Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Customer Experience Lessons from the ABCs of Life

There are a lot of general life lessons (I called  them common sense in a previous post) that can be applied to the world of customer experience. Let me know if you agree.

A couple days ago, I went to dinner in Laguna Beach with a good friend of mine. Before dinner, we wandered around town and visited some of the local shops, doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. If you've ever been to Laguna Beach, you know it's a very artsy beach community, with a ton of art galleries and a lot of fun shops to check out.

In one of the shops, I saw the plaque shown in the image above. I couldn't help myself; I knew I had to snap a picture and use it for one of my "Customer Experience Lessons from..." blog topics. I'll try to apply as many of them as I can, but I think I can get through all 26! (It was either that or a CX rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas... and, wow, that was really going to be a stretch! But I haven't deleted that idea from my Drafts folder just yet!) Here goes...

Accept Differences:  Customers are different. They have different needs, and different types of customers interact differently with your brand. Segment customers and interact with them in ways that are meaningful and preferred by them.

Be Kind: Rule #1 when it comes to customer service.

Count Your Blessings: Be thankful for the customers you have. Focus more energy and effort on retaining them than on bringing in new ones. They will help drive new business.

Dream: Dream and dream big! There's nothing wrong with thinking differently and wanting to provide an experience that's better than what the competition offers. Dream it, discuss it, and deliver it!

Express Thanks: Without a doubt, always say "thank you for your business." And always show your employees how much you appreciate them and the value they bring.

Forgive: Customers can be cranky, rude, and impatient. Forgive them for this. Put yourself in their shoes, put a smile on your face, and deliver the best service you know how to.

Give Freely: There are many ways that you can give to your customers without spending a dime. There are things you can do that cost nothing - but that make customers feel like they are kings. I love the recent example of the Rejection Project and the Krispy Kreme experience. This didn't really cost Krispy Kreme anything; the employee was creative and obliged the customer's request. And it made his day. Give freely, and you will have riches in return.

Harm No One: This is the ultimate goal for a business, the frontline, and customer service in general. Do no harm. Don't take advantage of your customers. Resolve issues. Don't make them worse. Don't create problems. Hire the right people, with great attitudes, who will send your customers (who've made purchases) off with a smile.

Imagine More: Never stop imagining. Never stop innovating. Get creative. Do great things, different things. Stand apart. Don't just imitate. Be remarkable.

Jettison Anger: Anger has no place on the frontlines or in the customer experience. Get it out of the workplace. Hire people with great attitudes. Hire happy people.

Keep Confidences:  Create a culture, an environment, that encourages openness, trust, and transparency. In a culture of transparency, share as much as you can share. But as I mentioned previously, be smart. There are things that don't need to be shared.

Love Truly: Love? Yes. Love your customers. Love your employees. Communication, trust, integrity, respect, and loyalty are all important parts of growing and maintaining these relationships.

Master Something: Master the art of delivering both a great customer experience and an excellent employee experience.

Nurture Hope: Your customers have a lot of hopes and expectations. Meet and exceed those expectations at every opportunity.

Open Your Mind: Consider the point of view of others, in this case, your customers. Listen to your customers and learn to understand their wants and needs. Be open to their needs and their expectations.

Pack Lightly: Make it easy for your customers to do business with you. Understand what's important for your customers and what's not. Do those things that are important to them, and do them well; skip or lessen the priorities around those things that don't revolve around your customer focus.

Quell Rumors: The best way to quell rumors is to never let them begin. In order to do that, transparency in your business dealings and customer interactions is required.

Reciprocate: If your customers are passionate about your brand, if your employees are passionate about what they're doing, show them some love in return. Show that you care about them just as much. Never forget to say "thank you." Do something that will truly delight them. In addition, communication is another area where reciprocation is critical in a customer experience. Relationships are about give and take. Don't just take; give something in return.

Seek Wisdom: When all else fails, ask for help. Nothing wrong with that.

Touch Hearts: This is a no-brainer in the world of customer experience.. Do something for your customers that is unexpected. A simple gift or gesture, some type of delighter. Go the extra mile.

Understand: Another no-brainer. Understand your customers. Understand their needs. Understand how they interact with you. Understand the customer's perspective all around is an important part of being able to deliver a great customer experience.

Value Truth: Truthfulness and honesty are necessary for a culture of transparency, which I wrote about recently. Some of the attributes of an organization that values truth: open and honest communications internally and externally, honesty and integrity in dealing with customers, sincerity of your frontline team, and fairness in all interactions.

Win Graciously: You win when your customers win. Fairness and integrity in all interactions at every touchpoint facilitate the win. Train your frontline to always be thankful, kind, courteous, and compassionate.

Xeriscape: Yea, I had to look this one up, too. Practice corporate social responsibility. Customers like to buy from companies who care about more than their bottom lines.

Yearn for Peace: Your  business is never more at peace than when customer happiness levels are at their highest.

Zealously Support a Worthy Cause: One brand came to mind immediately as I thought of this statement: TOMS. "With every purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for one."

Don't let the original thoughts behind the ABCs get lost in my translation. They are valuable lessons, too.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for a great post. Holiday greetings and best wishes for a purposeful 2013

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and for commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Happy Holidays to you, too!

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  2. This is such a fantastic list! Thank you for your thought leadership. Happy Holidays!

    Jeret

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed the post! Happy Holidays!

      Annette :-)

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