1. Foster customer activity. Especially during long wait times. Giving the customer something to do that enfolds him in the effort and tempers impatience. For example, at Six Flags, they play non-stop cartoons while you wait in 45-minute roller coaster lines. At the Vegas airport, they loop entertaining PSA’s about airport safety starring famous performers like Rita Rudner, Blue Man Group and CarrotTop. What activity could you involve your customers in?
2. A year from now, what will your buyers say about you? Hopefully, that they had an unforgettable experience with you. Ideally, that they’d love to do repeat business with you. And possibly, that they they’d like to recommend you to their cousin Marty. What will you do between now and then to make that reality YOUR reality?
3. I’m all ears and I’m all YOURS. Try answering phone this way. Try greeting customers at the door this way. Try welcoming guests into your hotel this way. Of course, you don’t have to actually say this exact sentence (although it IS a great line.) Your goal is to lay an immediate foundation of attentive, personal service. What’s your opening line?
4. Make your customers proud to be your customers. So much so that they gloat to their friends that they “get” to work with you. As if it were something to brag about. As if it were truly an honor to be served by you. Sound a bit over the top? Well, think about the last time YOU bragged about how honored you were to know someone. Then think about the pattern of behavior that warranted such a glowing referral. How well does your service process mirror those attributes?
5. Build enthusiasm into small moments. From phone answering to email subject lines to saying goodbye as your customers walk out the door. Try this: Make a list of every minor touchpoint in your service process. Then brainstorm THREE unexpected, unforgettable ways to add a exclamation point to each one. How much money are you losing by not being enthusiastic?
6. Be a better customer yourself. The best way to GET anything in life is to just GIVE that thing first. So, when the tables are turned, morph yourself into the greatest customer in the world. The ONE customer that actually made the barista crack a smile all day. Karma will see to it that your customers reciprocate. How good of a customer are you?
7. Don’t allow “fine.” If your customers answer ANY questions with the word “fine,” it means a few things. First of all, “fine” isn’t a real word. It’s an acronym for Feelings I’m Not Expressing. So, your goal is to dig beneath the surface and discover how they REALLY feel about your service.
Which leads to the second thing: You asked the wrong question. Never ask, “How was your stay?” Always ask, “What was the highlight of your stay?” This prevents the possibility of fine and gives people permission to say, “The bed was sooooo comfy!” or “I can’t believe I ate a five pound lobster for breakfast!” What if no customer was allowed to say “fine”?
8. Don’t reach for ready-made replies. Scripts are inauthentic and annoying. Whenever possible, customize and personalize every conversation. Don’t forsake honesty for protocol. Customers can smell it, and it makes loyalty vanish.. Are you a robot?
9. Fans, fans, fans. That’s all that matters in the world of service. Customers, schmustomers. You need more fans. And I define fans as “fully engaged, emotionally involved customers who tell their friends about you.” How many do YOU have?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
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