Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Dear Reader,

Thank you for visiting, but please visit my new customer service blog and article website at http://www.Hyken.com/blog This Blogspot blog was incorporated into my new website in March 2011. The new website has all of the resources you see here, plus a whole lot more. As you visit the new location for this blog, I hope you will update your bookmarks and share the new location (http://www.Hyken.com/blog) with your friends.

New Customer Service Blog and Articles Website: http://www.Hyken.com/blog

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Keeping the Customer Satisfied with Recovery

Someone once said…

“99% customer satisfaction is meaningless when your customer is in that lone 1%.”

In my speeches I talk about making NO MISTAKES! But, is that realistic? I don’t think so. “No mistakes” is a goal. Making mistakes is part of life and business. It is how the mistake is handled that makes the difference. Here is the goal. If you have a mistake – and hopefully it isn’t very often – you not only fix it, but give the customer a renewed confidence to continue to do business with you. It is about “recovery.”

Example: Let’s say you are in a restaurant. The meal you ordered isn’t cooked the way you like it. The server will usually take the meal back to the kitchen and replace or “fix” it. Next time they bring it to you it is hopefully fine. That brings it back to okay. What could make it better? If the server does it with an excellent attitude.

Sometimes restaurants feel compelled to take the price of the bad meal off of the bill. Not only do they fix it with the right attitude, but they also give it to you free. Sounds like an expensive strategy to me!

I’m not saying that the restaurant shouldn’t give something away for free. Many of my clients in many different types of businesses do. But most of the time I will tell clients that it is not necessary to give anything away at all. Charge the full price! Just do it with the right attitude!

By the way, if your business does feel inclined to give something away for free, if possible give it away the next time. This gives the customer even more of a reason to want to come back.

The bottom line is this: No matter how good you are, at some point you are going to have a mistake, complaint, etc. It is the way you handle the situation that renews customer confidence. In spite of the mistake, you want customers to want to come back. And when they do, you had better make sure you do it right!

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's speaking programs, books, dvd's and learning programs please contact (314)692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com – Web:http://www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Real Customer Experience through the Eyes of Your Customers

You may have watched the CBS hit TV show “Undercover Boss.” If you aren’t familiar with the show, each week the cameras follow around a corporate executive who goes “undercover” to participate in various jobs. They get a first hand look at how their decisions impact the employees and their morale – and much more.

Yes, it a bit of “Hollywood,” but don’t miss the incredible lesson it can teach us. I read an article in the Detroit Free Press (www.Freep.com) that featured David Dillon, the chairman and CEO of Kroger, one of the largest grocery store chains in the world. Dillon gets out from behind his desk and spends time in the stores, standing in lines with customers and listening to their comments. He gets a view from his customers’ perspectives with the intention of learning how to make their experience even better.

According to the article in Freep.com, Dillon tells Wall Street analysts that Kroger gets sophisticated data from Dunnhumby, a marketing company based in London. However, the data can only tell part of the story, which is why Dillon chooses to “go undercover” to mingle with his customers and get first hand consumer experience.

Do you need to go undercover? Of course not! This is just one way of gathering important customer information. Twenty plus years ago I wrote about how Anheuser-Busch executives took time to ride in the delivery trucks to see what was happening in the field. They would talk to the owners of grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores – anywhere that sold Anheuser-Busch products. They didn’t go undercover, but they had the right idea. They wanted to get first hand information from their customers. Perhaps that is why they are at the top of their industry.

This type of program shouldn’t be reserved for high-level executives. What if you developed a program where key employees spent time mingling with their customers? I bet they would bring back some very insightful comments that could help all employees understand the importance of what they do.

The goal is simple: Learn through the eyes of your customers.

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's speaking programs, books, dvd's and learning programs please contact (314)692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com – Web:http://www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Customer Service Tip: Would You Recommend Your Competition?

I am always looking for great examples of customer service in my daily life. Something happened the other night that I think is “kind of cool.” My wife and I went to a great restaurant - Corky's. It just opened. Prices were extremely reasonable and the food was better than good. The owner talked to us quite a bit. Yes, we had a good experience at Corky's and we plan to go back soon, but there's more.

A good part of our conversation with the owner was about his recommending other restaurants for us to go to. That's right; he was telling us where we should go next weekend. Was he trying to tell us he would rather us go to his competition and not come back? I don't think so.

This man was so confident about his own business, that he could talk well of his competitors knowing that we will still be back. When did you last talk to a salesperson that told you how great their competition was? Do you have enough confidence in your company’s products and services to praise your competitors? Like I said, this was “kind of cool.”

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's speaking programs, books, dvd's and learning programs please contact (314)692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com – Web:http://www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Customer Service Lesson: Manage Initial Impressions

Recently I went to the movie theatre with my kids. We were there for the early afternoon show – so were a few other customers. While waiting to buy our tickets we watched the two employees behind the counter completely ignore us. One of them even picked up her cell phone to make a personal call. We were just standing there looking at them. They were completely ignoring us. When I asked to buy a ticket, one of them said they weren’t open for another four minutes, and they went back to ignoring us. I asked her if they weren’t open, how come the doors were unlocked. She said she didn’t know and continued to ignore us. The other customers became annoyed with her and left.

The employees were in uniform and in front of their paying customers. They may not have been officially “on the clock,” but were still representing the theatre. The least they could have done was tell us they would be with us in just a few minutes. What kind of an impression do you think they were making for the theatre?

This is like being cut off by a truck and recognizing the company name that they painted on its side. You are not only mad at the driver, but now you are mad at the company!

The lesson here goes to the fundamentals of service. The employees of the movie theatre mentioned above blew a basic concept. (By the way, I don’t just blame them. I also blame the management. This is a function of basic training and common sense.)

Any contact that a customer has in any way, or with any member, of a company is an opportunity to create an impression. Everyone working with any company organization must recognize this!

Here is another way of putting it: Whenever you are in front of your customer for any reason, you are “on stage.” Make it a great performance!

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's speaking programs, books, tapes and learning programs please contact (314)692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com – Web:http://www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Good Customer Service - Why Don’t They Do It?

Recently I was talking with a client about one of his employees and customer service. The day before I had presented the Moments of Magic™ customer service program and mentioned that I thought a gentleman in the audience was a skeptic. The client said he wasn’t skeptical, but felt he knew everything I was talking about.

I responded, “Everyone already knows what I’m talking about.” He agreed and I asked him, “So does this guy deliver great service?”

He said, “That’s the problem. He knows, but he doesn’t deliver.”

Most people would agree that they know what good customer service is. People know when they get it. They even know how to give it. Then why is it so hard to get people to do it. There are technical aspects to service, and sometimes there is training for a specific job on how to handle complaints, resolve problems, refer to the right people, etc. All of these are skills that are taught. But, from the beginning, good customer service has nothing to do with skill. It is all about common sense and, most important, attitude.

A seventeen year old kid was recently fired from a job at an ice cream parlor. I asked him why. His response was, “I didn’t say thank you.”

I asked if he didn’t say thank you once, or did he not thank his customers all of the time. He said, “Pretty much all of the time.” He said his boss wanted him to thank the customers when he handed them their ice cream. He said he didn’t have time. What! He didn’t have time to say, “Thank you!”

He went on to tell me, “After thinking about it, the manger was right. I should say thanks to the customer. It is the nice thing to do.” There it is. Common sense! You see, he knew. Everybody knows!

So, why doesn’t everybody do it? The answer is simple. They just don’t have the right attitude, and that’s okay. Not everyone is cut out for a job in front of the public. The old adage of “hire the attitude and train the skill” couldn’t be truer in this situation.

When it comes to customer service you can teach and preach, but it all comes down to the attitude of the employee. So, hire right. Put the right person in the right job. If he or she has direct contact with the customer, realize that at any given time that person will be representing your company, your brand – your entire business!

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's speaking programs, books, tapes and learning programs please contact (314)692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com – Web:http://www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Customer Service and Customer Care - What's the difference?

Recently one of our readers wrote in with a question about the difference between customer service and customer care. I sent back an answer and felt that it was worth sharing with everyone.

This type of question has been asked before. The reason there is confusion is because different people and companies give different names to their process. Comments like, "We give great customer service." Or, "We go beyond customer service and believe in customer care." Or, "We don't just service our customers, we delight our customers."

These statements are great. So what's the best? Is it customer service, customer care, customer relations, customer delight, etc.? What should we call it, or is there a difference?

The answer is: There is no difference.

I don't care what you call it. The terms are interchangeable. Brand it whatever you want. The bottom line is that you want to do one thing:

Make them come back the next time.

How you go about it is what is really important. That's the process, not what you call it.

That's it. It's that simple. Call it customer service, customer care, customer loyalty, customer relations, etc. These are all labels that are meant to really do one thing. That is to get the customer/client to want to come back to you, and only you, the next time they need what it is that you do or sell.

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a professional speaker and Wall Street Journal best-selling author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more information on Shep's speaking programs, books, tapes and learning programs please contact (314)692-2200. Email: shep@hyken.com – Web:http://www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs http://www.TheCustomerFocus.com).