To bring about a culture that works synergistically to create an extraordinary customer experience, we must answer the two questions all customers subconsciously ask: “What’s in it for me?” and “Make me feel important!”
Too often, companies think about the customer experience in two limited ways: The sales force is responsible for sales; and the customer service department is responsible for any incoming inquires. In fact, by not expanding the customer experience mindset to each department, your sales force will begin to be reluctant to sell, fearing the disappointment their customers will express when they are not getting the satisfaction they desire. Whether it is an agitated interaction, a missed deadline, or a product or service not detailed as promised, your sales and profits will lack their greatest potential when you don’t improve your customer experience from the inside out.
It takes a mindset shift in every single person in your company to create an extraordinary customer experience. Here are five practical steps you can take to ensure your customer keeps coming back:
1) Align each department and individual to an extraordinary customer service goal.
Create alignment by asking each department and its key talent, “How might you go the extra mile to create an extraordinary customer experience?” For example, what can billing do to create this experience? An idea may be to send out savings coupons or a newsletter with each bill, as well as a note of thanks for the business.
2) Create accountability with a monthly scorecard.
Salespeople have always had to meet certain criteria each month to show accountability in their jobs: number of calls, presentation, hitting sales quotas, etc. When we hold the other departments accountable for specific behavior to ensure customer satisfaction, we engage each employee in the responsibility to deliver an extraordinary customer experience. By measuring it monthly, we ensure we are on track for satisfaction and increased sales.
3) Explain the ‘customer why’ behind each policy and procedure.
Too often, employees are trained on processes and procedures and told why it makes sense for the company. As a result, employees can become inflexible and defend it to the customer, instead of explaining “why” it was put in place for the customer’s benefit. For example, if a customer wants delivery on a different day than what your route determines, your staff can explain, “We have created a route on Thursday for your area so we can keep our costs down for you. However, we could outsource another transportation company to make this delivery on Tuesday for you for an extra charge if you need it then. Which do you prefer?”
4) ‘Team huddle’ upfront with all the departments involved in delivering the promise to the customer.
Most salespeople make promises to the customer before they collaborate with the other departments. By collaborating and engaging the other departments in setting realistic expectations upfront, there is apt to be greater buy-in and better attitudes to achieve an extraordinary customer experience.
5) Give purpose to customer’s product.
When we bring purpose to the product we are delivering, we explain how your talent delivers purpose to the community. For example, if it’s a component to a heart monitoring device your company is making, remind your employees they are saving lives. When you go beyond the product you are making and tell the positive purpose you have on the community, you create a culture excited to deliver an extraordinary customer experience!