We’ve heard it before and we’ll hear it again. I’m sorry, I apologize. These empathetic statements are part of most customer service training programs.
Always apologize to customers when they complain. Oh, and sound like you actually mean it. In fact, practice making empathetic facial expressions in the mirror as you say it.
Saying sorry doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s just not enough. It’s a hollow rote response that’s bound to fail. Unless… Continue reading
“Without customers, your [small] business would not exist. It’s that simple. Your business success and longevity depend on acquiring and retaining its target customers. You can’t do so without developing and maintaining a customer-centric mindset.” (Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success ©2015)
In keeping with a customer-centric theme this Friday the 13th, here are 7 things you should never do when managing external customers: Continue reading
Customer experience is a big deal for any sized business. Smaller businesses have a distinct advantage with their ability to provide one-to-one service with a strong customer focus.
When I am the customer, I like to share poor experiences to help you identify what not to do. Today, I’m going to share a terrific experience I had last week that demonstrates the right things to do!
Last Monday, while giving a cousin a tour of Scottsdale’s Old Town, the sidewalk narrowed and I accidentally fell off the curb landing on my knees, twisting both ankles. I felt so ridiculous falling in a climate without snow and ice!
I followed the RICE method of treatment at home (rest, ice, compression, elevation), believing that in a few days I’d be back on the tennis court. NOT!
My daughter convinced me to get X-rays, so off I went to the doctor’s office and discovered that I had fractured my right ankle and sprained the left one. The nurse practitioner referred me to an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon for treatment and I was lucky to get an appointment the following day. (Quick response.)
Hubby drove me to the specialist’s office and wheeled me upstairs. Because I was considered an “emergency” case, the wait was over 90 minutes. I didn’t mind because the waiting room had plenty of magazines and a TV was playing “Property Brothers,” an HGTV show in which handsome Canadian twins Drew and Jonathan Scott “help couples find, buy and transform extreme fixer-uppers into the ultimate dream home.”
At one point, the receptionist leaned out her window and apologized to those of us in the waiting room, indicating that the doctor had a few emergency patients that afternoon and that’s why the wait was longer. (Communicate with customers.)
When the doctor’s assistant called my name, he greeted me with a warm smile and set me up in an exam room. The doctor entered a few minutes later, cheery and friendly. He wanted to take an X-ray of the left ankle to ensure that it didn’t have any fractures. (Be thorough.)
A technician wheeled me into a small ante room with a floor-level X-ray machine. I didn’t have to move out of the wheelchair. (Accommodate customers.)
Back in the exam room a few minutes later, the doctor advised me that I don’t need surgery (yay!) and the left ankle is just badly sprained, as suspected. He went through some dos and don’ts and said he would see me in four weeks.
A minute later, the doctor’s assistant returned with two orthopedic boots and instructed me how to use them. On the way out, he handed us his business card and said to call him with any questions or concerns. (Anticipate customer needs.) We stopped at the receptionist’s desk to book my follow-up appointment (and helped ourselves to a candy and chocolate from the candy dish).
From the moment the assistant called my name, to the time I left the office, things went smoothly and orderly. Every staff person exhibited a happy disposition with smiles, humor, and compassion. It was 100% evident that they liked their jobs and respected the doctor.
Even the appointment reminder exemplified customer appreciation. On the sheet of printer paper read, “We look forward to seeing Elaine Fogel,” followed by the date and time.
I left with a good feeling of confidence in the doctor and his team. They did everything right demonstrating:
- friendly greetings
- warmth and compassion
- attentive service
- organized procedures
And, they did this even though they must say and do the same things day in and out with different patients. Now, I ask you… what does this customer and brand experience cost?
Have you had a similar experience? Please share what went right.