The best way I can describe ‘customer service’ is by using the word transaction. ‘Service’ is what we do, it is a product or the transaction to receive the product. According to dictionary.com an experience is:
“a particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing something: or the observing, encountering, or undergoing of things generally as they occur in the course of time.”
In other words, an experience is an interaction between a business and a customer that happens while the customer journeys through your business.
So, What is a Five-Star Experience?
A five-star experience is often noted as ‘luxurious’ or ‘expensive,’ maybe even unattainable to most organizations. In actuality, a five-star experience has nothing to do with cost or luxury at all. A five-star experience can be achieved in any organization regardless of the industry, but requires your people to be…well, nice people! It requires the use of emotional intelligence and very little investment, essentially turning the transactional service currently being provided into an interactional experience that customers will enjoy and remember.
Here are five tips to create a five-star experience!
1. Use a Friendly Tone of Voice
We’ve all heard the adage ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,’ right? This couldn’t be more important or true when it comes to the customer’s experience. How we verbally send a message will dictate how the customer receives the message. When interacting with customers, it is very important to watch the tone of your voice. This is especially important when conversing with a customer on the phone. They can’t see your expressions, but they can hear if you are smiling or not. Practice roleplaying with your team, give them a scenario, and focus on the tone of their voice.
2. Use Their Name
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” – Dale Carnage.
Using a customer’s name not only shows respect, but is the most important word you can use to create a connection with your customer. You’ll read a lot about using the customer’s name in articles written about how to provide a personalized experience. Often it is the hardest for employees to execute. Here’s the thing, the customer doesn’t expect you to somehow magically know their name. They do, however, expect you to use it as soon as you get it, and once you know it, use it often.
3. Show Genuine Interest
We make decisions out of the ‘feelings we have’ not the facts and figures that are presented to us. Humans crave connection and will stop doing business with you if 1. No one attempts to make a connection and 2. If a person is disingenuous when trying to make a connection. Customers want you to authentically engage and show interest in them. The 80/20 rule applies here. Let the customer talk 80% of the time because you have spent 20% of the time with them asking questions and showing genuine interest. Doing this will only set you up for success, as you will now be able to anticipate their needs.
4. Be Anticipatory
A customer doesn’t want to have to work hard to get their needs met when undergoing an experience. It is your job to anticipate the needs of your customers and know what they want or need before they tell you. Paying attention to what they say and remembering their preferences will help your team anticipate your customer’s needs.
5. Be Knowledgeable
Last, but not least, you must be the expert in what you do and the product you provide your customers. I’m not talking about knowing the bare minimum about your product or service, but to know more than what the customer knows about your product or service. When providing a five-star experience, you must know more than what is printed on marketing material, your website, or social channels. The customer has already looked at all those avenues and has decided to do business with you! When they walk through your doors and ask a question, they want to hear what they haven’t already read or heard about already. Becoming an expert and matching your knowledge to the needs of your customer will go a long way in establishing creditability and trust.
A five-star experience can be achieved in any organization regardless of the industry, but requires your people to be genuine, anticipatory, knowledgable, and friendly. Transforming your mind set (and that of your team) from customer ‘service’ to customer ‘experience’ will also aide in the execution of these insights, and take your customer experience to the next level.