In a perfect world, our customers would always be happy. They would always share their positive experiences with friends and family. They would only buy from us. But we know that that’s not always a reality.
In his book, High Tech, High Touch Customer Service, Micah Solomon talks about using social media to provide stellar customer experience. He also outlines the profile of a “masterful company,” those that go above and beyond in the area of customer service.
Using a few of his 12 characteristics of a masterful company, I want to show you how you can become one.
Make Customers Feel Welcome…Before They Arrive
It’s one thing for your staff to greet customers when they walk in your door, but what are they doing to welcome them before that? Your website, social media channels, blogs, telephone and email all provide you with opportunity to connect with future customers and make them feel welcome before they ever step foot in your store.
Remove Barriers that Might Mar a Customer’s Experience
If you have a physical store, this means making sure you’re in an easily accessible location, that it’s easy to find parking and that people don’t have to hunt to find you. If you’re based online, that means having a simple-to-navigate website and minimizing the steps to complete a sale.
Anything that might make a customer abandon his shopping cart (physical or virtual) should be removed.
Your Employees Should Show Genuine Interest in Customers
This can be a challenge when you’re hiring disgruntled teens at minimum wage, but having a staff that honestly loves working at your company is key to drawing in customers. People can tell when employees don’t like where they work, and it affects their experience.
Create Processes to Anticipate Your Customers’ Needs and Desires
This requires thinking like a customer and determining what they really want and need. Then creating processes around those needs.You can do this by empowering all of your staff to observe customers and take the necessary steps to amending negative situations.
If those occur again, you have a process in place to make the customer happier faster.
Know that Each Customer has Unique Needs
While your customers may share certain characteristics (just take a look at your demographics), it’s important to keep in mind that no two are alike. While you may be tired of giving the same speech about your current sale every time a customer walks in the door, realize that this is the first time this customer has heard it.
So say it with renewed vigor every time.
Make “Something Extra” Standard
I always say that setting expectations lower gives you the opportunity to surprise and delight a customer when you over deliver. Solomon says that giving a little something extra should be a part of your customer service culture.
That little additional boost may be all that separates you from your competition – and customers know that.
Never Stop Improving Customer Service
Even if you’re known for having stellar customer service, you can never, ever rest on your laurels and decide there’s no room for improvement. A masterful company continues to innovate how it addresses customer service solutions (i.e. adding Twitter support).
If you continue to strive to be better – you’ll be a masterful company too!
Florist Greeting Photo via Shutterstock
Susan: Does Micah Solomon mention examples of masterful companies in his book?
Too many to count!
Susan: OK! Any company you want to mention?
Great post Susan
Hey everyone, if you’d like to check out my book yourself (find those examples you’re looking for, etc.), here are two free chapters as my holiday gift: http://www.micahsolomon.com/books.html
And the entire book is available in paper or electronically, on sale right now both at Amazon
Micah Solomon: Thanks for reaching out to the readers of Small Business Trends! I have now downloaded a chapter from your latest book! I will put the book on my reading list for 2013.
Having a good content and social media strategy really helps with creating processes that anticipate customer needs and desires. In a rush to “get social” some businesses focus on building a following, traffic, and sales. However, we teach that the hidden gem in social media is the ability to listen to your audience to develop processes, products, and services that you can’t lose with.
One of the greatest things is the amazing power of word of mouth for small businesses. Return business begats other return business and creates a name for your company. This is especially true for smaller communities.