The holidays are here and to get your organization ready for the season, here are a few ways to make your customers happier this holiday season:
- Model relationship building
Relationships make the difference between just any experience and an experience that will be remembered. Show your employees how to move from meaningless transactions to meaningful interactions. Meaningful interactions can then turn into long-term relationships. Teach them by example how to welcome customers into your environment, how to read customers and adjust their approach appropriately, how to ask questions and share pertinent information, and how to be friendly and show genuine courtesy. Employees need to see it done in order to see what is expected, that is why they need leadership not commands.
- Be proactive
Surprise your customers by looking for ways to serve them before they have to think about asking for help. Empower your employees to proactively look for unique customer service opportunities. Even if it takes them off the specific tasks of their appointed roles, remember, the purpose of business, your business, is to help people achieve their goals, and to do that in a memorable way might mean doing things only indirectly related to your primary service. It’s okay for your employees to be off task as long as they are helping people and proactively delivering a memorable experience.
Listening carefully to what customers are asking can truly differentiate organizations from their competition. Customers need to know you care, especially during the holiday season when time for individual attention is at a premium. Begin by allowing employees to take the time to understand each individual customer’s needs and wants, and then respond accordingly with good information. Your business can set itself apart by being the one that takes the time to understand and to help people with information they can use to find just the things they need.
Things go wrong and customers get unhappy, it’s part of business. At these times, speed is critical, and this requires that people have the power to make decisions to find solutions in favor of the customer, even if it means bending a policy (as long as it doesn’t endanger anyone’s safety). This means employees must be equipped with tools to enable them to quickly resolve as many issues as possible on their own. Here are four things that are musts for smooth resolution:
- Listen to people and don’t interrupt. Repeat back key points to confirm your understanding.
- Empathize by stating that you understand how frustrating this is.
- Apologize that this is happening. This is not an admission of any guilt, just your wish that this was a better situation.
- Provide a solution. Even if it isn’t exactly what they asked for, provide something. If you can’t do exactly what they ask, don’t say “no,” say “here is what we can do.” Saying it this way cushions things and is a way to say what you cannot do without saying it.