By Dawn Drozd
July 25, 2013
Remember the first time you fell in love? There were bells ringing and birds singing and you never wanted to let go. Wouldn’t it be cool if your company’s service was so outstanding that you rocked your customer’s world and they never wanted to let you go?
I want to share the secret to sparking a life-long business love affair. Here are the four steps your company needs to take to make sure your most profitable customers not only come back, but they fall in love with you and never want a divorce!
Step 1: Create a culture of customer loyalty.
As a leader you have to live and breathe customer service every single day and make it completely clear that you expect everyone in your organization to do the same. To do that you have to write down what great customer service looks like and sounds like. Don’t assume everyone in your organization sees it the same as you do. Be specific. Also, don’t forget to celebrate those who get it right. If your team knows their good work will be recognized, they’ll be more motivated to keep it up in the long run.
Step 2: Have goals focused on customer loyalty and hold people accountable.
Step 3: Train everyone on what great customer service looks like and don’t stop training.
If you have key areas of customer contact you must have written standards. Whenever possible those standards should be measured. Of course, every business is different, so you have to figure out what fits best, but some examples might be include: number of product returns for defects, number of service complaints, or time left on hold. Once you identify the goals and they’ll be measured, you must hold your team accountable to reach them and be prepared to coach when the results are less than expected. Without holding the team accountable, your efforts will be hollow.
Once again, we can’t expect our employees to magically know what we want. This means that giving your team the skills and tools they need to be successful is critical. Also, notice I said, EVERYONE, and I mean everyone. The training may be different based on the level of customer contact, but if building customer loyalty is part of your culture and important to building your business, doesn’t it make sense that everyone has knowledge of what is expected? Of course, your front line “warriors” need to know not only how to deliver great service during positive interactions, but even more importantly, how to handle complaints and conflict.
Step 4: Give your team enough decision making power to make your customers happy.
Zappos.com, famous for their incredible level of customer satisfaction, did the unthinkable when they allowed their call center employees to go “off script.” For years, the call center operators were rated on their success in following tight scripts in short timeframes, with the goal to get the customer off the phone as fast as possible. Customer satisfaction was secondary. But, Zappo’s decided to trust their employees, so they gave them guidelines, trained them well, set key metrics to measure success, and “set them free.” Their strategy was to create loyalty through “wow” moments and emotional connections. As a result, Zappo’s grew their gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2008. Amazing!
While these four steps may seem simple, they can be tough to implement and keep consistent, so we encourage you to make a plan for improvement, have patience and stay focused.
Dawn Drozd is CEO of ClearVision Business Coaching and one of the Top 150 coaches in the world. Her new book, “The Success Code,” out Fall 2013, reveals how more than 50 business owners not only survived, but thrived during the recession. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.