By Shep Hyken
One of the big concepts we teach in our customer service training programs is the concept of Always. This is the backbone of creating customer amazement. When the customer uses the word always followed by something positive, you are creating a predictable experience, and even more important, you are operating in the zone of amazement. For example, your customers might say:
- “They are always so helpful.”
- “They are always so knowledgeable.”
- “They always get back to me quickly.”
- “They are always so friendly.”
- “Even when there is a problem, I know I can always count on them to fix it.”
Notice that these statements are about the interactions customers have with your employees. Often, they are really just one person the customer is interacting with. So, consider the following questions:
- What always happens when customers do business with you?
- What are the words your customers use to describe their experience with you?
- It’s nice when they use descriptive words like friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, etc., but is the word always in front of them? In other words, is the customer service and experience you provide consistent and predictable?
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But simple doesn’t mean easy. Let’s talk about what drives the Always experience. It’s really two words: people and process.
It starts with the right people, whether they are newly hired or have been with your organization for years. Your people must understand what is expected and what drives the experience you’re trying to provide. Beyond understanding, it takes training – and not just one time. It’s ongoing reinforcement of the goal for the customer experience you want to provide. Training can be just a few minutes each week at a weekly team meeting. Some organizations have daily meetings where customer service and experience are brought up, even if just for two or three minutes. The point is that it is never a distant memory.
Then there is the process you provide. While the always statements above mostly apply to the people, you also want to have a good customer-focused process to support it. The journey the customer takes must be easy. Ideally, you want your customer to say, “They are always easy to do business with.” Being easy is baked into the process.
So, have a team meeting. Discuss the concept of Always. Discuss your answers to the questions above. The Always concept drives trust, and trust is a big reason why customers come back to do more business with you. Do it right by creating an experience that ensures customers always come back!