By Shep Hyken
Happy New Year! I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, which are often broken. Instead, I like setting and resetting my goals for the year, and in my world, those goals focus on delivering an amazing customer service experience. So, I’ve created a list of simple ways to deliver the experience that everyone wants. Here are 23 ways to help you and your teams provide an amazing customer experience in 2023.
- Manage the first impression. It sets the tone for what’s to follow.
- Manage last impressions. They create lasting impressions.
- Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Customers want to work with people who “know their stuff.”
- Make the customer feel like a person. Customers are not a sale, an account number, a prospect, etc. They are people.
- Respond quickly to calls and emails. Fast response time creates confidence.
- Don’t make customers wait on hold. Making customers wait for unreasonable amounts of time is a sign of disrespect.
- Be nice and show empathy. Create a warm human-to-human experience.
- Be available. How easy are you to reach? And if you’re not available, go back and read No. 5 again.
- Treat employees the way you want customers to be treated. How employees are treated will be felt on the outside by customers.
- Eliminate friction. If there is anything in the process of doing business with you that’s hard on the customer, find a way to eliminate or mitigate it.
- Act like a leader. My friend Mark Sanborn says, “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” Be the person everyone admires and wants to emulate.
- Always be polite. Say please and thank you. It shows you respect and appreciate your customers.
- Be proactive. If you know there’s a problem, let the customer know before they call you. Any form of proactive communication is always appreciated.
- Have an abundance mindset. Be generous – and don’t keep score. Zig Ziglar used to say, “You will get all you want in life if you help other people get what they want.”
- Give customers the gift of your time. An extra few minutes with a customer goes a long way in building a relationship.
- Give back to your community or contribute to a cause. Besides being a nice thing to do, customers gravitate to companies that “give back.”
- Have a “helpful” mindset. What can you do to help your customers be more successful?
- Don’t make excuses when problems arise. Instead, think in terms of explanations. Excuses show weakness. Explanations are reasons that can be followed up with how you plan to fix the problem.
- Be flexible. Excellent customer service lies in flexibility. Rules should be guidelines.
- Avoid phrases customers hate, such as, “It’s not my department,” or, “That’s our company policy.” I refer to these as loyalty killers.
- Train and empower your employees. If you have good people and train them well, let them do their job. Customers love working with empowered employees.
- Be customer focused. That means that every decision you make keeps the customer in mind. That doesn’t mean every decision will make the customer happy, such as a price increase, but at least you’ve considered the impact or result of your decisions.
- Express appreciation. Say, “Thank you!” Depending on how your customers like to communicate, it could be in person, on the phone, in an email, a text, or an old-fashioned hand-written note.
As you look at this list, you’ll see nothing complicated. The ideas may seem rather basic. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity. These are precisely the strategies and tactics that will make your customers say, “I’ll be back!”
Again, Happy New Year, and may 2023 be your best year yet – and each year better than the last!