This is the first in our 6-part leadership speaker series of articles that looks at stimulating change for epic service.
People talk about the importance of customer service all the time, yet few companies are recognized for doing it well and even fewer are willing to change their approach to get the desired result
Your customers are not loyal. The brutal truth is that 75% of your customers would gladly do business with the competition — because companies have not created the emotional connection that creates customer loyalty and advocacy.
In my experience as a leadership change consultant, getting a customer to return depends on more than simple satisfaction. It depends on giving the customer a reason to come back. Are you giving your customers a reason to come back? If you want to increase repeat business, then it’s time to change your approach to customer satisfaction.
Making Real Change – Satisfied Is Worse than Unsatisfied
How are you tracking customer satisfaction levels? Better yet, what does a satisfied customer really tell you about your company’s performance? Are you asking them about their level of satisfaction with your brand, or the products and services they consume?
The reality is that even if you are tracking your customers’ level of satisfaction, you are probably not getting at the real truth, and your inquiries are doing little to help you make real change in your approach to customer service.
As I have argued previously in Satisfied Is Worse Than Unsatisfied, “Customers are so conditioned that when we are asked questions like this (about satisfaction), they just say ‘Yes.’ Think about your own experiences. How often have you said things were fine simply because you couldn’t be bothered commenting? Unfortunately, lurking under all those ‘Yes’s’ may be a list of issues you never hear about and resultant, never have the chance to correct.”
In this sense, complaints uncover the insights you are seeking when asking about customer satisfaction. Complaints provide you with the opportunity to dig deeper to identify the real issues that exist and provides the opportunity to take corrective action for that customer — and the customers still to come. This results in a happier, more loyal customer base, with the added bonus of having the opportunity to change your process or service to better reflect the needs of customers.
3 Ways to Build and Strengthen Your Emotional Connection with Your Customers
Unless you have a one of a kind product that is only available from your company, you need to work to get your customers to return and choose to do business with you. To get your customers to return, you need to create a customer experience that makes them feel comfortable and important. It needs to address their needs and desires.
You need to make it unmistakably clear that you want to hear from your customers; you need to make them feel like they are getting personalized, or special, treatment; and you must to make it clear that you value their business and you want them to return.
Here is how you strengthen your emotional connection with your customers:
- Prioritize your customer in everything you do: Are your customers your top priority — the focus of your business? The answer lies in how you run your business. Examine your business processes, internal communications, and interactions with your customers to see if you are truly putting your customers first. Your team needs to care for your customers – they are the ones interacting with your customers – and their interactions with your customers will be very telling about the level of connection you have with your customers. Read more about getting your team to buy into organizational change in, How to Get Your Team to Buy into Organizational Change.
- Get closer to your customers emotionally: To connect with your customers on an emotional level, your team needs to have a thorough understanding of your customer’s perspective, their experience, and their expectations when interacting with your company. Take a walk in their shoes. Experience what they experience when dealing with your organization –either through a mystery shop or by personal experience. Show empathy when they make complaints, show respect, demonstrate understanding, relate to them on a personal level, and approach customer service by putting the shoe on the other foot.
- Listen, and listen some more: Do you really listen to your customers’ concerns, or do you put things on auto pilot like your customers do when you ask about their level of satisfaction? Regardless of how you are communicating, make the extra effort to actively listen to your customers to make them feel comfortable and important.
Satisfaction does not equal loyalty. To strengthen your emotional connect with your customers, you need to change your approach to how you view customer satisfaction, and focus on developing an authentic emotional connection with your customers, and they will reward your company with brand loyalty and repeat business.
The next article in our 6-part leadership speaker series will examine how to move from customer service to customer engagement
For more information about having Bill speak about this topic at your next event, visit Kickass Keynotes.