Have you ever been to a restaurant that made you feel like you were special the moment you entered and like you were the only one the server had to serve for the day? Customer Service done exceptionally is the difference between a good experience and a great experience. It's also what can make or break a brand.
Leading brands like Trader Joes and the Ritz Carlton know that customer service lead to increasing their following, brand engagement and bottom line. So what are three things a company can do to make an immediate impact on how they serve their customers?
Ask for feedback. The voice of the customer is key to learning what's working well and what could improve. It highlights gaps in service, customer needs and what customers like most. Without those insights companies are truly just using darts on a dart board and hoping something works well. But - a company must listen to that feedback....ALL of it. Companies tend to ask questions that will lead to more positive answers. They may fear open ended questions and long answers and due to the time it takes to read them and their data collection efforts. Having 1-3 comment areas in a survey can be hugely beneficial for better and more complete feedback.
Put the data from the feedback to work. Once a company listens and assesses it's time to put what's learned into action. Changes could be small and simple or more complex. Sometimes hiring additional people in key roles will make a difference. Sometimes adding a product is the key. Sometimes the research gathered will lead a company to refresh how it approaches their work altogether. Regardless of the lessons learned, it does no good for a company to gather feedback and then sit on it.
Consider ways to surprise and delight the guests, shoppers, and/or brand fans. Once the feedback is gathered and put to work. What can be done to "take it up a notch?" Using incentives, special deals, thank you gifts and more at strategic times during the year can elevate the brand and delight the target market. Example: Simply sending a thank you card can make a great difference. Couples who use the hotel for their wedding should be on a mailing list and be provided a thank you card that year and perhaps a gift card to return for their 1 year anniversary. Why not send an anniversary card for each following year just to remind them how much you enjoyed being a part of their special day? The ideas are limitless and can be very creative and cost effective.
Like the restaurant that made you feel like you were special the moment you entered, customer service done exceptionally is the difference between a good experience and a great experience. It's what sets a company apart from its competition and makes it a sought after place for customers as well as potential employees. What will you do to help your company stand up and stand out in service?