Lately, I've been writing about the importance of building relationships and going above and beyond in your customer service with your clients. The first rule of creating word-of-mouth is to give people something to talk about. By giving your customers something positive to talk about they are more inclined to talk about you on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and other social networks.
In fact, building relationships with your customer is so important that it's more important that being able to track the ROI of it. I've written extensively on the topic and the responses have been more than overwhelming and I've been deeply honored with the outpouring I've received surrounding both:
A couple questions stood out to me, questions that were asked more than a few times, they were:
- How do you get your boss to forget about ROI and just jump headfirst into ROE?
- How do you massively implement a corporate wide ROE strategy?
While both of those questions are great, I feel that each one deserves its own post, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. In this post I am going to answer number 2 above, how do you massively implement a corporate wide ROE strategy? In my next post I will answer the 1st (backwards I know, but that's how I roll!).
Get Your Thinking Straight
First things first, you must have your head screwed on straight. By your head I don't just mean the head sitting on YOUR shoulders, but the collective being, or thought processes, of the entire business. You do that by having conversations. Not just a talk here and there but actual, in-depth, back and forth conversations with your people. Everybody must be on the same page, with the same idea that giving your customers the best experience possible is the best possible return on investment you could ever make (even if it's not easily tracked). These conversations must be ongoing; daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, every decade, each century... you get the idea.
I'm not sure where you're at within the organizational structure of your business, you could be the owner, general manager, line manager, salesperson, marketing executive, whatever, but I want you to really pay attention to what I'm about to tell you next, it could make a HUGE difference in your bottom line. The single most important people to your business are your employees. Nope, it's not your customers, it's your employees.
Why do I say that? Because an unhappy employee leads to an unhappy customer. So, let your employees (the people that work with the customers) handle the enchantment of the customer, and you concentrate on the enchanting your employees.
This is the single most important step in creating a customer enchantment process, it's vital to its success. Think of the thought process of the business as the foundation of success, without it, everything built on it will eventually crumble and fall.
Setting The Guidelines
Once everybody is on the same page it's time to set a few guidelines. The #1 guideline should always be: give the customer MORE than they expect. That's the real secret. It's powerful in its simplicity and should be what everybody should strive for, 100% of the time. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's the difference between what's expected and the actual level of customer service received that will influence word-of-mouth. Of course, if you fail to meet those expectations...
Talk to your staff about specific things that can be done or said. You would be surprised what a heartfelt, "Thank you for your business, I really do appreciate it Mr. Johnson," can do. Notice I said I and not we, we sounds as if it's rehearsed, using the word I implies that it's coming from the person saying it.
Teach your staff to listen for ways that they would be able to enchant, for ways to do things that go so far beyond what the customer expects that they feel compelled to tell others about your business. In the post I mentioned above, Forget About ROI, What About ROE, I bring up the idea of an enchantment budget. That is, a set amount of money that each employee can spend on customers each month. It doesn't have to be a lot and if it's not spend wisely can be taken away.
Once a week there should be a meeting discussing outstanding customer service. Each employee can talk about specific instances from the week before and share it with everybody else. This is a good way to bring up ideas and keep customer enchantment in the forefront of your employees mind.
Recognize Outstanding Customer Service
Positive reinforcement is more powerful than negative reinforcement. Take the time to recognize, openly, when one of your employee provides exceptional customer service. Also, empower your employees to recognize when they see one of their co-workers doing something amazing, after all, you can't be omnipresent!
More Referrals, More Repeat Business
Can you use more referrals? Can you stand to have a higher percentage of return customers? Rhetorical I know, but can you? Of course you can! Implement a process today that shows that you care about your customers business, that shows them that you will do what it takes to influence their loyalty. Stop with the lip service. Stop putting you mission statement on the wall for everybody to see, it means nothing if your aren't doing it on a daily basis. Sure, a powerful mission statement makes YOU feel good, but it won't make your customers feel a thing, after all, actions speak louder than words.