Consider this for a moment: have you ever had a bad encounter with a company so awful that you swore you'd never do business with them again for the rest of your lives?
What about the other side of the coin: have you ever discovered a restaurant or a hotel that accommodates you so wonderfully that you would never consider going anywhere else?
Now consider the middle ground, where things are "sufficient," but you would not go out of your way to give that firm your hard-earned money.
People choose where you fall on that spectrum every day, with every encounter they have with your firm.
With Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit, you'll learn how dedicated consumers have made all the difference for organizations like The Ritz-Carlton, Walt Disney, BVLGARI, and Oasis Disc, where the writers have worked.
According to the writers, the magic happens when you, your systems, and your workers anticipate your customers' requirements and cater to them even before realizing they have one.
Join us on this trip to discover how to transform exceptional service into exceptional profit.
The Four Elements of a Satisfied Customer
Of course, getting directly into the tools and strategies used by world-class service companies without first studying the basics is like deciding on the color of your draperies while your house is on fire.
Before moving on to the advanced course, you must first master the basic principles.
To begin, you must have a perfect product.
An excellent product does not have to be defect-free 100 percent of the time; rather, it must perform perfectly within reasonable limits. For example, a phone that loses calls while held normally would not meet these criteria.
Second, you must have a service provided by individuals who are concerned about your well-being. This one is easy to understand. You will lose if your staff does not care about your consumers.
Finally, the service must be provided promptly. The key is to realize that what your clients consider "timely" is more essential than what you think timely.
Waiting a week for a response from a lawyer may seem like an eternity to some, but if you ask the lawyer who did the work, they will tell you that it was a "rush" job. The customer's view is the only one that matters.
Finally, you'll need a good problem-solving strategy. You're going to make a mess of things. If you haven't already, you can probably walk on water as well. It's vital to your success to know what to do when you drop the ball. Let's take a closer look at this one.
Turning Service Failures Around
First and foremost, failures will occur. The great news is that if you solve it correctly, you'll be better off than if the problem never happened in the first place. Why?
Because the client hasn't got the opportunity to see you stand up to the plate in a significant way until the problem arises. This is your first chance to turn a one-time consumer into a lifelong customer. Calculate how much a lifelong customer is worth to you, and you'll immediately realize why any work here is well worth it.
So, what should you do to get things back on track? Why don't you try the Italian Mama method?
Imagine what an Italian mother would do if one of her beloved children fell:
"Oh, my darling, have a look at what took place! Oh, my bambino, you scraped your knee on that sidewalk; please allow me to kiss that horrible wound. Is it okay if we watch a little TV? And while I'm bandaging you up, here's some candy!"
Okay, so it's not quite like that, but you get the idea. However, one thing to note is that there was no discussion of what the youngster did wrong or what they might do differently next time to prevent the issue.
Everything is aimed towards helping the youngster feel better. Here are the four stages to implementing the Italian Mama technique in your life.
- In a personable and non-mechanical manner, apologize and seek forgiveness. Don't provide scripted comments like "We apologize for any trouble this has caused" or tell the consumer what they could have done better. Apologize humanely. Make such a GREAT DEAL out of the circumstance as the Italian Mama would do for extra points. Remember, you're attempting to give this person a sense of what it'll be like the NEXT time anything goes wrong. Make the most of it.
- Examine the grievance. Simply go over the problem with the consumer to make sure you understand what happened. Customers make blunders, such as forgetting to plug something in or not flipping the switch. Under no circumstances should you ask someone, "Did you plug it in?" I challenge you to listen to that question from someone when you're already upset and not feel compelled to smack them in the face. Reword the inquiries as "Occasionally, the wall connection is unsecured and can't connect - can you inspect the outlet and see if that's the problem?"
- After that, fix the problem and follow up. To "close the loop," it's crucial to follow up. Do it right away, even if you've delegated the problem to someone else in the company.
- So that the error only happens once, record the fix. As the authors point out, a mistake that occurs twice should be attributed to the procedure. Once you've fixed the problem, make sure you have the measures in place to prevent it from happening again.
Now that we've covered how to make a pleased consumer, let's take it a step further and find out how to turn them into passionate fans who will spend money with us for the rest of their lives.
Building Anticipation into the System
Personalized service is the main thing when it comes to anticipatory service. You'll need to ensure that all of your employees can accomplish this, regardless of how long they've worked for you or how bad their memory is.
This necessitates the creation of a system. The following are the seven principles that should guide you while you construct the system.
- Keep the systems as basic as possible. Don't monitor too much information. Make sure that the information you track is easily accessible to your frontline personnel. For example, if Mr. Smith requested additional pillows for his room the last time he stayed at your hotel, ensure those pillows are present in his room when he arrives next time. When the Ritz initially introduced the method, they set a goal for their employees to note five preferences and satisfy three. That is all there is to it.
- It belongs in the system if it is essential to your consumer. Preferences for products or services, whether expressed or observed, belong in the system. Personal relationships with your organization have a place in your system. Then whatever the consumer says is significant to them goes into the system.
- The information must be accessible in real-time. Your whole business won't be linked to the vital data it needs to anticipate client wants if you can't respond in real-time.
- Preferences shift over time. Customers' tastes evolve throughout time. For example, just because I ordered a vodka martini at dinner the night before doesn't indicate I want one the next night, so don't bring one to me without asking. Don't make assumptions about things that might alter your mind.
- Moods shift; keep note of them. It's crucial to know how pleased your consumers are over time if you want to keep them.
- Don't squander the opportunity with a wooden delivery. In Florida, I was displeased with being "greeted" by a rental car salesperson who did just that. She was saying all the right things, like "It's been a joy serving you today," but all I could think of the entire time I was at the desk was, "You're such a phony!"
- When requesting permission via technology, be cautious. The border between brilliant and frightening is thin. Requesting personal and confidential information via the internet is not a good idea.
Selecting the Right People to Execute the System
You've learned how to generate a pleased client, how to recover from service failures, and how to use a system to put your anticipatory service into action.
However, putting this method into action necessitates a talented and committed team. It's crucial to your success to choose them, orient them to your culture, and train them.
One thing to remember is that, with few exceptions, we are already our genuine selves by the time we enter employment. Like the lady at the vehicle rental firm who plainly didn't care about her work - she's been that way for a long time, and no amount of training or orientation can change her mind. Don't recruit individuals like them in the first place.
What kind of person should you hire? Although each organization is unique, the writers have identified the top five characteristics they believe are most significant in providing anticipatory service.
- Personal warmth that is genuine. You can only fool yourself for so long, so make sure you choose people that exude warmth.
- Empathic ability. Employees who can sympathize with consumers are essential, especially when things go wrong. Suppose a customer is having a poor day. In that case, you'll need an employee who remembers what it's like to be in that situation and can handle them appropriately.
- A cheerful, hopeful attitude. Pessimists are not supposed to apply. Bear in mind that in some jobs, such as financial forecasting, excessive optimism may be risky. However, this is a characteristic that you want in spades in a service profession.
- An introduction to the crew. This one is easy to understand. Anyone who ever says, "That's not my job," is unfit for a service position.
- Conscientiousness. This is a broad characteristic, but we're looking for people who will work hard, be responsible, and pay attention to the details. When it comes to providing outstanding service, the finer points are crucial. Make sure you have someone to look after them.
Just a brief remark regarding the orientation procedure before we end this part. Your new hires will not be used to working in an atmosphere like yours if you are actually developing a great service environment.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and the way you welcome them will set the tone for the rest of their time with you.
The crucial thing is that you should not utilize the orientation to practice skills. Use it to ensure that they grasp your company's key customer service standards, as well as how your employee fits into your larger objective.
Hello and Goodbye - the Two Crucial Moments
There is so much scientific evidence that human beings are quite picky about what they preserve in their memory.
The beginning and end of an encounter are the parts we usually remember over anything else. We'd do well to focus on producing a fantastic welcome and farewell if we're in the business of generating memorable memories for our consumers and clients (which we are).
There are a few aspects that stand out as the most important when producing a wonderful greeting.
For starters, being acknowledged is a basic human desire. Do you have any doubts? Have you ever waited in a coffee shop for more than 10 seconds for someone to recognize your presence? How did that make you feel?
It's also crucial how you're recognized. Let's imagine you and I are buddies, and we get together after a few months of not seeing each other.
What if I said hello and said, "How's it going?" What are your thoughts? Instead, what if I said to you, "Oh my goodness, it's been at least a couple of months since I've seen you!" "How are you doing?" What are your current feelings? The way you recognize someone sets the tone for the rest of the encounter.
Now it's time to say your goodbyes. All through the process, you've gone to tremendous lengths to provide a fantastic client experience. After all of that, it seems almost unjust that one minor blunder with the farewell might tarnish the entire experience, right?
Here's what you should do to make the most of your farewells.
- To begin, customize the farewell by including information about the consumer.
- Second, add something more to it, such as a farewell present. Make certain that it is also surprising. For example, if you work in finance, it's common to offer your customer a costly pen after they sign a contract. That is to be expected. A weekend away for your customer and their spouse would be something unexpected. Invite your consumer to come back and conduct business with you after you've done that "something extra."
- Third, make the farewell last a long time. Send a follow-up message thanking them for their help, unless it's judged inappropriate. This is the most valuable $1 investment you'll ever make, according to the authors.