14/10/2014 - 14:13

Improving the service experience

14/10/2014 - 14:13

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A key component in the battle for repeat business, service is usually the poor cousin of ROI and other measure of ‘progress’.

Improving the service experience
HELLO: As the customer’s first point of contact, your receptionist sets the tone for the entire transaction with your business. Photo: iStockphoto

Return on investment in business is predicated on the ability of the company to deliver as promised in product, profit, and its accompanying service.

It’s amazing to me that everyone measures ROI to the cent, yet no-one measures ROS (return on service).

Most companies are too busy wasting their money on customer satisfaction surveys when they could eliminate the survey costs and spend half of that money training people to improve service, and measure the only three things in business that matter – repeat business, profit margins, and referrals. All the rest of the ‘satisfaction’ process is an empty waste of time and money.

The object of service is to be so amazing that one person tells another person, or one person posts to their Facebook account, or both. How’s yours?

The key to profitable repeat business and unsolicited referrals is to create genuine word of mouth, and word of mouse about the company, the products and services, and especially the people.

ROI reality: Do you want to deliver service that’s satisfactory or remarkable?

ROI reality: Do you want to deliver service that’s satisfactory or memorable?

Return on service can take place in any part of the business.

Here are the most prominent examples.

• Provide positive attitude training for everyone in the company.

• Provide specific and customised empowerment service training for everyone in the company (what is each employee allowed to do and say to a customer?).

• The receptionist or telephone operator. This is the customer’s first point of contact and sets the tone for the entire transaction.

• Ship an order error free and backorder free. Get them what they want fast and seamlessly.

• The delivery and arrival of a customer shipment. Packaging determines image, and the condition of the contents upon arrival proves their worth to the shipper and the care of the shipping department. A huge part of re-order consideration.

• The accounting department people. Accounting can play a major role in customer loyalty. The way they talk to an account, the frequency of error, their accuracy of invoicing, and the common courtesy they may display when someone is late making a payment.

• The automated attendant. No-one on earth wants to hear their telephone call answered by a computer, yet every major company in the world employs these things. There has to be a better way, and the person who creates it will make billions.

• The speed, accuracy, and outcome of handling a complaint. Complaints go way beyond one customer. They go all the way to social media.

You must perform remarkable or memorable service for:

• following up and thanking customers for an order;

• following up and making certain that the service call went perfectly; and

• making certain that everyone on the inside of the company is well rewarded, and well thanked for a job well done.

And for those of you who still possess an ounce of skepticism about ROS after these truths, here are some additional ‘return’ elements to consider.

Many happy returns

• Return on training, especially for front-line people.

• Return on morale. Internal happiness creates customer happiness.

• Return on leadership. The leader sets the tone and the attitude by example.

• Return on friendliness. All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends.

• Return on getting the job done ahead of schedule. Real profit created by exceptional team effort.

• Return on wowing the customer. Priceless.

• Return on accuracy. Beyond a good feeling all the way to respect – and reorder.

• Return on quality product. This is a given, but creates more word-of-mouth than any other single forum.

• Return on positive social media posts. Social media is the new satisfaction survey or report.

• Return on value messages offered to customers on a consistent basis. Weekly value-based messages to customers create life-long desires to stay connected.

• Return on using voice-of-customer in YouTube, blog, and Facebook video posts. When you say it about yourself it's bragging. When someone else says it about you, it's proof. Video proof is the new proof.

Big companies hammer their entire workforce to make certain that their customer satisfaction scores are high or higher, when they could be (should be) creating an internal training program that begins with the word wow, and progresses upward from there.

Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.

© 2014 All rights reserved. Don’t reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer. 

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