Customer Service – Turning Your Customers Into Apostles
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney (The guy who turned his drawings of a mouse into a magical media empire)
My friend, as you travel around the “Wheel of Wealth” you will find that it works. In fact you will find it working so well that you will begin to feel uncomfortable with the huge amounts momentum being generated. I liken this feeling of uncontrolled growth to the feelings that those crazy race car drivers must have each year as they race around Colorado’s great Pike’s Peak. You will be filled with adrenaline as you race up the mountain, but you will also be aware that there are no guard rails and that one bad turn will kill you. Don’t FREAK OUT, but if you do I get it! In fact most entrepreneurs have had a mental break down or two and that’s because you have people in your race car with you. Your family and your employees depend upon your ability to win this race while not dying. However, if you are going to win this race, you must keep your eyes on the road. AGAIN, IT IS WORTH REPEATING. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD! What is this road? The road is customer service!
In every business your customers are the road. Your customers are the life blood of your business. Without your customers you have nowhere to go. In fact with your life blood you won’t have a life. Without them you are dead. So, wouldn’t it be a good idea to systematically wow them at every opportunity? The goal of great customer service should be to turn every client into a wowed client. Your goal should be to turn every happy customer into a wowed customer. Your goal should be to turn those bearded friends of yours into Apostles. My friend, Jesus had this whole customer service thing down. He washed their feet. He sacrificed his life for theirs. He did more than he asked them to do. You must always keep in mind that wealth creation is nothing more than an on-going value exchange with your client base. The more value you give them, the more they will be willing to pay you. So how will you enhance your customer’s experience? How do you add the most value to them? I will now show you how.
Rule #1: Think like Walt Disney.
Mr. Disney believed that you should treat your clients like celebrities and honored guests at your magical kingdom. Write down a list of ideas you have to treat existing clients like honored guests at your magical kingdom:
Rule #2: Make your kingdom smell magically marvelous and not like a porcelain palace.
Your place of business must smell good, not hood. The people who work for you must smell good. Your business has to smell good. The smell of cat pee is not going to work here. If you are working out of your house, you must make sure you and your business smell good. If your business smells like a city park bathroom, you are done. Ladies make the majority of purchases and they will not come back if your bathroom is sicker than “Swine Flu”! What are the action steps you will do to make sure that your business and your team smell magical everyday?
Rule #3: Treat every word your clients say as though it were a profound statement.
When your clients talk, listen. When your clients complain, ask them how you can do better, don’t justify. When your clients praise you, thank them. When your clients speak, hang on their every word. Love on your clients. Treat them like a fiancé treats his bride-to-be. Woo them. What are the action steps you will do to make sure you and your people are held accountable to treating your clients like lovers?
Rule #4: Over-Deliver to each and every client.
Give the clients more than they paid for every time and you won’t have to worry about advertising. Make it one of your company’s core marketing strategies to systematically exceed the expectations of every client. If you offered them 4 hours of service, give them 5. Find a way to exceed their expectations. When you exceed their expectations you activate the universal power found with the “Law of Reciprocity”. Without getting too deep here, the person you over-delivered for now has a sub-conscious responsibility to “pay you back”. They might not even realize that they feel this way, but people who have a soul (Non-Satan worshippers) will find themselves having a strong urge to refer you business once they discover that you did more than you promised. They may feel the urge to mail you a tip. They may feel the need to call in “just to thank you”.
Nearly zero companies ever over-deliver systematically, which is why we always remember the ones that do. We always remember Southwest Airlines, QuikTrip, Starbucks, UPS and the Disney. However, we struggle to remember the other companies. We always remember the barista (coffee server at Starbucks) named “Iesha” who took the time give our daughter a free birthday dessert. She didn’t have to do that, which is why we love it that she did.
How will your company systematically over-deliver to each and every client? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rule #5: Treat your best clients differently.
Aren’t we supposed to treat all clients the same? Only if you want to be poor. If you have a client that refers you and your business over and over again, you had better show this person special attention. If you have a client that uses your services over and over again, you had better celebrate this client. You had better call this client to personally thank them. You had better send a pizza to their place of business or a gift card to them during the holidays. Your top clients needed to be treated with a special attention that is over and above your normally incredibly high customer service standards. On a practical level, you don’t have the time or money to send every client a Christmas card, a gift card and a gift basket. However, you can always find time to go the EXTRA MILE beyond the EXTRA MILE for the clients that are exponentially growing your business. How are you going to go the extra mile, beyond the extra mile for your top clients? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Rule #6: Be an enemy of anyone who treats your customers badly.
If you are a human, you have probably found yourself rushing to someone’s defense at one time or another. If someone is harassing your wife, you probably had a strong desire to rearrange their face. If someone made fun of your baby sister, you probably had a strong sense of urgency about introducing their face to a metal pipe. My friend, if any one of your employees disrespects your customers, they are now an enemy of your state. Assume that they made an innocent mistake and dig into the issue, but if they are consistently making your clients wait, irritating your clients or otherwise ruining your relationships with clients, they must be dealt with swiftly.
Have the fortitude, the tenacity and the courage of your convictions to discipline and fire employees that don’t revere the profound importance of your relationships with your clients. However, if you have more than 50 people working for you like I do, it will be impossible for you to individually monitor everyone. Thus you must implement a merit-based pay system based around “mystery shoppers” or “client survey and satisfaction feedback.”
You must systematically take time out to ask your clients, “How are we doing?” The QuikTrip convenience store chain has mystery shoppers that go into each store on a regular basis. Bonuses and promotions hinge upon these anonymous reviews. These mystery shoppers could be coming in at any time and employees of QuikTrip never know who they are. Our businesses survey every client and ask them to rate their overall satisfaction with our sales and customer service team. Bonuses and promotions hinge upon this survey feedback. Essentially the message should be, “if you want to get promoted and make more money, start by wowing our clients!”
What are the action steps you will take to hold your team accountable to treating your clients like the incredibly important people they are?
What is the process you will create to deal with employees that upset your clients?
Setting up these systems early on in creation of your new business is absolutely essential to building a strong business upon which your company can grow and thrive. However you must remember that my team and your team, and anybody’s team of employees will never respect what you don’t inspect. The famous minister, Bishop Carlton Pearson taught me this little phrase that has served me well, “You must inspect what you expect.” At the end of the day you must make a daily checklist THAT IS INSPECTED BY MANAGEMENT for any operations that you want your team to actually implement. It’s frustrating I know, but I’m telling you from first-hand experience that leadership and sales expert Dale Carnegie was correct when once famously wrote, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity.”
All humans are motivated by the desire to avoid pain and the desire to obtain gains, so make sure you incorporate these management aspects into the creation of your customer service systems or they will just become ideals that your team never lives up to. To really hammer home this point, I will give you one example from one of the businesses coaching clients I worked with years ago.
At this particular business they prepared and served gourmet food. In fact everything about their website, their marketing materials, their music, their branding material, their packages, and the way they dealt with people was designed to justify their high-price point as a gourmet food provider. In fact this business had everything in place except for a daily checklist that was to be expected by management before a job could be considered to be done.
Like all businesses over time the owners vision and ideals digressed into suggestions to be implemented only when convenient. Within a few weeks, these suggestions were regarded by the staff as mere opinions. And soon the opinions became things that the employees simply grew comfortable with not doing at all. Paychecks continued to be written and the employees continued to be paid. Gradually the gourmet atmosphere had deteriorated into a “garage sale atmosphere.” The overhead music that they had invested so much time in creating was not longer being played. The staff uniforms were not longer being warn. And the daily cleaning checklist was not being implemented. This cycle of deterioration continued on and on until on until one of their customers actually discovered an old and dead cricket on the floor of the dining area. This customer was horrified. And this customer never came back. The owner was then forced to confront a series of issues all at once. These great systems that been created had now completely disappeared into the vast abyss known as the “Sea of Intentions.” The sales had begun to drop off dramatically. The owner had to ask himself, was it the food? Was it the location? Was it the sales team or was it simply a lack of INSPECTING WHAT HE WAS EXPECTING? Quickly things had to change and the owner had to get back to the basics or his business would fail. All of sudden the importance of creating and inspecting the daily checklists I had been talking about made sense. The owner had to take action immediately.
Driven by the fear of failure and the desire to succeed the owner began being pig-headed about inspecting these daily checklists. The owner made sure to communicate that the managers who have to inspect 100% of the daily checklists if they wanted to receive 100% of their paychecks. Things began to change. The company began to win again. My friend, this story is all to0 common. Don’t let this situation happen to you.
**For more information about how to initially setup a merit-based pay system read, the Harvard case studies and conclusions found within the book entitled, “Service Profit Chain” by James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser & Leonard A. Schlesinger. If you have more money than time, visit www.MakeYourLifeEpic.com or call us today at 918-851-6920 and we fly out to your place of business to efficiently build this system for you.
U.S. Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year
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