"From the moment your customer arrives to the moment they leave, that's the product," so says Dennis Snow of Snow & Associates, Inc., in his presentation entitled, "Delivering on the Promise of Your Brand: Lessons from the Mouse," at the recent Prime Advantage Conference.
"And as they leave, your single most important objective is to get them thinking about coming back."
Based on his 20-years with Walt Disney World, along with many years of consulting for organizations around the globe, Snow believes he has discovered the formula for first-rate customer service. He contends that no matter what the product is, we're all in the loyalty business. We not only want people to choose our company, but then go the extra mile and tell other potential customers that they should use our organization as well. Consumers seemingly have an unlimited amount of choices of where to spend their dollars; which businesses win them over ultimately comes down to who can deliver the best experiences.
With this in mind, Snow gave three principles that need to be at the heart of any organization with aspirations of providing elite customer service:
1. Look at everything through the lens of the customer
Most companies believe they are already doing this, but most aren't in actuality. Take a step back and look at each individual process that your business is putting its customers through and determine how each step is affecting them. You will undoubtedly find tweaks that can be made to improve what you're offering that don't even require additional time or money. Use "service mapping" to examine each phase from the perspective of the customer and ask yourself," What would excellent service look like at this step and what would mediocre service look like?" You may not necessarily be doing anything wrong or providing poor service. But every time you identify a spot where the service is mediocre, there is an opportunity to elevate the experience to make it excellent.
2. Pay attention to the details -- "everything speaks"
Every single aspect of your company that the customer sees influences his or her opinion of it. Every product, every email, every phone call, every website page, every presentation, everything, paints the picture of what you look like in the eyes of your customers. If any individual piece falls short, then the customer might begin to question the quality of the entire business. How you intend for something to look is irrelevant, all that counts is the customers' perception. Making sure every part is tight and maintains a high level of quality will help build trust in your organization.
3. Add value to the experience
Each point of contact between you and your customers adds up to determine your customers' overall experience. A detail may feel insignificant on its face, but when bunched together with hundreds of other small details, the resulting formation is a large part of who you are as a company. The customers' hierarchy of expectations is: accuracy → availability → partnership → advice. Being correct and accessible are bare-minimum must-haves from a customer's perspective. But being a true partner with the ability to offer advice beyond the call of duty is where you have an opportunity to absolutely "wow" them.
No organization will ever perfect customer service. We'll always be imperfect people trying to deliver the best experience we can. But by paying special attention to these points, your company will be in prime position to create loyalty throughout its customer base.