John TschohlJohn TschohlMay 8, 2018
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6min1024

Creating highly engaged customers is forcing companies to provide their customers with a consistent experience whenever and wherever they need it….digitally.

Did you know that highly engaged customers buy 90 percent more frequently, spend 60 percent more per purchase, and have 3x the annual value (compared to the average customer)? That’s a huge revenue opportunity you could be taking advantage of by digitally transforming your business!

But, in order to deliver on a better customer experience, you first need to understand who this new kind of digital customer is and what they want. It’s clear that the customer is firmly in the driver’s seat.

Personalized customer experiences

Today’s consumer wants organizations to treat them as unique individuals, and know their personal preferences and purchase history.

According to Accenture, 75 percent of customers admit being more likely to buy from a company that:

  • Recognizes them by their name,
  • Knows their purchase history, and
  • Recommends products based on their past purchases.

This sounds like Amazon, one of the best retailers in the world and the best part is customers are happy for Amazon to use their data. Technology has empowered customers to get what they want, whenever they want, and how they want it. Again, Amazon is a “Master” at providing this service to every single customer.

Consumers now expect immediate response (speed) to customer service requests on social media and they would rather engage digitally as opposed to pick up the phone. They also expect the same response times on weekends as on weekdays. This need for instant gratification has forced organizations to remain accessible and on-demand, 24/7 with live people, no IVR and answer in one to two rings. Customers expect responses to be tailored to their needs and issues. They do not want to re-explain the issue.

Everything is now happening in real time, which is why those companies that can offer speed, personalization and accessibility to their customers will win out in the long-run.

Today’s consumers are not loyal to a single mode. They browse in-store, shop online, share feedback through mobile apps and ask questions for your support team on social media networks.

In today’s fast-moving, always connected and always on society, companies are forced to seriously consider implementing a digital transformation strategy, if they haven’t already.

Digital transformation offers organizations an opportunity to engage modern buyers, and deliver on their expectations of a seamless customer experience regardless of channel or place.

1) Customers Expect Immediate Response

Speed matters. How fast you get your product to a customer, how quickly you can accomplish a service task for a client. A three day turnaround on an email, or a long list of menu options on an automated phone system drives customers crazy.

2) Customers Will Figure It Out – With or Without You

It’s always better that they figure it out with you. Cutting-edge technology devised by Apple and Google has led consumers to expect a digital service experience that is clean, simple and user-friendly. No second chances to make a first impression in today’s world. And, if you want to know how to do-it-yourself, just look it up on Youtube and 9 times out of ten, it’s there with instructions. So much easier than reading manufacturer’s instructions.

3) Make Your Website Customer Service Friendly

Whatever you think about your website: it’s one of the main channels your customers will use to figure out how to solve a problem they have.  Do you see your website as a sales tool? Do you see it as an interactive version of your brand? Maybe you feel as though it’s one of those things that “you just have to have nowadays”. I promise you that your customers will search your site for information, even if it’s only to find a phone number to call you.

What are you waiting for? The digital disruption has revealed fantastic opportunities for higher levels of customer engagement. The time is now for customer service teams to take advantage of this and step up to the plate. Think like your customer and give them what they are looking for.

“Deliver first-rate digital experiences and watch your customer knock it out of the park for you.” – John Tschohl


John TschohlJohn TschohlApril 2, 2018
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6min1017

The US Bureau of Labor statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organisations with 100-500 employees provided just six minutes.

And if this holds true for managers, how much training do front line employees get?

A long-term research project commissioned by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that from a 4,300 workers sample, 74 percent felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.

The lesson here: invest in retaining and constant training of your present employees.  After all, the cost of retaining present employees is much less than the cost of replacing them.  Help employees expand their knowledge by offering more training options. I have always recommended that organizations train and retrain all employees to carry out their roles to the highest standards, and deliver high quality services to customer.

Customer Service is the bedrock of all companies whether they believe it or not.  So it only makes sense to constantly train and raise the standards of employees.

Why Invest in Continuous Employee Training and Development?

Some organizations ignore continuous training session for employees as they feel they are expensive and employees miss out on their work time while attending these sessions or their employees will leave.  What they fail to understand are the benefits of these continuous training sessions and how they contribute to the organization in the greater scheme of things.  Benefits of conducting these programs are far greater and long-lasting.  Let’s take a look:

 

  • Takes care of weak links

Helps to reduce weak links and ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.

  • Increases employee satisfaction

Shows employees that they are valued. They will know that the training they do can take them into other positions within the organization  – positions with better growth opportunities and/or better pay.

  • Boosts employee performance

Continuous training empowers employees.  Gives them confidence and keeps them up to date on new developments.  This confidence pushes them to perform better.

  • Training on your time

Because employees are being trained on your time, they see that you value them enough to invest in them. You offer them an opportunity to be an integral part of the company with opportunities and successes that you encourage them to achieve.

  • Stay ahead of the competition

Make sure your staff is constantly advancing and you will continue to move forward and be more competitive in the marketplace.  Standing still can kill your business.

Increasingly, high performing organizations today are recognizing the need to use Customer Service training and development practices to enhance their competitive advantage. Training and development is an essential element of every business. The image of an industry and of individual employers is influenced by the extent and quality of staff training and development.

Unfortunately, Time magazine was right:

“Business in general spends too little time training and motivating front-line employees whom they treat as the lowest workers on the ladder.”

Regular training is well worth the investment because building up the skills within the business will effectively improve your company’s bottom line. Motivate employees to read books on successful people, on successful businesses, and taking a stand on innovative ideas.  I firmly believe too many people are bystanders and the fear of failure keeps them locked into positions they have outgrown.

Jack Canfield tells us in his book The Success Principles to “Learn more to earn more.”  Good advice.  I personally read at least two books a month.  I like to keep up on new trends, new ideas, new thoughts, new faces, and how people got where they are and where they are going.

One way businesses stay at the top of their game, i.e. Apple, Amazon, Metro Bank, etc. is by continuing to invest in their greatest asset – employees. From mentorship programs and live seminars to classes and in-field training, there is no shortage of ways to engage your employees.  Whether a company’s training takes place on-site or online, the benefits are great.

“Ongoing Customer Service training is important not just to employee development, but it also affects the success of your business.” –  John Tschohl


John TschohlJohn TschohlFebruary 19, 2018
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6min412

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” —Henry Ford

Are you afraid to fail? If so, your fear of failure is likely to limit your chances of success. If you look at really successful people, you will often find significant failures in their backgrounds.

The list is lengthy and includes college dropouts, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Why? There are a lot of reasons. Most stem from the fact that they are (1) willing to try new things, (2) not afraid to “rock the boat,” and (3) they are able to take a bad situation and turn it into a positive and learn from their mistakes.

Many people respond to a crisis by being overwhelmed by stress, which turns to fear.  It is easy to be afraid when you have a crisis situation in your business, but if you remain calm, the people around you will be too, and together a strong team will be able to turn anything around.

A good example of that was Franklin D. Roosevelt.  When World War II was looming and he was dealing with an unbelievable amount of issues, he remained calm with world leaders and the outcome was just as he had recommended.  He stood steadfast in the face of anxiety, pressure from world leaders, and insecurities of political parties.  He faced fear.

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

Accelerate your growth by: (1) Being innovative and (2) Don’t be afraid to fail. Even if your innovation does not work, you have little chance for success unless you try. If it does fail, you can learn from your mistakes, take corrective action, and try again.

Good advice from the Wall Street Journal

There are two posters published by the Wall Street Journal that I’d like to share with you:

Don’t be afraid to fail

  • You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember.
  • You fell down the first time you tried to walk.
  • You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim.
  • Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.
  • Were you able to skate or jump rope the first time you tried?
  • H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.
  • 3M Corporation, one of the most successful companies in the world, was a dismal failure during its first 10 years.
  • English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
  • Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.
  • Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

Aim high enough so you will never be bored

  • The greatest waste of our natural resources is the number of people who never achieve their potential.
  • Get out of that slow lane.
  • If you think you can’t, you won’t.
  • If you think you can, there’s a good chance you will.
  • Even making the effort is likely to make you feel like a new person.
  • Reputations are made by searching for things that can’t be done and doing them.

Many of the companies that were once great are now gone or are on their way out largely because they became too afraid to fail. According to a post in Forbes, in the 1920’s, the average lifespan of a successful S&P 500 Company was 67 years. It is now 15 years.

To have a bright future you have to try new things. You have to risk failure to achieve great success. You need to listen to your customers and implement a customer service strategy. And remember, employees are proud to work for an organization that is committed to excellence in service to people.

“Money is important but not the key to success.  A clear and obvious commitment to quality service and a broad-based training and development program is key to building your future.” – John Tschohl


John TschohlJohn TschohlJanuary 17, 2018
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6min288

To reach success, we have to strive for the best we can be in every aspect of our lives, including how we feel about ourselves, and how we treat others.

One of the great things about America is that many of us get second and third chances (if we’re willing to try). And if things go well and we take advantage of opportunities, those bad moments can be nothing but a footnote in our success story.

Famous people who have overcome difficult odds to become real success stories:

Samuel Walton (1918 – 1992) Growing up in the Great Depression of the 1930s, Walton had to do numerous odd jobs to help his family survive. After the war, he took out a loan to buy a small grocery store. He went on to build this into the giant Walmart supermarket chain, amassing a fortune of over $23 billion (1992).

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) Steve Jobs struggled with formal education, dropping out of college. He went on to be the co-founder of Apple Computers, and a leading exponent of the personal computer revolution. His net wealth in 2010 was estimated to be $8.2 billion.

J.K.Rowling (1965 –) For many years she struggled as a single mother living on benefits. After writing the first draft of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone she was rejected by many leading publishers. But, once published, Harry Potter soon became one of the best-selling books on record making J.K.Rowling one of the best paid modern writers.

Howard Schultz. (1953 –) Born to poor Jewish parents in Brooklyn, New York. Schultz was the first member of his family to attend college. Working his way up from a salesperson for Xerox, he became CEO of Starbucks, and oversaw its rapid growth, leaving him a net worth of $1.6 billion by 2013.

Oprah Winfrey (1954 – ) Oprah Winfrey was born in rural Mississippi and brought up in inner-city Milwaukee, despite her difficult upbringing, she became one of the best-known American TV personalities and the founder of the highly successful Oprah brand.

A Few Common Sense Secrets to Success:

Regular exercise. When asked the secret of his success, Richard Branson replied: “exercise”. We are talking about physical activity that keeps our bodies fit and strong. The benefits are a sense of health and youthfulness, increased physical and mental energy, wellbeing, productivity… and success.

Out-learn the competition. Successful people out-learn everyone around them. They’re obsessed with learning. They’re voracious readers.

 Make time for family. You don’t necessarily have to give up your personal life and enjoyment completely. Draw up a schedule that includes time for work and also allocates time for weekends away, hobbies and family life. Too much of anything isn’t a good thing.

Go to Bed Early and Wake up Early.   Getting a good night’s sleep and also waking up early gives you the opportunity to reflect on the day ahead. With a clear head you will arrive at work, ready for anything that comes your way. The saying “the early bird catches the worm” is definitely true. Habits of successful people should include an early start and will also allow you to get more done.

Understand what you can control.  Focus your energy on situations that you have control over at work and don’t waste your time with concerns where you have no influence.

Plan your day ahead.  This will allow you to deal with daily tasks effectively and will make you a more efficient individual and will help you to stay focused and be prepared for what lies ahead.

Ask, Ask, Ask. There are always people that we can learn from and there is no shame in asking people that are more specialized in a particular field. A part of successful people’s habits… is to ask when unsure about anything. Everyone has a mentor that helps them on their path to success.

Walt Disney always asked people to give him their “best”.  We too should expect that from employees and especially ourselves.

“Take responsibility for your life. If you are accountable, you are in control”. — John Tschohl


John TschohlJohn TschohlDecember 27, 2017
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5min327

One of the major weaknesses of most organisations is the top management’s lack of a service strategy.

They fail to realise the strategic opportunity of how to use superior service as a vehicle to build market share and dominance.

Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, one of the most powerful retailers in the world, built a service role model. Sam built Walmart on Customer Service.  They are now known for price only, and the value of their company as a service leader has dropped dramatically – they have lost their focus on customer Experience.

When organisations know what is important to their customers and when they realise the shortcomings of their current service, then they are ready to write a Service Plan.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, is officially the world’s richest person as of November 2017.  He built his company to become far and away the most trusted and well-liked brand, more so than its current smart home rivals Apple and Google (this is according to a survey conducted by The Verge in partnership with consulting firm Reticle Research).

Consumers trust Amazon and freely give them personal details on what they purchase and data about their interests. The one thing that is claimed by most customers is that Amazon has the best customer service of any company they have ever dealt with.

Mr Bezos has been responsible for creating over 100,000 new full -time jobs over the past year for the American economy and is on schedule to create more with the new ventures he is working on. Jeff Bezos definitely has a working service plan.

Use these guidelines in making decisions about the features of your own service plan:

1. Under-promise and over-deliver

Set customer expectations at the right level.  As defined by McGraw-Hill, “under promise and over deliver” is a service strategy in which providers strive for excellent customer service and satisfaction by doing more than they say they will for the customer or exceeding customer expectations. Deliver on your promises – don’t make a promise you can’t keep and keep the ones you make.

2. Only the customer knows what he or she wants

  1. Make it easy to do business with your company
  2. Customers want speed of service
  3. Customers want to talk to a real live person
  4. Return phone calls immediately
  5. Always deliver on your promises

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Not all customers who buy the same service or product have the same service needs. Be like Amazon and have a relentless focus on customer service through regular communication, and make sure you can deliver on their individual needs.

4. Continue to drive the plan strategically

Jeff Bezos would say: “Focus on the things that don’t change”. Bezos built Amazon around things he knew would be stable over time, investing heavily in ensuring that Amazon would provide those things and improve its delivery.

Management must drive a customer service program with continuous training for all employees with reinforcement by means of rewards for high-performing service employees, and with management standards that are regularly reinforced.

When management is committed to customer service by daily word and deed, the result is a well-established infrastructure that facilitates free communication interchange internally, and that yields organizational culture.

In my book, Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service, I state that long-term strategy must be developed and then implemented by hardheaded analysis, talented management of people, intense concentration, commitment…and serious spending.

As essential as strategy, objectives, and support systems (infrastructure) are a foundation for a service plan. The entire program probably would wilt like an un-watered lily without (1) a corporate culture to sustain it, and (2) a chief executive who is just as committed to customer satisfaction as he is to stockholder satisfaction.


John TschohlJohn TschohlDecember 6, 2017
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6min354

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”  —Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have trained trainers and employees all over the world and have taught them to believe in themselves and their abilities.  I have written several books to spread the word about service strategies and the effect it has on your company, your employees, your customers, and your bottom line and one of my favorite sayings is by the late Zig Ziglar: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

The biggest difference I’ve noticed between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources – it’s the belief that they can make their goals happen.

What you believe influences the way you interpret events, how you feel, and how you behave. And much of the time, those beliefs turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.

You weren’t an accident.  You weren’t mass produced.  You aren’t an assembly-line product.  You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the Earth by the Master Craftsman.” – Max Lucado, best selling author

Use a skill called ‘acting as if’

According to Jack Canfield, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul and author of The Success Principles, by acting ‘as if’, you will become the kind of person who is capable of creating the kind of success you want – and this will trigger your subconscious mind to find creative ways to achieve your goals. You will start noticing anything that will help you succeed. Best of all, you will start acting on these opportunities, because you will have the confidence that your efforts will yield great results.

You are a ‘Brand’

Write down all your positive attributes.  Ask parents, ask siblings, ask friends what they like most about you.  That’s you, that’s “Brand You”.  Now, just act like it and dress like it. Be confident and behave as if you are a savvy person. That doesn’t mean you need to be a phony; instead, behave in a way that follows these simple concepts:

Belief

Believing in yourself is all about being sure that you are going to do what you want even if others stand against you. Remember, it’s your goal, not your brother’s, not your best friend’s, not your parent’s.  Don’t waste time focusing on what others think, it’s what you believe so take control and use positive thinking daily and watch yourself becoming more successful and getting closer to the prize.

Dedication – it’s part of your make-up

It’s part of the way you do things.  Remember that all successful people have been dedicated to what they are doing.  So should you.  Write it down and look at it every day.

Focus – it’s a focal point that you aim for

For example, the object in target shooting is to aim for the centre. The same standard applies for success. Successful people call these centres their goals.

Skill – it’s the right combination of skill sets in order to be great

This is in order to be successful in whatever you have chosen as your path to make a difference in the world.  If you are going to be the best on the rodeo circuit, you will have to have mastered the skills necessary to stay on that horse, get back up without fear, and get back in the saddle.

I constantly remind employees and clients that it’s about your life, it’s about succeeding in whatever you choose to do. It can be anything you can dream of. It’s about taking chances, being proactive and ready.

Great things are not going to happen for you unless you believe it, see it in your mind, and focus on that goal. Keep your eye on your goal…your prize.

The success you will enjoy will be because you have helped other people get what they want.  Plus you will recommit to the people and passions important in your life.

Repeat after me….

“I believe in myself. This confidence has made the difference for me again and again. I didn’t need intelligence or opportunity or resources. Just a simple belief in myself.” – John Tschohl


John TschohlJohn TschohlOctober 19, 2017
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4min265

If you want to differentiate your company in the marketplace, then you need to show how you can dramatically deliver service and products faster than your competitors.  Amazon does it.  Apple does it.  Why don’t you?

Recently, one of my employees was having a problem with an item shipped to her from Amazon.  She needed to return the product and was not savvy to the info on the website to make the return and get her money back.

So she called and talked directly to a human being. An emphatic and understanding rep sent her a return packing slip via email so all she had to do was print and tape the label on the box.  According to company policy, credit will only be issued once the product is received at Amazon.

The customer in this case was issued the credit to her account right away. Speed trap avoided, and another happy Amazon customer!

“Customers value speed … Amazon! “…if you wanna do more of something, make the friction less. If you wanna do less of something, make the friction more.”  Jeff Bezos

Amazon has overcome challenge after challenge by adhering to Bezos’ mission: to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Speed involves using tools and techniques to dramatically reduce the time needed to complete a task while still placing a high importance on the level of quality.

Remember, customers will reciprocate your helpful actions. When you resolve situations quickly and effectively, and then respond to their need, most customers will pay you back with continued or increased loyalty, goodwill, and even repurchasing. Keep in mind, there’s nobody more valuable than the customer.

Just ask Apple. They are known worldwide for service and speed. They take care of questions, problems, and concerns faster than competitors. Apple has elevated customer service into a science.

Today, the company stands shoulders above the competition when it comes to alleviating the stresses customer’s experience. There’s no out-sourcing as they specialize in fixing Apple products and making a stressful situation more manageable. They make it easy and fast.

The most recent earnings report listed Apple as the most valuable company on the planet at a mind blowing $775 billion, with a staggering $261.5 billion cash balance. Written out, that is $261,500,000,000.00.

“We’re very simple people at Apple.  We focus on making the world’s best products and enriching people’s lives.”  Tim Cook

A company’s success lies in empowered employees. It is important to train employees and make sure they have trust in what empowerment will bring to a company.

Moreover, happy, empowered, fulfilled employees are the key to creating “over-happy customers” for your company.  When employees are empowered and given responsibility, they use their talents and skills to maximize the opportunities and as you can see by the most successful companies in the world, empowered, responsible employees that know the value of speed, contributes greatly to your bottom line.

      “Speed is making fast decisions, on the spot, in favor of customers.” – John Tschohl


John TschohlJohn TschohlSeptember 1, 2017
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7min320

In 1979, long before customer service came into vogue, I designed the world’s first customer service training program. I felt that if organizations would make their customers feel special, wanted, and appreciated, they would have loyal customers.  The way to do that was by giving front line employees the needed tools to deliver great service and to create impressions that form an organization’s reputation.

I have a concise and practical list of six essential customer service principles for awesome service. These “Personal Steps of Excellence” would go well in a frame on your office wall and those of your general managers.

1. Feel Good About Yourself.

Employees do not go to work dreaming about how they can work exceptionally hard to make the company and the owner more money. Be realistic. Many employees have personal problems. The more we can uplift the self-worth and self-image of employees, the more they become productive and feel like there is a win-win relationship. In return they will deliver a higher level of excellence. Each of us has the responsibility to look after our own feelings and give ourselves recognition for good work. We need to commit ourselves to goals that are worthy of our abilities.

When you know you are doing your best for both customers and working associates, you will feel good. Concentrate on your strengths. Recognize the importance of your role. You can make the difference.

2. Practice Habits of Courtesy.

It takes seconds for a customer to tell if you care. Frankly, it does not take additional time to be nice. Too many firms believe this is customer service.

Everyone has the right to expect courtesy from you. To be so self-centered or preoccupied with your work that you forget to show courtesy with each contact is to signal that you don’t care. On- the-job practices of courtesy are an important part of everyone’s role to signal respect. The more you give the more you care.

3. Give Positive Spoken Feedback.

Communicate verbally and non-verbally with positive communications. The smile and calling a customer by their name is all part of this whether it is in person or on the telephone.
It costs you nothing but a little effort and the rewards are great. Every human contact is an opportunity to give the gift of good feelings through the words you say. People can’t read your mind; what you say is evidence that you care.

4. Perform for the Customer

Do what you said you were going to do. If you promise to call someone on Tuesday, call them on Tuesday. Keep your promises. Too many employees lie or make excuses when there is a problem.

Customers have the right to demand performance. They aren’t interested in our problems and excuses. We constantly need to ask ourselves “Is our performance resulting in satisfied customers?” “Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Deliver what you promise” is a good guideline.

5. Listen Carefully.

This is so rare. When someone asks your name you will have to repeat it several times. Few employees have any interest in listening. Some are told to ask questions but seldom will they listen to your answer.

Jobs can become routine. When you see hundreds of customers, you can become desensitized to an individual. You have to concentrate on each person. Get in tune with their situation, their attitudes, and needs. Anticipate, read between the lines, ask questions, get involved…to show you care and to know what will satisfy the customer. Even complaints are a positive resource if you listen and act.

6. Learn and Grow in Your Job.

Know everything about your products and services. Too often employees have no concept or understanding of their products and services. You can tell in a few seconds if the employee really knows what they are talking about.

Grow where you’re planted. Every job offers an opportunity for greatness. In a sense, every day you either grow or die mentally. Learn about your company, learn about your products, and learn about your customers. With learning comes self-fulfillment.

“Don’t wait for someone to give it to you, go after it”. – John Tschohl

Interesting Links:


John TschohlJohn TschohlAugust 29, 2017
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7min295

Modern consumers have grown up in a world of technology and innovation. They intuitively know how to define as well as expect exceptional customer service.  In a thriving business, keeping customers is not optional, it’s a requirement for businesses to survive.

At Amazon, Jeff Bezos states the following in his 2016 letter to Shareholders:

There are many ways to center a business.  You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more.  There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great.  Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.  No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime Membership Program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.  A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen.

As our understanding of the makeup of humans increases, so does our ability to create opportunities to improve our performance and create high-value to everyone we come in contact with every day.  It’s called disrupting the normal way of doing things, or in Jeff Bezos words…”if you wanna do more of something, make the friction less.  If you wanna do less of something, make the friction more.”

Amazon stays faithful to their principles and core values but includes a willingness to try a lot of things and make many mistakes.  Jeff Bezos included both in Amazon’s corporate values.  His number one core value is to be fanatical about customer service.

At SQI We Preach Awesome Customer Service

I have such a passion for taking any company and introducing them to the power of delivering awesome customer service.  It’s the focus of every one of my books.  I have been passionate about it for 37 years and continue to preach on the subject.  It is my guide to delivering exemplary service to every person that walks through your doors resulting in overall corporate success in terms of customer retention, new sales (via word of mouth), market share, financial vitality and positive reputation in your community.

When a company makes the momentous discovery that customers are really “people”, and when they give customer service at least as much power and influence over decisions as they give financial considerations, then they are well on the road to achieving a competitive advantage and even market dominance.

  • Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers
  • Referrals among repeat customers are 107% greater.

Just ask some of the top companies what they are passionate about:

Amazon—has a set of practices that helps them manage customer experiences in a proactive way.

Home Depot – is passionate about the customer experience.

Costco – is committed to low costs, high wages and an excellent customer experience.

Get out from Behind Your Computer.

Know where your target market is hanging out and go where they are.  The perfect example is from Metro Bank’s CEO Vernon Hill…”There are customers, and there are fans.  Customers are those people who come in, who bank with us, and who are almost indifferent to us.  We are perfectly happy having customers. But our goal is to convert them to fans.

Fans are customers who embrace your model and culture, become part of your community, and convert their friends to new customers of your brand.

The dimension that fans add is that willingness, when somebody is whining about their bank or some banking tactic, to say, “Oh, go to Metro, that’s my bank!”  Or when they see one of us away from the bank wearing a red Metro “M” pin, they walk up and say, “You work for Metro Bank?”  And they quickly add, “That’s my bank.  I love that bank.”

Marketing Brings a Customer In: Customer Service Keeps Them Coming Back. 

Your customer services marketing strategy must focus on delivering processes, experiences, and intangibles to customers rather than physical goods and transactions.

“Integrate a focus on the customer throughout your firm and across all functions”.  John Tschohl

Interesting Links:

 


John TschohlJohn TschohlAugust 17, 2017
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7min273

More and more companies are waking up to the fact that giving employees more power and responsibility can bring huge benefits for both the company and its workers.

Employee empowerment may be the most underutilized tool in all of customer service.

Give employees the authority to take action.  No one should have to go “higher up” to get permission to help a customer.  Empower everyone to break the rules thus allowing employees to have input and control over their work.

President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here”.  Actually that should be the line that appears under every single person’s name on their nametag or on their business cards. Customers want responsible action handled with speed and courtesy preferably from the first person they speak with.

You must reduce the fear your employees have toward making empowered decisions.

Empowered decisions by front-line employees are much more powerful than if it comes from a manager, supervisor or the CEO. It creates more word of mouth advertising and more Twitter or Facebook comments. Employees who feel they have control over decisions made in the workplace tend to work harder and longer to achieve the company’s strategic goals.  It allows employees to take ownership of issues and find solutions.

There are 3 reasons employees are not willing to use empowerment, regardless of how much the CEO wants them to.  They are all based on FEAR.

  1. All employees assume they will be immediately fired if they make an empowered decision.
  2. They will be forced to pay for what they give away free.
  3. Employees do not want to be yelled at or put down.

What do Google, Ritz Carlton, Apple and Amazon all have in common?

Yes, they’re all hugely successful companies – but it’s more about how they became so successful. They all go to great lengths to empower their employees.

Google places its employees at the heart of its business strategy, and its empowering initiatives ensure that employees:

  • Feel valued and know that their opinions are valued.
  • Have purpose in their work.
  • Are made to feel that they own their jobs, and that the responsibility for performance is up to them.
  • Take pride in their work, quality of products, and service to customers.

With an empowered workforce, your organization can reap the benefits experienced by Google.

Empowered employees have the power to make decisions without a supervisor. They are entitled to go off script, bend the rules, and do what they see fit if they believe it is the right thing to do for the customer. After all, what’s the worst that can happen…an employee gives away too much and now you have an overly-happy customer.

Empowered employees take pride and ownership in their jobs when they         know that they can exercise independent judgement when necessary.

Ritz-Carlton famously empowers its employees to spend up to $2,000 to make a customer happy, and you’ll likely never find a Starbucks barista who’s not empowered to give you a free drink or coupon if you have a service issue.

If you shop at an Apple store, you’ll probably find the staff personable and engaging. They are intensively trained on what they can do. Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s SVP of retail and online stores, believes the key to Apple’s future is not just marvelous products, but also engaging and energizing its nearly 100,000 employees, 60% of whom now work in the $21.5 billion retail division.

To maximize your success, take a tip from Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, one of the world’s most customer-centric companies: “Determine what your customers need, and work backwards.”

Understand what drives customer value, then figure out where empowerment can improve the quality, speed and cost with which that value is delivered.  Following are three reasons to copy Amazon:

  1. In 2016 Sales increased 27%
  2. They increased revenue a whopping $29 billion (from $107 billion to $136 billion)
  3. Jeff Bezos increased his net worth to $72.8 billion. He is now the 3rd wealthiest person in the world.

“My definition of empowerment is getting an employee to make a fast decision, on the spot, in favor of the customer. If the customer wins, your organization wins.” – John Tschohl

Interesting Links:




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