Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

Do Your Customers Love You?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Because “you need your customers more than they need you,” Jeb Blount offers the “Seven Essential Principles of Customer Service” in his book, People Love You – The Real Secret to Delivering Legendary Customer Experience.

As Blount explains, “The fact is customers are not loyal to products, services or companies. Instead, they are loyal to people they like, trust and believe in.” So while the mechanics and process of servicing customers are important, your real goal is to build “strong emotional bonds with customers that last a lifetime.”

Thus, the “Seven Essential Principles of Customer Engagement”:

Principle 1:  You Need Your Customers More Than They Need You. “The number one reason companies fail is a lack of customers.”  Whether you are the boss, account manager or sales person, “top customer service professionals believe their mission is to help their customers win and reach their goals. They are advocates for their customers. And they believe that by helping their customers reach their goals, they will reach their own.”

Principle 2:  Customers Are People. “They are emotional, irrational and human. They feel fear and stress. They are overworked and underpaid. They are time starved. They have ambition and goals. They have an insatiable need to feel important and appreciated. They have families and priorities. Each interaction with a person crates an experience that they remember. Though you may believe that your product or service has a greater impact on your customer’s experience than you do,” remember that “customers don’t do business with companies, they do business with people – you.”

Principle 3:  You Are Always On Stage. “Business is a grand stage and…from that stage you deliver customer experiences. Everything you say or don’t say, do or don’t do, your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language can and will have an impact on your customer’s experience. Your words and actions have meaning. A misspoken word, display of raw emotion, or slip of the tongue will impact the relationships you have with customers. … This is where customer experience is born.” Yours and theirs.

Principle 4:  Customers Act on Emotion and Justify with Logic. “One of the core principles of the People Love You philosophy is the universal law of human behavior: People act first (or buy) on emotion and then justify those actions with logic.” Yes, there are “folks who will argue this point to the death.” And, yes it is true that we all try to make logical purchasing decisions based on facts, numbers, observations and stats. “But it is the emotion we feel that causes us to act.”

Principle 5:  Customers Do Things for Their Reasons – Not Yours. Account managers or customer service professionals should “embrace the belief that though customers may not always be right, they are always first. They stand in their shoes and view situations through their customer’s perspective.”

Principle 6:  Customers Don’t Do Illogical Things on Purpose. While some managers believe “customers do dumb things on purpose … there is usually an alternative explanation for their actions. … Top customer service professionals assume positive intent. In other words, they recognize that the customer thought she was doing the right thing. They know that when a customer is doing the wrong thing, there is a reason and it is in their best interest as a service professional (because they need their customers more than their customers need them) to investigate why the person is doing something that seems illogical rather than simply judge it as such. This helps them to either gain understanding or uncover and remove the root cause.”

Principle 7:  Always Give More Than Is Required. Generally, when discussing customer service, the cliché is to “exceed customer expectations.” But, Jeb Blount explains, it is not always possible to exceed their expectations, since you may not know what they are or can’t exceed them. “At my company, we have a simple value statement that we live by. We always do more than we have to and we will be kind to everyone, no matter what. … Focus on what you can control – your actions. … That is, give your customers more value that they paid for.” We often forget about our expectations and instead think about how good we feel and our experience.

Blount also discusses the “Five Levers of Customer Experience that help you move people to love you by tapping into the motivations that are driven by human emotion,” and he explains how to “make breaking up hard to do.”

Customer Service and Startling Statistics

Monday, February 18th, 2013

We are all in customer service whether it’s our working title or not. While we have grown more responsive and pro-active – through feedback, marketplace competition and personal experiences – we always need reminders.

In his book, Beyond Customer Service – Keeping Customers for Life, author Richard F. Gerson presents “Startling Service Statistics.” The stats may have changed since the first and second editions were written in the 1990s, but the concepts about the importance of customer service are definitely current. Here we go, some of the “Startling Service Statistics,” and [1st Person PR comments]:

  • “Only 4 percent of customers ever complain. This means your business may never hear from 96% of its customers, and 91% of those just go away because they feel complaining will not do them any good. In fact, complainers are more likely to continue doing business with you than noncomplainers.  [consider today’s word of mouth, social media “likes,” “dislikes” and other comments]
  • For every complaint your business receives, there are 26 other customers with unresolved complaints or problems, and six of those have serious problems. These are people who can tell you how to make your business better. Get their feedback any way you can.
  • Most customers who complain to you (54%-70%) will do business with you if you resolve their complaint. If they feel you acted quickly and to their satisfaction, then up to 95% of them will do business with you again, and they will probably refer other people to you.
  • A dissatisfied customer will tell up to 10 people about it. Approximately 13% of those will tell up to 20 people about their problem. You cannot afford the advertising to overcome the negative word of mouth [such as today’s hundreds or thousands of hits or dislikes]
  • Happy customers, or customers who have had their complaints resolved, will tell between three and five people about their positive experience. Therefore, you have to satisfy three to four customers for every one that is dissatisfied with you. …[or, more unhappy customers talk about you than satisfied customers…]
  • It costs five to six times more to attract new customers than to keep old ones. …Customer loyalty and the lifetime of a customer can be worth up to 10 times as much as the price of a single purchase…
  • Businesses that provide superior service can often charge more, realize greater profits, and increase their market share and have customers willingly pay more for their products simply because of the good service [well, maybe?]. …
  • Customers stop doing business with you because:

► 1 % die

► 3 % move away

► 5 % seek alternatives

► 9 % begin doing business with the competition

► 14 % are unhappy with the product or service

► 68 % are unhappy with the treatment they have received.”

If you would like to share your customer service experiences or update the “startling service statistics” in a 1st Person PR blog post, let us know.