Years ago, one of my most loyal clients asked me to deliver a workshop on a topic with which I had minimal expertise. When I declined, they asked me to find the right facilitator. And I did. She is Denise Williams, owner of Customer Service Consulting. She did an excellent job for my client and I have consistently been a referral source for her business. In this week’s post, Denise shares her loyalty story and some valuable advice.
What inspires Denise’s loyalty? And what are her top two tips to increase service excellence?
I am always thankful for great customer service and was reminded of this as I moved through the preparations for our annual Thanksgiving feast, which requires a road trip to Cape Breton. Prior to departure we always make sure our vehicle is road safe and serviced.
Typically I would leave this job for my husband, however, I recently discovered Mr. Lube and that’s made a big difference in my enjoyment of this task.
Full disclosure – Mr. Lube is not a client of mine … and their service is inspiring.
The Friday of the long weekend I made my way to Mr. Lube in Dartmouth. I was greeted by a friendly gentleman who immediately informed me of my wait time, confirmed that I wanted to wait, and then proceeded to offer me a newspaper and coffee. When I drove into the garage bay, after enjoying both the paper and coffee, I was greeted by the mechanic who introduced himself (his name is Mark), apologized for the wait, and offered me a free pair of wipers because I’m a loyal customer. (During my previous service visit, they gave me a free movie pass.)
Every interaction was explained, turnaround time was quick, and it was obvious the staff have received – and embraced – service training. I asked Mark the owner’s name so I could send a note letting him know how impressed I am with the service, and he informed me that the owner was the man who delivered the paper and coffee to me because one of their staff had to go home due to a family emergency. Wow! I left happy, impressed and ready to confidently recommend this business to everyone.
I’m often challenged by business owners when discussing the value of investing in customer service training. As the story above illustrates, the return on investment is instantaneous, long-term and far-reaching. Customized, targeted customer service training:
- sets a business apart from its competitors;
- gives staff the confidence and skills to deliver exceptional service; and
- increases profitability through both customer loyalty and referrals.
Think about it … when you ask any friend for a referral to a business, the topic of service will come up 90% of the time. While customer needs may differ, excellent service will always influence a company’s success.
To experience this, here are two simple changes to make, and monitor, for one month:
- Reduce customer wait times (i.e. phone, text, on social and/or on website). Keep in mind great service always trumps fast service.
- Make one change in your customer interactions that will make it easier (or seamless) for them to do business with you. Be creative, ask your frontline staff for their suggestions.
Measure the results. Did you see an increase in profit that month compared to the previous year? Were there more customer interactions? If so, how many?
I want to hear your customer service stories – exceptional and otherwise. You can forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Don’t be discouraged by the absence of a photo on Denise’s LinkedIn page. After all, it’s part of her job to be a secret shopper!