April 11, 2011

Delight Your Customers

Last month I visited a client’s location out of state and was thrilled when they made my travel arrangements for me. They booked a rental car from Enterprise. I was a little surprised because I did not think that Enterprise had locations at airports but was prepared to keep an open mind. Was I impressed! I was warmly greeted by the shuttle bus driver; he called ahead with my name, and helped with my bag. At the location someone opened the door for me and I was greeted by the agent who handed me a business card with her name so I had someone specific to talk to during my whole rental experience. I was then walked to my car by another employee who helped to examine the car for any scratches, checked the gas tank and offered not just the full tank refueling option but various other options such as just prepaying for a quarter of a tank. She figured this was what I needed based on where I told her I was going and the amount of traveling I would be doing. Wow!
What did they do to delight me as their customer? They acted as if they valued my business. They were prompt, service was personalized and they listened. Air travel is difficult and stressful these days and I was left with the impression that they wanted to relieve my stress by having warm, courteous, customer focused employees and practices.
All your employees are customers too outside of the work environment. They go to restaurants, purchase groceries, talk to their phone supplier, get their car repaired, etc. They know what it is like to receive good and bad service and how it makes them feel. Here are instructions on how to lead a valuable interactive activity on delighting customers in your organization:
  1. During a meeting, ask for volunteers to tell a story about poor customer service.
  2. Everyone else listens to the story and lists on a flip chart what the customer service person did to make it a poor experience.
  3. Ask “how did it make you feel to receive bad service?” You are likely to hear things such as: not valued, not listened to, frustrated, angry, etc.
  4. Ask for volunteers to tell a story about great customer service.
  5. Again, all other participants at the meeting list specifically what the person did to make the experience delightful and how it made them feel.
  6. You now have two lists…one with poor service items and one with good service items.
  7. Ask “is there anything on this list we should be doing more of to make our customer feel valued?”
  8. Participants then are asked to develop their own action plan on how they will renew their commitment to delight their customers based on the good customer service list they just developed.
This activity is a great energizer for your employees. We frequently become so transaction focused as we repeat the same information or go through the same process over and over, day in and day out. It is valuable to take that step back and remember that what we are doing and saying is either frustrating our customer or delighting them. We all have the opportunity every day to give the same wow experience I had at Enterprise to our customers.

Remember: ”You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.” - Jerry Fritz

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