This picture was taken exploring English countryside while on holiday as the Brits would say. They are called kissing gates because up to two people can fit tightly into the crook and go through the gate and into the pasture. It allows travel without letting animals out. It is a centuries old technique but is so exquisitely functional. It uses a very fundamental concept to allow simplicity, safety, and at low cost. No barbed wire, no electric fence, no special gate opening technology. When delivering #customerservice, #customerexperience, businesses large to small should focus first on basics, get them into high performance before moving into advanced methods of customer quality delivery.
What are some of the fundamentals? Here are four:
- Listen to the needs and wants during a complaint situation or during a transaction. Yes, customer service is going on during the sale as well as when things go bad. The issue at hand may not be what is spoken especially at first but by listening and eliciting basic questions, the customer will usually explain the want and need. Sometimes, some extra interpretation is needed because they may not be totally outspoken but you may have enough to best understand. If you fail at this aspect to identify a proper solution or need, expect to be doing a post mortem on why the customer or the sale was lost.
- Seek feedback. Customer contact during and after the completion of the sale should be a requirement. Like to say “do you have any questions, is there something that I can explain better and thank you.” Customers can and will become the greatest ad campaign, the greatest product/service champions, and the greatest defenders.
- Under-promise, Over-deliver. Live by this and customer expectations have high percentage of accomplishment. There is always the tendency to express expectations for great results when we all have expertise and passions. The reality is that things happen, and not everything we do is in our control. We also want the business and want so much to convince customers of our advantages. Remember we are customers. We do want performance but we also want an expectation that what is described to us will happen. That is where trust comes in.
- Develop the employees to be the masters of the customer experience mechanism. @annettefranz is the ruler of this idea and it is a good one. Hire and train people who will practice and execute the fundamentals. Encourage team development because invariably, different members interact with different customers. The better the teams, customer experience and service will exponentially perform. #annettefranz consistently tweets and blogs about both aspects and while companies are using teams for better productivity, they deliver more effective customer results.
The concept is really not much different than…hate to use the overused analogy, #football. When the big teams get upset and this happens regularly, what does the honest losing coach usually say, “they were better today than us at blocking and tackling.” A team like Alabama, who has pro style players, plays, defenses but then they got beat in the last minute by Auburn. They didn’t lose because of one play. Auburn was just that much better in that game in the fundamentals.
When the basic concepts are mastered, companies expand into dynamic customer service programs with budgets, experts, programs, and campaigns. When and it will be when after the efforts being taken are getting diminishing results or even negative feedback increases, look immediately to the basics as the issues.