I wanted to share this article written by my ActionCOACH friend, Dave Beam.
It reminds me of what some of my established clients struggle with as they attempt to convey the importance of relationship building with their teams.
There are two types of customers we want to serve, external and internal. We really need to care for both. Internal customers; taking care and exceeding your internal partners expectations, is the breading ground for an entire organization steeped in customer service.
I thank my time at Cintas for this learning and then the reinforcement from my coach training at ActionCOACH.
In my role as project manager at Cintas, I was responsible for managing the implementation of national uniform programs for such companies as Delta Airlines, Alamo Rental Cars, Tire Kingdom, etc. I learned early on in my role there that my success relied on my ability to engage all of the working departments/partners within the company to perform their role to the customers specifications. I became the coordinator rather than the doer.
Our common team goal was to exceed the customer’s expectations. We all worked together to achieve that and the more I served my internal team the better able I was to care for our customer.
I now get to share my learning with clients as they create WOW moments for their teams and clients.
Dave’s words to back me up…
Customer service in today’s marketplace is at an all time low. That means that it is relatively easy to meet customer expectations! If you merely meet a customer’s expectations, that customer can easily be stolen. To build loyal long-term customers, you must consistently exceed expectations and astonish customers by going above and beyond. A raving fan is someone who is so impressed and excited about their experience with you that they can’t wait to tell others about you and your products. They become your sales force!
The foundation for customer loyalty is consistency. Consistency is created by adherence to a great system. You team will follow the system when there is great training and accountability. If you currently have customer service challenges, begin by creating and following a great system.
The next piece of creating customer loyalty is making it easy for your customer to buy. This is a simple, but not easy process! Observe your customer’s buying experience, beginning to end. Which moments make it easy for them to buy from you, and which moments are difficult. Remove the barriers and frustrations from your buying process. It’s all about flow and comfort.
Once you have these basics in place, it is time to add creative fun ways to exceed customer expectations. This is when the satisfied customer is transformed into a raving fan. It happens at critical moments when you create a WOW experience. The customer is literally astonished with an unexpected surprise. This is a critical non-essential. It is above and beyond the basic delivery of the product and service. It is critical because it is what will keep people talking about you and your business. WOW experiences clearly demonstrate that you truly care.
A final caution about WOW surprises. Before you go above and beyond, it is essential to first provide great consistent service and make it easy to buy from you. This consistency provides comfort and security for customers. They know what to expect, and know they can depend on you and trust you. In that context of comfort, then you can add that extra special WOW, and you will have loyal raving fans that will return to your business and bring others with them.
Consistency. Easy to buy. Wow! Now it’s time to take action.