The Customer Experience: How To Wow Your Customers (PART 3)
TRANSCRIPT: It’s quality plus attitude. Is there anything else that good customer service takes up? Yeah. See, good customer service is also about removing these things called hurdles and hassles. These are little things to us, but assume these littlest of things add up to huge hassles for our customers. Think about Chick-fil-A again. What if Chick-fil-A when I went to go refill my pop, what if they require that I show my receipt to get a free pop refill? See, that would create an artificial hurdle or hassle for me, the customer.
Now you might say, “Steve, come on, that way you can keep people from getting free refills with a pop they got yesterday.” Are we really that cheap? Are we really that crazy? We are going to treat all of our customers poorly just to catch that one guy out of 500 who is going to try to cheat us. See, even minor hurdles can frustrate a happy customer or enrage an already stressed out customer. We’ve got to work to remove these little tiny hurdles and hassles, and these are tiny dots.
Think about these tiny examples, if you were on the server side of this. Your customers are standing at your grocery store, and there are two lanes open that have their lights on and the lead cashier comes into a new lane, she takes a couple of people over there to help them, and she leaves her light off. Now your customers start to walk up to these three lanes that are open, but they only think two are open. See, it makes them mad that that other cashier doesn’t have her light on because they are not sure if they should go over there or not. They don’t want to be rude.
It’s a tiny little thing. If you are the grocery store manager, you’ll probably say, “Steve, it’s nothing.” No, but it is something. It’s something to them. It’s their perception that it’s a hassle, it’s their perception it’s a hurdle, it’s their perception that you’re not doing your job. For example, let’s say that I get all the way through the cashier line, I’m at the cashier, they are ringing up my purchases, and I noticed something was priced too high as they rang it through, I showed them the ad. I showed the cashier their ad from their own store, and she has to call the manager to get an override.
See, that is a tiny example, but we’ve just now artificially created a hassle, artificially created a hurdle when we should simply give that cashier the rights to override prices on her own. If you can’t trust her to do overrides, then why are you trusting her to talk to your customers at all.
How about this? This example, we see this a lot. You go to a restaurant and they make you wait, and you are waiting, and you look and there is 25 tables in the restaurant and 10 of them are empty, but they are filled with 30 dishes, no one has cleaned them up. You’ve got dirty and empty tables in plain view while customers are waiting for a seat. Again tiny, “But, Steve, we are busy.” That’s okay. The customer doesn’t care. The customer sees that you are not doing your job. It’s a tiny thing to us, on the service side it’s a huge thing to the customer.
Again, the little things matter. Things like an empty water glass. Empty water glass is sitting at the table and it’s there for the entire meal and no one came to fill it up. These are tiny, but a lot of these things add up. How about not knowing where to go in a new place? It’s your first-time to a new restaurant, your first time into a hotel, whatever. It’s not clear where the front desk is. See, to you and your team, all of these examples might be laughable or easily explainable, but to your customers they are artificial hurdles and hassles and they put customers in a different mood than you want them, so control the touchpoints.
By the way, the customer experience is exactly what your customer says it is. Their perception is reality and their perception is all that matters. Oh, by the way, the perceived experience is what matters. Remember what American Express taught us, they say two-thirds of Americans will pay an average of 14% more for a great experience. Think about Ritz-Carlton versus say Fairfield Inn, both have a comfortable bed, I’ve stayed at both. They’ve got, that’s about it. That’s about the only thing that’s common with both of them. Why is a Ritz-Carlton usually two to three times, maybe four times more than a Fairfield Inn? “Steve, it’s luxurious, let’s say, you got all these amenities.” No, you don’t. In fact you get fewer amenities. If you stayed at Fairfield Inn, you get free breakfast, you get free Wi-Fi, I don’t get that at Ritz-Carlton, they make you pay extra for all that stuff. It’s because of a great experience, it’s not about the extras.
See, if people paid 14% more with you, think about it. How much more would you take to your bottom line? We talked about those closest to the customer. Realize this, those of you who were closest to the customer, frontline employees, frontline managers, you control the experience, and I have three rules for you to create a great customer experience. First rule is, love your job. Absolutely, love your job, you have to love your job. By the way, if you can’t love your job, you should try. Love is a verb as Stephen Covey taught us, so you should try to love your job.
Second rule, love your customers. Third rule is, if you can’t comply with rules one and two, then you need to get a new job. You really do. You should not be dealing on the frontline, you should not be dealing with customers if you can’t, one, love your job; and two, love your customers. Now frontline employees, I want you to be aware of your surroundings. I want you to be aware of your customers at all times because believe it or not, you can actually be too helpful.
Think about it. Would you ever interrupt two customers who are having a private conversation with a question like, “Are you finding everything okay?” Let’s say, you work at a department store, and two people are standing by the shoes and they are talking to each other, and they are in a private conversation. Would you walk right up to them and ask them? Would you interrupt, “Are you finding everything okay?” No, you wouldn’t, but some of you do interrupt, and you are not even realizing it, and it’s not good.
For example, the most personal form of communication for most people today is actually texting. When someone is texting in your store they are on a private conversation, just as if the other person they were texting is standing next to them and they are talking to each other. Don’t interrupt, be aware of the customer. Realize this, maybe customers will give signs, they will use their eyes, they’ll look around, they are lost, they are looking for help. You don’t have to try to help everyone. It’s all about being genuine, and it’s about being authentic.
See, awareness also means knowing how to say things, and understanding that how you say things is often more important than what you say. For example, you got a needy customer, and the needy customer says, “I’m looking for blue widgets.” You respond, “Oh, I’m sorry, our blue widgets are only reserved for our VIP customers.” Wow, that’s a big mistake. You just told me what I can’t have. Instead of telling the customer how you can’t help them or why you can’t help them, let’s tell the customer how we can help them.
Same situation, a customer, needy customer says, “I’m looking for some blue widgets.” Your response should be, “Excellent. All I need is a little bit of information from you and you’ll become you a VIP customer eligible to purchase blue widgets.” Notice how I talked about how I can help versus how I can’t.