How to enhance the client experience and learn to take care.
One of the things that makes coaching such an amazing way to make a living is the extent to which we seek to engage our clients in a professional, authentic and informed basis. Every day when I connect with other coaches and listen to them, as they share about their client experiences, I am amazed at the depth of authentic care, genuine compassion, and in-depth insight so many coaches display, day in and day out. We are truly honoured to be in a profession where people have taken their passion for helping others and empowering organizations to the next level, and they do this consistently.
One area that always needs to move in alignment with the theme of enhancing the client experience is customer service. If our knowledge or insight vastly exceeds our level of customer service, we will have a problem. A high level of knowledge creates an expectation of excellence in every way from our customers, and if we do not deliver, even down to the smallest details of the customer experience, we may lose a customer for good.
Creating an amazing customer experience is the lifeblood of any business. We can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as we want, but unless we can get some of those customers to come back, our business won’t grow and be profitable for long.
Creating an amazing customer experience is all about bringing customers back. And it’s about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about our business along to others, who may then try the products or services we offer for themselves. In turn, they become repeat customers. In the Internet age, this has never been more important. If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.
If you’re a good salesperson, you can sell anything to anyone once. But it will be your approach to creating an amazing customer experience that determines whether or not you’ll ever be able to sell that person anything else. The essence of good customer service is forming a relationship with customers – a relationship that that individual customer feels that she or he would like to pursue.
We have all been touched by businesses where we’ve had a great customer experience. These businesses have decided that, when it comes to customer service, their focus will be on Enhancing The Client Experience. So, from a customer service standpoint, here are a few thoughts around Enhancing The Client Experience…
Enhancing The Client Experience
1. Visualize & Imagine
Each day, before your begin your work, take a few moments to visualize the kind of customer experience you want to offer. Paint a picture of the type of quality customer experience you want the people who deal with you to enjoy. Do you want them to remember you as disinterested, lacking passion and engagement for your role? Or do you want our clients to see you at your best, caring and engaged and passionate about your work as a professional?
When I was working as a General Manager in a high volume retail store, once I had a chance to watch myself interacting with customers on CCTV, because I was with our Loss Prevention Team looking at possible shoplifting. As I saw myself interacting with the customers, I realized that though I was competent and professional, I was not offering them the level of customer service that I thought. I looked bored and in that moment, realized I needed to make a shift in my thinking and actions so that their customer experience would be memorable. I am suggesting that we do what Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart said: “The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.” Each day, visualize yourself delivering a legendary customer experience!
2. Connect & Engage
Connecting with your customer is absolutely crucial. In coaching, as in most service-based operations, our customers connect with us through 3 primary methods. They walk into our office, they phone us, and they use the internet through email or the website. It is critical that we excel at connecting and engaging with our customers at these 3 entry points. We don’t just want to be competent or as good as other coaches. Excellence is our goal! Tony Alessandra said it this way: “Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” Here are crucial keys when it comes to connecting and engaging our client:
[icon name=”key” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Get Off Your Chair and Reach Out | Body language speaks louder than words, and so when we stand up to greet our customers we are sending a warm and welcoming message.
[icon name=”key” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Answer Your Phone | Study after study has shown that effective businesses simply answer their phones quickly and cheerfully. When clients call us, they deserve a professional and prompt response.
[icon name=”key” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Reply To Email |Email is the primary method of communication for many of our clients. Respond quickly and use links to give information-rich replies. They will appreciate your care and depth.
3. Listen Well & Respond With Solutions
The art of listening sets coaching apart from many others. Rather than forcing a certain product or service on our clients, we take time to listen to their situation and respond accordingly. Responding with real-world solutions is crucial, considering many of our clients need results quickly.
In 1991 the United States Department of Labor Secretary’s Commission in Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identified five competencies and three foundation skills that are essential for those entering the workforce. Listening skills were among the foundation skills SCANS identified . In other words, some employees may struggle to be successful and productive because they lack the foundation skill of listening. It is a skill we can learn.
The following tips will help you listen well. Doing these things will also demonstrate to the customer that you are paying attention. While you may in fact be able to listen while looking down at the floor, doing so may imply that you are not interested. So, when listening:
- maintain eye contact and nod your head;
- don’t interrupt the speaker;
- lean toward the speaker;
- repeat instructions and ask appropriate questions when the speaker has finished.
- offer solutions and options appropriate to the expressed need or situation.
A good listener knows that being attentive to what the speaker doesn’t say is as important as being attentive to what he does say. Look for non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and posture to get the full gist of what the speaker is sharing. Listening well and responding with appropriate solutions is key to a great client experience.
4. Exceed & Surprise
Nelson Boswell said this: “Here is a simple but powerful rule – always give people more than what they expect to get.” This is so true! The art of exceeding expectations goes far beyond offering free coffee and a couch to sit on for waiting customers. It is caught up in the little things: remembering peoples’
names and small details about them and their work. Making the extra call.
Taking time to celebrate their progress. Here are a few suggestions:
- Build a customer database using Outlook;
- Use the “Activities” or “Details” tab in your Outlook Contact list. This can help you log important interactions with your clients, and important details;
- Consider sending your client a thank you card every so often;
- Invite customers to seminars and blogs that might stoke their areas of passion;
- Set up reminders in your Outlook calendar to help you follow up on your clients;
- Never lose “the care”.
One thing that I have always tried to keep in mind, as difficult as dealing with clients can be, is simply that if we don’t take care of our clients, someone else will. In today’s competitive economy, this is so true! No matter how solid our knowledge base, always grow the passion to serve clients. Creating an amazing client experience is our goal and our aim, every day. This will ensure you are well paid, and make a lot of friends along the way!