I just returned from speaking at another Inc. Magazine Conference on Customer Service Strategies. I enjoyed three days of learning and networking with some of the best and the brightest minds in the field, and in the entrepreneurial community. There was one thing in particular that was so rewarding for me this year. The absolute recognition and affirmation in almost every session that I attended that without creating an environment where the workers feel valued and good about coming to work, you cannot even hope to deliver a level of service that will build true customer loyalty.
It’s hard to be one of the best – it’s hard to be great. It takes real effort to be a Nordstrom, a Container Store, a Whole Foods or a Southwest Airlines. It takes focus, commitment and discipline to craft a culture that yields consistently positive customer experiences — and consistently profitable returns.
JoAnna Brandi hates to generalize, but I am beginning to think the service givers, especially here in Florida are suffering from a disease I call E.D.S. – Empathy Deficiency Syndrome. Some of the symptoms include apathy and an amazing ability to look right at a customer and not see a thing. The other peculiar indication of this syndrome is the inability to use the words “I’m sorry” or calming phrases such as “I can understand how that might be upsetting.”
Want To Keep Customers & Create Profits? These 5 ‘Positivity Pointers’ Can Help You Enhance Your Customer Experience
There’s no doubt about it; customer loyalty is key to profitability. A mere five percent increase in your customer retention could as much as double your bottom line profits! On the flip side, it costs anywhere from 6-30 times more to get new customers than it does to keep the ones you have – that is, if they’ll stay!
It was late morning and I was in my hotel room getting ready to speak and then to travel on to my next engagement. It was a long flight and wanted to be able to change into my travel clothes before getting on the plane. Knowing what a hassle that can be without having the convenience of a hotel room, I called down to the front desk to ask a favor.
One summer, I went fishing with a friend. We rented a canoe and ventured out into a lake at dusk. If truth be known, I was mostly watching, not really fishing. But my friend was very serious about it. As dusk turned to darkness he opened his tackle box and began searching for a new lure. I watched, curiously.
Up until that moment he’d been using a yellow lure. He explained, “It’s time to switch to a black lure.” This mystified me almost as much as what I was doing in the middle of a lake, in the dark, fishing.
I had to ask, “Why would you use black lure in the dark, in what now looks like a black lake?”
While talking with a friend recently the subject turned to management skills and motivating people. I had just returned from a conference that covered that topic so I began talking about some of the successful motivation programs that had been discussed.
No doubt today’s leaner organizations can benefit from the power and synergy of teamwork but all too often it’s become fashionable to call every group a team. Organizations rush to anoint departments and committees alike, “teams”, and then sit back to wait for the results, which, without the right kind of training, are disappointing. Fact is, few people really know the difference between a group and a team, or, for that matter the difference between a team, and an effective, high performance team, which takes full advantage of the combined intelligence, energy and enthusiasm of its members to reach their agreed upon goals.
I know there are popular books out there telling you not to sweat the small stuff – but I’m telling you that when it comes to your customers – you should sweat.
If you’re too busy to laugh, you are entirely too busy, according to “fun” expert Matt Weinstein, Founder of Playfair, in Berkeley CA. Matt, who has built an entire organization around the concept of play at work, believes the company that plays together, stays together. The intentional use of fun on the job can help improve employee morale, increase productivity and create a more people-centered corporate culture.