Roy's Blog: June 2015

June 29, 2015

3 essentials to provide stand-out #CustomerService

If you want your customer service to excel, here are 3 essentials.

Essential #1 - set your strategic context to “serve” customers rather than “service” them.

We service cars and computers but we SERVE people. The notion of being “serviced” is quite frankly repugnant to me.

Servicing people focuses on inflicting the rules and processes of the organization on the customer. Some analyst in the organization decides that the most efficient way to fulfill a customer’s request and control cost is to do it a certain way. Whether the customer wants to participate in the process is irrelevant.

Serving, on the other hand, requires that systems, rules and procedures are designed to satisfy the service experience expected by the customer.

It may be more cost efficient to outsource your call centre to some distant place in the world where english is not the mother tongue, but if a conversation with one of these reps infuriates your customer, what have you gained?

Too many organizations take this “inside-out” view of customer service where the needs of the organization are “pushed” on people.

What is needed is an “outside-in” perspective where the customer drives how they are served.

Essential #2 - deliver your core service flawlessly 24X7. Core service is the essence of your business; what people get from you. WiFi that works, good food, clean hotel rooms and planes that take-off and land every time are examples of core service.

If you deliver your core service consistently as promised customers will rate you average because they expect your core service to work as promised. On the other hand, failure to deliver satisfactory core service will earn you a fail and your brand suffers as the stories of your shortcomings spread far and wide.

Essential #3 - create dazzling serving experiences around your core service. This is the WOW! that surprises people; giving them what they DON’T expect. Dazzling experiences drive customer loyalty but only if your core service is delivered flawlessly.

How to dazzle?
1. recruit people that “love” fellow humans and possess the innate ability to serve them.
2. create rules, procedures and systems that enable friendly and user friendly transactions.
3. turn OOPS! into WOW! by recovering from mistakes and service blunders in a way that surprises and delights the customer.

Don’t expect results over night; serving people in a stand-out manner is a journey.

But start it. NOW!

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
Wanted: Chief Customer Serving Officer
11 steps to a DAZZLING service recovery
The economics of DAZZLE

  • Posted 6.29.15 at 01:56 am by Roy Osing
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June 22, 2015

Marketing “specials” kill

Special marketing deals could kill customer loyalty.

Most companies use special offers or promotions to attract new customers and kick sales up a notch.

For the most part, special deals use price as the hook and are time based to encourage people to make a fast purchase decision.

“For the next three months subscribe to our wireless service and get a free LED TV” is a common promotion offered by many as a way to acquire new wireless customers.

These offers are dangled in the face of a potential NEW customer; THEY receive the free TV.

On the other hand, someone who has been a loyal wireless customer for 10 years gets NADA even though they have supported the company to the tune of thousands of dollars.

This is crazy.

Special offers should be placed at the feet of your loyal customers FIRST. It’s an awesome way to thank people for their ongoing support and return the favour with a token of your appreciation. Think about it as re-investing (in them) some of the revenue they have generously given you over the years.

But companies rarely use promotions this way.

They don’t want to take the revenue hit from current customers taking advantage of the savings; they don’t feel it is necessary to offer the promotion it to loyal customers to encourage them to stay. And if an exiting customer takes the deal they don’t believe it stimulates new sales.

Really?

These are bogus arguments for a number of reasons:

1. Offering something special to your loyal fans will surprise and delight them. They will stay loyal to you as long as you serve them well. And they will act as your best advertisers by telling the story to others about how great you are. Revenue will GROW as a result. Ever done an NPV on a customer who has been with you for 10 years?

2. If you DON’T include them they will find out. They will know that they are not included in the deal and they will be angry and feel neglected. They might leave you, but for sure they will talk you up to their friends and family as a selfish organization that does not care about their loyal customers. They will “slander your brand”; shouting out your lack of integrity and honesty.

3. If your special deal attracts someone because of their thirst for your low price, what makes you think they won’t leave you for a better offer? A special targeted at “switchers” is also fuel for more switching. Then you have realized zero return on your promotion investment AND you have given your current customers reason to leave.

4. Investing in your loyal customer base ALWAYS makes sense. You’re not reducing your margins by offering them the special deal, you’re reinvesting some of your margins in them to maintain their loyalty. Why do companies buy back their own shares?

It’s time organizations re-think the strategy behind “the special deal”.

Any way you cut it, the deal strategy for new customer acquisition is risky; go for the sure thing in the long run.

Show people why they should stay with you.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other marketing articles you might like
Do NOT change your brand unless…
3 avenues to brilliant #marketing
Stand-out #marketing covets “ME”

 

  • Posted 6.22.15 at 01:38 am by Roy Osing
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June 15, 2015

10 stories on business stupidity

It’s amazing how out of touch businesses can be and how deplorable they sometimes treat their customers.

They serve up a healthy portion of dumb rules and impolite employees. And they subjugate their customers to their own internal priorities.

Here is a handful of personal experiences for your amusement and reading pleasure. I hope you will utter #AreYouKiddingMe the odd time.

1. A classic screw-over by BC Ferries

2. “But you don’t understand”

3. “I can’t give you that table because there is no server assigned to it”

4. “Sorry, booths are reserved for parties of 4 or more”

5. “We need your credit card because you might do a drink and run on us”

6. “But we don’t have a record of your order”

7. “We don’t have enough people to take your call”

8. “If we did it for you we would have to do it for everyone”

9. “We suspect you are a thief”

10. “We will tip ourselves because we don’t think you will”

Sadly, I have more, but by now I am sure you have had quite enough.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
If this comes out of your mouth, you’re NOT customer focused
How do you know when your organization has finally “grown up”?
Taking care of people: a step beyond serving them

  • Posted 6.15.15 at 01:15 am by Roy Osing
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June 8, 2015

Playful organizations have a #CompetitiveAdvantage

Most organizations search for ways to differentiate themselves from their competition at a very high level: operational excellence, technology and products. Some actually believe price is a differentiator but I won’t spend nanosecond on the subject.

There is one dimension that rarely gets included in the conversation - “playfulness”

It seems that organizations that are playful and have fun seem to do well against their “tight” competitors.

Playful businesses allow their employees to express themselves as individuals; to talk to their customers in an informal way as opposed to following a script crafted by someone in a staff group somewhere in head office.

They expose the office fun to their customers. The banter that goes on among employees “when no one is watching” is presented to their customers with no hesitation.

On Westjet all of the flight attendants are introduced, and “the lovely Marsha” in the mid-cabin section always gets a deserved round of applause.

Employees of playful organizations step out of their formal role and do something unexpected of them.

I recall the pilot of a Westjet flight introducing himself to the passengers before stepping into the cockpit and giving us the details of the upcoming flight in person as well as their plan to introduce new streaming video technology to replace the traditional way of viewing movies.

He said he “liked to do things differently” than others.

Very unexpected and memorable. I have never seen any pilot from any other airline do this (and I don’t expect I ever will).

Playful organizations inject humour in carrying out their official tasks. Ever hear a Westjet flight boss give pre-flight safety instructions? Their speech covers the required details but it is laced with a casual humour that makes the process of seeing once again how to fasten a seat belt more interesting and enjoyable.

Playful organizations seem more human than others, and are rewarded with customers who care about them and stay with them through thick and thin.

Sounds like a #CompetitiveAdvantage to me…

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
Competitive positioning - avoid aspirations
How to craft your ONLY statement
How NOT to have a competitive position

  • Posted 6.8.15 at 04:10 am by Roy Osing
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