The customer service industry is as old as time, but it’s an industry that has had to evolve in order to target a more diverse clientele and their demands for better, more personalized, service. Change is inevitable in business and no matter how much we like to think we’re prepared for it, we need to constantly pay attention to new trends and new ways of doing things.
If you’re wondering what the difference between customer service and customer experience is, best-selling author Adam Toporek defined it during an interview on Best Seller TV. Customer service is just part of the one-on-one interaction with a customer; whereas customer experience refers to the entire journey a customer has with an organization, including marketing pieces or emails from the organization.
Delivering an overall amazing customer experience requires everyone in the organization to step up and be a leader. It’s not about a title; it’s about having the right set of tools and principles. Customer service expert, Shep Hyken, believes stepping up and being a leader are the pillars for a great experience. During our many talks, he’s told me about his belief in “focusing on the customer, not the money,” and I couldn’t agree more.
If you want to excel at providing an excellent customer experience, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Having a solid marketing strategy should be one of the pillars of your business foundation. Your marketing plan needs to connect with the audience; otherwise, it becomes meaningless. They also need to be memorable and resonate with the public in order to have a positive impact on your business.
A great example of a memorable campaign are the Liberty Tax Service wavers. You may have seen them waving at passing cars, singing and dancing on street corners throughout a number of cities nationwide. If you’re nodding your head, the point I’m trying to make is, they’re memorable. Who doesn’t remember someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty on some street corner?
These guerrilla marketing tactics serve, not only to potentially attract business, but as a way to engage, connect, and promote good will with the local community. This level of engagement helps consumers learn more about your product or service, and even helps spread the word on social media – especially in tight-knit communities. Initially, your marketing tactics should be hyper-local in order to gain the trust of the community first. If your community doesn’t trust you, it can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
The lesson here is, make nice with the neighbors!
Humans are visual creatures by nature. They enjoy things that tickle them – whether it’s a good catch phrase, a colorful ad, engaging content, something they can interact with or simplifies their lives, and something that’s shareable.
According to a recent study by Moz and BuzzSumo, over 75% of all content produced ends up getting zero links and zero shares -- a not-so-subtle hint that the content produced fell way short of consumers’ demands. Content marketers should be fully committed to produce quality content that consumers can share and if it includes video, even better.
This should be the rule, not the exception.
Video has always been a popular way to communicate a message, having improved leaps and bounds from just a few years ago. An example of companies using video to engage and impress customers are UviaUs and RMG Networks’ Bank of Ireland display at Dublin City University (DCU). The first combines the power of video and print media, sending mailers that are tangible and actionable, engaging the visual and tactile senses. The latter uses digital engagement walls that allow small groups and businesses to book meeting rooms as well as conduct banking transactions like checking balances and transferring money.
The lesson here is, every industry needs to adapt, change or die.
Let me be clear, not every company has to put up a billboard in Times Square or produce a blockbuster and not every marketing campaign needs to be flashy or expensive. All you need to do is make it visual and engaging. Video and content should go hand in hand. If your video fails to clearly convey a message and your content doesn’t engage your audience, you need to reevaluate and pivot…and fast!
Let me set this scene for you. Whenever you go to a McDonald’s, you expect to see the same menu, same line of cashiers, and already know what the food you’re about to order will taste like. The same can be expected from your neighborhood franchise store and a store on any other continent. Basically, the experience is the same at any store, anywhere in the world and the reason is the step and repeat process the company puts forth everywhere.
Hamburger University is one big reason why the customer experience is always the same, as they have emphasized consistent restaurant operations procedures, service, and quality across the board. It has become the company’s global operations training and leadership development.
So whether you order a Big Mac or a “Royale with cheese,”(if you’re a fan of “Pulp Fiction” you’ll understand the reference), customers will have a similar experience, remember it and expect the same every time they visit a McDonald’s store.
Training employees can be a daunting task, but one that is directly tied to your business’s success. You don’t need to have a background in human resources to train employees in the art of providing an excellent customer experience, but it’s essential that you invest in training your staff and resist the urge to hire people just because you need the bodies.
You must take the time to screen, vet and interview each new employee. Your front-line employees will be the ones directly interacting with customers, so they will need the proper training – not just in customer service but in providing an excellent overall customer experience.
One piece of advice I can give people when they’re thinking about hiring someone is to hire for attitude, train for skills. Skills can always be taught, but a good attitude will go a long way to foster a team-oriented environment that will always strive to provide above and beyond customer service and create a memorable experience for all customers.
McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc once said, “If we are going to go anywhere, we’ve got to have talent. And, I’m going to put money in talent.” And that’s no ‘Kroc.’
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television and radio host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or www.hayzlett.com.