect of the business. This is not only good for people’s development it also helps the team respect other’s roles and share the burden.
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  5. Develop ‘experts’ and give ownership for areas that require specialist knowledge, so this team member becomes the go to person for this. When individuals have one or two areas to focus on specifically it encourages them to go deeper and develop their expertise, and encourages continuous improvement. This in turn can have an impact on your customer experience, when specific knowledge is required to gain the customer’s confidence.

We often underestimate people’s capabilities. When you demonstrate your trust in your team by delegating some control and ownership, this gives a sense of pride and a desire to get things right.

This ultimately has a knock on impact on your customer experience as customers do  notice the difference between someone just doing their job and someone who is genuinely proud of the job they do and the contribution them make.

Take action

If you only do one thing: demonstrate your trust in someone today by giving them the go ahead to do something their way.

Here’s my 4 minute presentation

Related article: I don’t have authority


Going the extra inch – Exceed Expectations

exceed expectations

What a fabulous weekend we had for sport! Although we did have a conflict in the Cooper household, which resulted in Formula 1 in one room, and tennis in another. Sorry, if you’re a cricket fan, that didn’t get a look in!

Thinking back, is there anything we can learn from Federer and Djokovic in that brilliant Wimbledon men’s final?

Here are 3 lessons I believe we can take away that relate to customer experience, and one aspect we probably want to avoid.

1. You’re only as good as your last experience

In Wimbledon, you’re only as good as your last match.

If you don’t win you simply don’t get through to the next round.

Likewise, in the customer’s eyes you’re generally only as good as your customer’s last experience. So, get it wrong once and you need on average 10 positive experiences to outweigh the negative experience.

To build trust your customers should be getting the same level of service each and every time they visit you so they won’t be disappointed on their second, seventh or even 70th visit.

2. You have to keep training

To keep delivering to such a high standard they have to train.

Not just every so often, but all the time. Always looking for incremental improvements.

It’s the same being at the top of your game with service. You have to train your team, not just as a one off, but ongoing, always refining their skills and your processes. You need to – not just meet expectations – but exceed expectations, so with regular customers this means continuous improvement.

3. Establish routines, rituals and habits

To keep playing their best they have their own routines and rituals.

The same applies in your business, to deliver a consistent level of great customer service and customer experience you have to have systems in place that help create habits, otherwise no two days will be the same and no two customer experiences will be the same. Have systems, routines or rituals for your team to follow, whoever is on duty…. Not just your exceptional team members, even your average ones should be able to deliver outstanding service every day.

4. The extra mile or extra inch?

These guys gave it their all.

So, I doubt either could sustain this level of performance day in day out.

This is where your customer service differs.

Everyone talks about going the extra mile. And of course it’s good to exceed expectations, but it doesn’t have to be massive. Whilst going the extra mile is good, just going the extra inch or two can make a difference and still leaves you with more in the bag to pull out next time!

Simple things such as getting back to people quicker than anticipated – speed always impresses, including something you thought they’d like just because you know it’s their favourite (the fact you’ve remembered this will of course earn you bonus points), or any of the little unexpected extras I talked about in last week’s blog, or in the video here

If you only do one thing

Delivering what you’ve promised is a given. But what can you and your team do to exceed expectations? Go the extra inch; not massive leaps; but aim for Consistency +1%.

That way you’ll always have something left for next time to impress those regulars!


Don’t ruin the surprise!

giving surprises

It’s my birthday today, and my husband is away, helping out a friend in France. I think it’s the first time in our 34 years of marriage we’ve not been together for at least some of the day on my birthday.

When the phone rang yesterday morning, I answered it with my normal greeting “Good morning, Caroline Cooper”. So the call didn’t exactly get off to a good start when the voice at the other end said “Is that Clive Cooper?”

When I went on to tell her he was away, she proceeded to tell me she was calling from an Interflora florist about the delivery of flowers for today; completely ruining the element of surprise!

To add insult to injury, she wasn’t allowed to discuss it with me (despite the fact that the flowers would be addressed to me) as I was not the person who had ordered them. Oh well, I just hope I’m not disappointed when they arrive!

Rather than ruining surprises we should be creating them instead.

That’s what GLUE does.

GLUE stands for Give Little Unexpected Extras, and this is a concept which works equally well for your team as it does for customers.

  • Giving little unexpected extras means firstly that you give something, so you’re not necessarily expecting anything in return; it’s not intended to be reciprocated, it’s simply being generous.
  • Little, means it doesn’t have to be anything lavish, it could be as simple as a thank you card. It’s not a big deal, but is actually something that means something to the individual.
  • It’s unexpected, so that means that not everyone is going to get otherwise is no longer surprise.
  • And it’s something extra, something over and above what you normally do, offer or include

So let’s think of a few examples:

  • It could be that one of your team members are about to go on holiday, they’ve put in extra effort over the last few days so as a thank you, you give them the opportunity to go home a couple of hours early to get sorted and packed.
  • It could be as simple as putting a little thank you card in the post, to a customer saying we really appreciate your business, or to a team member saying thank you for helping out or going above and beyond on a particular project or event.
  • It could be as simple as this, you see it’s raining, and the customer doesn’t have an umbrella, so you find them an umbrella to see them on their way.
  • Or a customer mentions something you don’t normally stock, but you go out of your way to find it for them
  • 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 the situation. They’re simple little gestures that don’t cost much.

They are all things that are low cost to you but which the recipient will really value.

So, make your ‘extras’ relevant, well timed and personal.

Start by giving little unexpected extras  to your team, so they are on the receiving end and they know how it feels.

And then give them licence to give little unexpected extras to your customers.

Take action

If you only do one thing, add some GLUE for someone today – whether it’s their birthday, as a thank you, or simply to let them know you care about them.

Related video: https://youtu.be/aWQtQx8tMtU

Related post: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/employee-recognition/



Getting emotional

improve customer experience

Why Emotions Matter to your Customer Experience

Last week was full of emotions for me. Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death, Wednesday would have been my father’s 90th birthday and of course Thursday commemorated D-Day. Who couldn’t fail to be moved by some of the incredible stories told by the veterans?

But emotions aren’t all ones of sadness, reflection or gratitude.

Emotions are key in influencing our customers’ perception of service and their likelihood of buying from us, becoming a repeat customer and in recommending us to others.

In fact:

Over 50% of the customer’s experience is down to emotions.

Your customers’ experience can be your single most valuable competitive advantage, whatever type of business you are in.  But, when it comes to experience based businesses such as hospitality, leisure and tourism this of course is even more important.

It’s the experience and emotions you create for customers that gets remembered.

Their experience is based on their perceptions and how they feel about your business. In other words, it’s based on their emotions. And you and your team are the key drivers of these.

So, what do we want customers to think and feel about us and when with us; what emotions do we want them to have?

These could be emotions of fun, joy, happiness. They might be ones of pride, excitement, achievement. They might be security, reassurance, comfort, or indulgence, inspiration, relaxation… I could go on!

Think about what your customers really care about and why they buy from you specifically.

When you and your team know the emotions you want your customers to have at each stage of the customer journey it makes it so much easier for everyone to determine what needs to happen at each stage and therefore what actions and behaviours are appropriate. All too often we tell people what they should do or say, but not necessarily explain why.

When getting team members to think about customers emotions here are a couple of exercises I use:

1. The Thank You Letter

This is a useful exercise to get your team thinking about how they want customers to feel about the business as a whole but also about them personally.

The participants are to imagine they have just received an appreciative thank you letter from a customer, one which makes them feel happy and proud.

Ask them to jot down a few ideas about what might be in that letter that makes them feel good. What would be the things they’d like that customer to notice about them.

Then ask them to write the letter they’d love to receive!

The purpose of this exercise is to get them thinking about the perfect customer experience and how they might contribute to it.

2. Customer Needs and Expectations

Delivering excellent customer service and ensuring people have a memorable experience when they visit starts with understanding what they want and expect.

This exercise helps your team recognise that different customer groups will have different requirements and will want different things.

When I’m training I ask participants to identify their main customer groups, then get them to visualise each group – picturing the person (if a family, they might want to split this into parents and children and even sub-divide for different ages of children)

They are to give each person a name, gender, age, where they live, disposable income and other basic demographic information, then start adding in the detail. You can start to build up a detailed profile of them, their family and friends, their favourite pastimes, food, habits, interests, values, etc. Anything that’s important to them so you build up a profile until you feel you know them as a friend. Then draw an image of this person (and family if appropriate). A stick man is fine!

Under the picture I ask them to identify the needs, wants and expectations of that customer, that will be specific to that category and not so important to other categories of customers, thinking about their emotional needs a well as their physical needs?

Recognising that the customer journey and what influences their perception of the customer service can be determined before they even make direct contact with you, this can impacted by how they are feeling at this first touch point.

With these needs, wants and expectations in mind in an ideal world…

  1. How would they like these customers to be feeling before they arrive?
  2. How would they like these customers to feel whilst here?
  3. How would they like these customers to feel as a result of their visit? E.g. how would you like them to feel when they leave, how would you like to be remembered?

Emphasise you want them to be thinking about feelings and emotions, not about actions and behaviours.

At the end of the exercise ask them to identify:

  1. What you do brilliantly? This might include things you do that are unique or special that make you stand out from your competitors.
  2. What are the things you do really well, we’re 99% there, but with just a 1% tweak, we could make even better? (i.e. with minimal effort we could make a big difference.)
  3. Pick one emotion or feeling you are not yet achieving as well as you could. What could you do or put in place to improve this? Get them to focus on things which are within their own sphere of influence, i.e. things they could do, say or put in place that would make a difference.

Take action

If you only do one thing to improve your customers’ experience – identify the top 3-4 emotions you’d like your customers to experience when they visit/buy from you.

Related posts: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/employee-recognition/

https://www.naturallyloyal.com/emotional_triggers/


The Problem with ‘No Problem’

On one of the workshops I was delivering last week we were discussing the use of positive language. One of my pet hates is the response “no problem”. So we got into a discussion on why “No problem” is a problem…

Firstly, our brains are not very good at processing negatives. So, if we tell someone not to worry, tell a child don’t spill your drink, or a customer there’s no problem our brains focus on worry, spill, and problem.

Secondly, people think of you and associate you with the words that you tell them to associate with you. It’s no accident that in advertising you see words like luxury, easy, fresh, safe, exciting, etc.

This means you can plant the image in your customer’s head of what or how you’d like them to think about you and/or your business.

For example, if you offer a service or any kind of help, although you might solve your customers’ problems you certainly don’t what them to associate you with problems, but rather with help, helpful, solutions, easy.

If you offer accommodation depending on what your customers value most you may want to be associated with a good night’s sleep, comfort, relaxing, peaceful, pleasure, value, convenience.

If you’d like your customers to associate you with pleasure, use the word pleasure frequently. For example, when someone says, “thank you”, rather than responding “no problem” respond “my pleasure”.

In other words, people will associate you with the words you tell them to associate with you. So, unless you want your customers to associate your business with problems, stop your team using “no problem”!

Instead, start by identifying 4-5 words you’d like customers to associate with you/your business. Of course, every business will be different, and you want your customers to associate you with something that differentiates you from your competitors. If you have clearly defined values you probably already have some of these words already.

Then weave these words into conversations as often as possible.

So, the example of a helpdesk might use some of the following phrases:

“Yes, I can help you with that”,  “Let’s see how I can help you with that”, “Let’s see what we can do to help you with that”, “If we do x would that help you?”, “I’m glad we could help you”, “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Give your team visual cues to remind them of the words to use. Although I’m not a fan of scripts, you can still encourage the use of these phrases in opening lines and closing lines of any customer conversations.

Action

If you only do one thing: Listen to how often your team say “no problem” to customers and find an alternative phrase for them to use which better reflects what you’d rather your customers associate with your business.