January 27

A Real-Life Example of Rubbish Customer Service

chI went to my brother’s gym yesterday on a guest pass.

We were in there for just under two hours, doing weights and cardio.

Anyway, there’s an Asda next right next door. And afterwards, we were hungry. So in we went and did a bit of post-gym shopping. Though, of course, amongst the chicken and veg, there was plenty of beer and ice cream in our baskets. A man’s gotta live a little, after all!

But just as we were paying, a thought hit me: Was there a time limit on how long you could park there? I mean, by now, we’d been parked for around 2 and a half hours. So I asked the woman serving us.

She said, “Yeah, I think there is a limit. But it’s something like 4 hours so you’ll be fine.” Phew.

But on our way out, we passed another guy who worked there. So I thought I’d double check with him. Just because the woman wasn’t entirely convincing.

Anyway, this guy looked at me a little quizically when I asked him, then said: “Yeah, think it’s 2 hours.”

Damn. I’d been longer than that.

So when I got in the car, I rang Asda’s customer service to find out the truth. Turned out there wasn’t actually a time limit in place, after all. Phew.

Anyway, this experience can help you make sure you don’t make similar mistakes when dealing with your own customers.

Here’s how:

You see, if the two workers I asked just said to me, “I don’t know, let me find out for you,” I would have been happy. I certainly wouldn’t have judged them at all for not knowing the answer. Quite the opposite, actually. I would have appreciated their honesty.

But, instead, they gave me completely made-up answers.

So here’s my advice:

Always be honest with people. If they ask you something and you don’t know the answer, just say “I don’t know.” Honesty’s the best policy.

If they’re a paying customer, you should then go and find out the answer for them. This really would be top customer service. Plus, it would help massively with client retention. Meaning you’ll make a lot more money from that particular person in the future.

You know, there really are a lot of things I don’t know.

And, yes, I include certain business-related things in that.

But one thing I certainly DO know a thing or two about, is how to make money with email.

And (in my humble yet accurate opinion) I’m good at teaching other people how to become great at email marketing themselves.

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January 16

Provide the Best Quality Service or Business That You Desire to See or Receive – Always Do Your Best

dgSurmise each life-given situation, as an opportunity, that can be seen as a resolute invitation to resolve and devise a higher paradigm for the propitiation of ineptness and weakness has already been paid in full. Most everyone knows what they want and how they want to be treated. We have all learned that being rude is useless and have all moved on to behave respectfully to everyone that we deal with in our daily lives. I am sure that most everyone is well-versed in etiquette and ready to excel when we buy, shop or sell both as customers, and as vendors. Almost everyone is born with the ability to learn how to sell, serve, buy and understand the concept of a good customer service experience. Realize that everyone’s time is important, and that includes yours and mine!

If somebody at the cash register, on the telephone line, or in any given service situation is acting offensively or taking too long to recognize us as customers, they lose our business, they lose our trust and our respect as well.

Disillusion procrastination: judiciously utilize your time with good intent: serenely be a co-creator, both you as a customer or you as a vendor wish to derive value from each others presence. Be an active participant of a highly calculable mode of living, that behooves you; completed in honesty, integrity and with limitless possibilities. Make a soft a subtle sound., ie clear your voice, say hello or direct a friendly glare to your vendor or customer. You can avoid a rough situation by providing soft, subtle cues to gain your customer or vendor’s attention. You will both be happy when you finally, hopefully, within a few seconds, get to speak to one another in eager anticipation.

Cultivate many rewards that are well-won by keeping a higher constitution in your premeditated thoughts; our thoughts always transpire into action, one-step-at-a-time. Set your intention to have a good selling or a great buying experience before you leave your home or sacred space.

Be cognizant of your remarkable, marketability, and glowing attributes that were allotted to you from birth, all you have to do is cultivate what has already been provided for you. We are all willing and wanting to have great socialization and stimulating conversation when we engage a new person in the course of our daily or weekly sales and purchases. Give a voice to your thoughts and tell yourself that you are going to meet a nice service person or a nice customer that will be helpful and perhaps even witty, maybe prepare your planning so that you can fill that vacuum or lull of time, while waiting, for your turn, at the grocery store or doctor’s office. Perhaps by reading an engaging pamphlet, about the product or service, that you are preparing to buy, or sell.

By giving a voice to the vacuum of intention in your soul, you can garner a life of serendipity and uncommon success. Remember too, the example that you are setting for your own students or children who will emulate the way that they see you engage a customer or vendor. Aspire success for your posterity up to a 1,000%, the choice is yours alone to make. Relish every opportunity to show yourself worthy of a great exchange of words or service, as either a customer or as a vendor. Have a happier shopping experience as you mentally prepare to meet and engage someone knowledgeable or helpful on your next customer service experience.

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January 15

Improving The Customer Experience With Neuroscience

34Though your customer experience will involve different steps, depending on the nature of the transaction, one thing remains true whatever your industry: customers are increasingly demanding simplicity and ‘flow’ in the experience of interacting with you.

The concept that the customer expects a good buying experience is, of course, nothing new, but the demand for ‘ease of use’ and ‘simplicity’ to get them from A to B has never been greater; with more sophisticated ways of measuring behaviour through neuroscience, more light is being shed on this topic.

The importance of ‘flow’

Back in 1998, psychology researcher Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi wrote that people who perform seamless, sequence-based activities regularly are happier than those who do not. He described this behaviour as ‘flow’.

This was very prescient when we consider how the average person in western societies now purchases products and services.

For products and services we are not familiar with, we will go online (likely on a mobile device), research providers for our need, and then look for social proof; we will then check out a few websites and expect a seamless buying experience. This includes easy identification of the product we need, a clear understanding of the features and benefits, and an easy way to buy it and get it to the door.

For products and services we are more familiar with (like Amazon or hotel booking websites for instance) it’s even quicker and easier – with our details pre-loaded. A few clicks and it’s done, with an email confirmation sitting in your Inbox.

It couldn’t get much easier. Successful companies have incorporated Csíkszentmihályi’s words into their entire modus operandi. They are successful because they offer a MORE seamless experience – one which breeds confidence and trust in the customer experience.

The websites that have not yet mastered this – that struggle with poor product display, difficult-to-fill forms, and clumsy call-to-action buttons (‘Register Here’ or ‘BUY NOW’) – won’t last long. Slow, interruptive processes simply don’t wash in the digital age.

Even in 1969, Robert B. Miller’s observed in his paper Response Time in Man-Computer Conversational Transactions that people are most comfortable and productive with response times of less than two seconds.

Meeting ‘baseline’ expectations

When it gets to the buying point, most customers now expect a smooth, seamless experience – or they go elsewhere to get it; and they may never return.

Few businesses can afford to turn away customers like this. Building a base of loyal customers who talk about their experience positively to friends, and through social media channels, means first meeting ‘baseline’ expectations of service.

‘Baseline’ can be seen as the standard of client experience that an organisation expects to deliver with every client – and simplicity of experience has become one of them.

Only once this has been achieved do you have the opportunity to delight the customer and really set yourself apart from the competition.

These expectations change over time, of course. Air conditioning and satellite TV in a hotel room are now ‘baseline’ expectations – once they were considered a luxury. Rather than ‘delighting’ a customer, they now just produce the good will of having expectations met.

Providing ‘flow’ and simplicity in your customer experience is now as necessary as a hotel providing air conditioning in the room.

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January 1

How Instant Gratification Affects the Service Providers You Use

dsInstant Gratification is a product of this new world we live in when we hold everything in the palms of our hands. Need an Indian Headdress? Jump on Amazon.com and in a couple of clicks, 2 days of shipping – bam! Want to know how much money Kim Kardashian makes per tweet? Simple! Do a Google search and the answer is there within 45 seconds. Your dog needs a grooming appointment? Call the groomer… … “Your first available is in 3 weeks???” Oh boy.

The service industry is having a huge problem right now when it comes to scheduling appointments and the needs and desires of its clientele. Too often, clients cannot break away from the mindset of instant gratification – dog needs haircut, I’m free right now, groomer takes dog. This is not likely. Frustration from both parties abound as the capabilities of the service provider are different than the needs of those demanding the service.

The Service Industry

Services are typically by appointments. Doctors, hairdressers, mechanics and groomers all fall into this category. It is easy to understand why a doctor schedules appointments 3 months out but more difficult to comprehend why an exterminator, masseuse or groomer may need to do the same thing.

Each appointment takes a set amount of hours and there are just not enough hours in a day to do more. Many clients book their next appointment when they leave OR they set themselves up on a regular schedule, thus making it difficult for the provider to squeeze in the last minute call ins.

It is very frustrating to the service provider to have to turn away highly valued business and risk the chance that the client will go elsewhere. It is also annoying to the busy client that needs the service immediately.

So what’s the solution?

1) Plan Ahead. In the case of grooming appointments, when your pooch needs a bath, understand there could be a 2+ week waiting period. Be mentally prepared for this so mark your calendars two weeks prior to your pet needing the bath.

2) Use the company’s reminder system. Many companies will send postcards, emails or phone calls to remind you when your next appointment is due. Instead of ignoring this message because your pup doesn’t need a groom this second, book your appointment a few weeks out, just in case. In the event your pet still doesn’t need a groom, call back and reschedule. It’s best to be on the books and moved rather than off the books and unable to get in.

3) Be conscious that your service provider wants to work with you. Nobody wants to lose a client, especially due to a scheduling conflict, however, this happens frequently in service based jobs when a business cannot meet their clients needs at the drop of a hat. It is heartbreaking to have a regular client say, “I will have to go elsewhere” when they cannot get a timely appointment. It hurts the business, particularly the paychecks of the staff that works on your pet.

4) Book your next appointment before you leave. Even if you are not 100% sure of your schedule, book an appointment anyway. I stated it above and will state it again because it makes a “win-win” situation for both parties – being on the books is better than trying to squeeze in last minute.

5) Set up your appointments yearly. A year may seem like a long time especially when most of us don’t know what we are doing even next week, but setting up appointments for a year can help avoid not getting in at all. Set up a regular day and time to make it easier for you to remember. As with any appointments, you can always change them based on scheduling conflicts.

As technology evolves and our refrigerators tell the supermarket that you need milk and eggs and an order will be delivered to your house that afternoon, the service industry will not be able to adjust with the times. There is just no way a cleaning service can squeeze in an extra house or a groomer to squeeze in the extra dog at a moments notice. I can speak for many business owners – if we could find a way WE WOULD! We love servicing our clients and making it as convenient as possible for them, however, sometimes it is not possible. The best practice is planning ahead, being patient and working with the service on scheduling. As our daily lives get more hectic, scheduling the services we want, or need, in advance will only make everyone’s lives involved a little bit more enjoyable. Even our furry family members!

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