Mar 3, 2020
Ep 94: How to Create an Amazing Customer Service Experience
When I wrote my book Business Boutique—a book entirely about how to start your own business—I left out something that I believe is crucial to winning in business: great customer service.
Do you know why I didn’t write about it? Because I believe, as women, we naturally excel in customer service. We’re relational. We’re great at connecting with people, serving others, nurturing, and thinking about how someone else feels. However, there’s always opportunity to grow, right?
Well, several years ago, I had a pretty frustrating experience with a customer service representative. It was so frustrating that I now use it as an example when I teach on what not to do when working with customers. Here’s what happened:
I got a notification in the mail that my dental insurance had been canceled. As you can imagine, I was really confused because there had been no other conversations about any problems with my dental insurance. And then one day, poof—it was canceled.
So naturally, I called and spoke with a customer service representative, and she told me, “Well, you didn’t pay your bill. You pay it every six months, and you didn’t pay it the last time it was due.” I responded, “I’m so sorry. I pay my bills. I wasn’t aware that it was due. I don’t remember getting a bill in the mail or hearing anything about this.” And her response was, “Well, we decided to become a paperless company a few months ago, so we just send emails now.”
It turns out, they had an old email that I hadn’t used in years. So, I kindly asked the “nice customer service person” if I could pay my bill right there over the phone and reinstate my insurance. Her response? She threw out three words that still makes me cringe to this day: “Our policy is . . .” Is there anything that makes a customer more upset than hearing, “I’m so sorry, but our policy is . . .”? Nobody cares about stinking policies!
We don’t have to run our businesses that way! In fact, your business will be more successful and more fun when you provide incredible customer service and put your customers before your policies.
5 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service
I want to give you five ways you can improve your customer service and help your business succeed:
1. Don’t be late.
Always, always, always be on time. Whether it’s a shipment going out, returning a phone call or an email, showing up to a meeting—whatever it is, do it on time. When in doubt, I always want you to underpromise and overdeliver.
This one is convicting for me because I’m not great at it—I’m working on it. But this is the most basic way to keep your customers happy. Just be on time and do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it.
2. Don’t be emotional.
Listen, I’ve got a lot of feelings. I have so many feelings that even my feelings have feelings. But whether you’re having a good day or a bad day, your customer doesn’t care. Every day, your brand and your business should be having a good day.
Nothing will break trust with your customers like being Dr. Jekyll on one day and Mr. Hyde on another. You’ve got to be consistent in how you take care of people. Don’t be emotional, and don’t take your bad mood out on your customers.
3. Don’t forget to listen.
I know this sounds really basic, but when we’re having a conversation with someone, whether it’s a normal conversation, a positive conversation, or even a really heated conversation, we’re always thinking of what we’re going to say next.
But instead of doing that, stop, listen, and ask follow-up questions. Most people just want to be heard. When they feel heard, they feel validated and understood.
Never underestimate the power of simply listening to someone’s story, complaint, problem, frustration or fear. Listening is a really powerful way to serve your customers and make them feel valued.
4. Don’t make excuses.
As customers, we hate hearing excuses. So don’t make excuses to them under any circumstances. If someone is unhappy with your product or something went wrong, there are only three things you need to do:
- Own it.
- Apologize for it.
- Fix it.
Did you notice that “explain it” is nowhere on that list? That’s because no one cares about your explanations or your excuses! All they want is for you to own it, apologize for it, and then fix it. That’s what your customers care about—I can promise you that.
5. Don’t use the word policy.
Please—I’m begging you. You hate it when companies use the word policy as an excuse for why they can’t help you because that’s exactly what it is: a cop-out. So, if you hate it, don’t do it to your customer! Be a fixer. Do the right thing and take care of people.
Now, of course you need policies to run a business and protect yourself, but at the end of the day, you should always do the right thing—what’s best for your customer. Live your life and build your business by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
If you want to make your customer’s blood boil, then explain that you can’t do something because of “your policy.” And watch how it instantly sucks all humanity, connection and trust out of any conversation with them. It makes your conversation about a transaction, not a relationship. That’s what the word policy does.
So, have policies, but don’t rely on them when it comes to customer service conversations. Instead, use common sense.
At the end of the day, each of these five mistakes boils down to the Golden Rule. If you’re not sure how to handle the situation, all you have to do is ask yourself: How would I want to be treated?
Now that is great customer service.
Customer Service That Disrupts the Competition with Shep Hyken
I’m so excited about my guest today. Shep Hyken is a speaker and customer service expert, and he’s the author of the book The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver A Customer Service Experience That Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty.
On this episode, Shep and I talk about:
- Common mistakes people make when providing great customer service experiences
- How to win your customers over from the competition
- Being consistent and teaching your customers how to work with you
- Using your customer’s negative experience as an opportunity to serve them well
- Five steps that will help you handle any negative customer experience
Encouragement: Use Your Experiences to Shape Your Customer Service
I’ve got an idea that’s going to help you really step up your customer service game. Are you ready? It’s so easy.
I want you to think about—and pay attention to—the types of customer service experiences that you have as a customer. I want you to think about the really, really good and really, really bad experiences. We’ve all experienced both. So why not use them to your advantage in your business? Lean into those situations and learn from them.
Ask yourself: What’s so great about the great ones, and how can I be great too? What’s so bad about the bad ones, and how could I make sure that I’m nothing like that?
You can use these past personal experiences not only to learn and grow from, but also to help you build your business on solid practices that will serve your customers even better.
1:14 Create an Amazing Customer Service Experience
4:30 Five Ways to Improve Your Customer Service
15:14 Customer Service That Disrupts the Competition with Shep Hyken
33:45 Encouragement: Use Your Experiences to Shape Your Customer Service
If you have a success story you would like to share with the Business Boutique community, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.