Customer experience versus service

Aug 8 / Jen Tyson

Customer experience - What we can do to make it better

Although these times are unusually tough for many, which can result in lower tolerance levels, higher stress levels, for both businesses and clients, customer service is still paramount and a vital part of not just surviving this environment but coming out the other side with networks intact, happier work places.

One of the best ways to grow your business, improve organisation brand and reputation, is to pay attention to your customer experience strategy, people are often looking for the next way to attract more new people to them, yes this is important, however if you have an excellent customer experience strategy from top to bottom, your word of mouth and referral marketing channel will grow organically.

Good customer service = a great experience 
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ometimes that doesn’t mean everything was 100% but it does mean the experience was great!
If you think about the last time you had a bad meal, bad service or a bad experience with a service you had expected, how many people did you tell? Did you go back again? Would you recommend them if asked?

I am talking about things that happened that were not put right by the company or service provider, because let’s face it, we all make mistakes from time to time, but as the old Fisher and Paykel advert said “ it’s the putting right that counts” 
This is absolutely true, it is not that your business strives to never muck up, that is not realistic or human. It is that you put things right when you or your team do muck up and ensure that those same muck ups don’t happen again any time soon.
The best way to look at good customer service, is from a consumer view. As a consumer, someone who pays for a product or service, some questions you could ask them or put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself:

•What are some of the things you expected to happen? 
•What would you like to happen from there?
•What would ‘putting it right’ look like to you?

Great customer service is all about how a person feels, if you have a high trust, and a highly communicative relationship with a supplier, and they muck up, you are more likely to give them more grace, go easier on them and give them more chances to put things right.

Here are some things I believe make up a great customer experience:
1.  Great communication right through, not just in the sales part, or when things go wrong, but all the way along the journey, because the sales journey doesn’t end when the agreement to purchase is made. If it is an ongoing service, then it continues beyond the life of that client relationship, or if it is one time purchase you never know who they may refer you to so it also continues beyond that stage as well.
2.   Follow up – if you have said you would get back to them with some information or anything else, put it in your calendar and follow up.
3.  Follow through – if you promise something, deliver it, or at the very least communicate personally to explain any delays, and always under promise and over deliver.
4.   Take feedback on board – if your client says they are not happy, then listen, and dig deeper to the root cause. Even if some of that feedback is not easy to hear, or surprises you, they are always right in the first instance, perception is reality for everyone.
5.   The customer is always right, in their eyes, if you get into a match of trying to defend your views, or prove them wrong, no one wins, they leave, and you lose. You do not just lose them, you lose the network opportunities they also bring to the relationship, and any potential referrals they may have given. Even if you feel strongly, or they are just way off base and completely wrong about something, remember they still deserve to have their perspective heard and valued. This boils down to exceptional listening skills.
6.   Get all the facts, you may want to have your teams ‘back’ but don’t go there so badly that you don’t hear what you need to hear from the customer, in order to improve the service.
If you are unsure what your customers think or how they feel about your service, never assume! Take the time to ask for feedback, ask them what you do well and what you could improve, some of my best ideas have come from clients along the way!
Here is to taking care of the customers you have.
Jen Tyson
One customer, well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising
Jim Rohn
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