The Art of Creating the Exceptional Customer Experience

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Whether you’re an independent practitioner or a corporate communicator, one of the top priorities is always keeping the customers happy. How do you go about doing that? What are the best practices?

Whether you’re an independent practitioner or a corporate communicator, one of the top priorities is always keeping the customers happy. How do you go about doing that? What are the best practices?

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  • Let me clarify today’s topic. This isn’t about making customer service departments better. Or sales reps. This isn’t about spending loads of money to provide top notch products and services. This is about a merging of branding, sales, and product and then going the extra mile to provide the ultimate customer experience.We are going to discuss everything from the individual connection to the overall company in its relation to the customer.WARNING – I will be picking on companies! (without Risk, there is no reward)I want to mention LRM because it is going to be brought into the conversation throughout the day. Texas based, full service with almost 100 attorneys in offices in Dallas, Houston and Tyler We are ranked as the 29th largest law firm in Texas. We are The fastest growing law firm of the top 40 law firms in Texas We are one of the few firms that grew in revenue in 2009 Best Place to Work by Dallas Business Journal and the Houston Business Journal And we do IP/Copyright law.Poll: What type of marketing do you do: Those whose company provides products (retail, manufacturing, etc) Those whose company provides services (banks, law firms, trade associations, cleaning companies, etc) Other –
  • First to Market Effective Use of Technology --amazon.com (they don’t want their customers to work / iphone app)Strategically Located (amazon.com wouldn’t work as a storefront and an accounting firm wouldn’t open in Mineola, Texas)Quality Service Driven (Las Vegas Resorts – 50 pillows but they will buy the type you want if they don’t have it)Investing in Clients (rewards programs, building longterm relationships)The latter are the two we are going to be discussing today more than anything.Obviously you all know the negative effects of having bad customer service. Loss of clients Loss of referrals Increased complaints tie up customer support lines and operational staffExceeding Client Expectations results in loyal following customers willing to pay more little reason to take business elsewhere Refer your business to other peopleA Major Rule of Thumb - It is far cheaper to keep an existing customer happy than to covert a stranger into a customer.
  • Businesses in a wide range of industries that have succeeded in making the delivery of outstanding experiences a competitive advantage.OPEN FOR DISCUSSIONThink of Starbucks, Amazon.com, H-E-B Central Market, Hewlett Packard, Las Vegas resorts, or any smaller, local company that goes out of its way to delight its customers and make their lives easier and more pleasant. Las Vegas: Encore – Best Spa in Vegas Four Seasons – No casino (connected to the Meridian) but exudes luxury Bellagio – The fountainCustomers, in turn, go out of their way to recommend these businesses to friends and family.
  • QUESTION – This airline is a low-budget airline that differentiates itself with its culture of fun.
  • QUESTION – This airline is a low-budget airline that differentiates itself with its culture of fun. Started as a budget airlines (irony since it still doesn’t charge fees).While going lean, it went for something else, too: fun. Today, attendants might break into song or rap.They are fun.They have a great magazineThey have makeup for it when they screw upThey love their job"We consider ourselves a customer-service company that just happens to fly airplanes.“For instance, they send a letter of apology to every passenger on a significantly delayed flight. If warranted, they toss in coupons.Allowing two checked bags to "fly free," as a marketing campaign boasts, played a large role in Southwest's 1% gain in market share in 2009, King said. The value of that share: about $800 million.
  • QUESTION – This company has an urban myth that they once let someone return a set of tires, even though the department store doesn't sell tires.
  • QUESTION – This company has an urban myth that they once let someone return a set of tires, even though the department store doesn't sell tires.The story has circulated for years, sometimes in a tone mocking Nordie's famously generous return policy.This legend is true, according to the upscale retailer. In 1975, Nordstrom acquired Northern Commercial Alaska, a department store with an automotive department. When a customer later brought in faulty tires bought from the former occupant, a staff discussion ensued, and the store returned her money.But it is more than returns. They truly are experts at what they sell. Have you ever bought a pair of shoes there? Suit StoryReturn Policy – “Use Your Best Judgment”
  • QUESTION – This hotel chain uses the motto “we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” and are encouraged to ‘break away’ from whatever they might be doing to help serve a customer (for example escorting someone somewhere rather than give directions).
  • QUESTION – This hotel chain uses the motto “we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” and are encouraged to ‘break away’ from whatever they might be doing to help serve a customer (for example escorting someone somewhere rather than give directions). PASS OUT MOTTOIt means reinforcing these standards by discussion and example around a given daily topic at the ‘daily line-up’ that occurs at the beginning of every shift, for every team, everywhere in the world.  I have a friend who stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Philadelphia. The people who work there know he is a big Starbucks coffee drinker. When he arrived he found a basket of Starbucks goodies including a mug, Via instant coffee, a Starbucks card and expresso chocolate candy.
  • QUESTION: From the moment customers enter this store, you are allowed to put your hands all over the computer equipment and play as long as they like. A virtual army of t-shirted clerks is on hand not to sell but to help. At some stores, the dog can come inside, too.
  • QUESTION: From the moment customers enter this store, you are allowed to put your hands all over the computer equipment and play as long as they like. A virtual army of t-shirted clerks is on hand not to sell but to help. At some stores, the dog can come inside, too.Buyers leave with devices that are ready to be customized with individual applications. Apple assists with complementary telephone support and in-store lessons.Embodies the raving fan mentality. Didn’t do any advertising for the iPad. And its iPad is probably the hottest product of 2010.Apple's investment in service has paid off. Despite lagging retail throughout much of the economy, Apple experienced a 19.8% increase in same-store sales in 2009, according to Needham, an independent investment bank and consulting company.
  • QUESTION: This insurance and financial services giant has for many years stayed in the top 10 of almost any list that ranks top customer service companies. Hint – the cater to military families.
  • QUESTION: This insurance and financial services giant has for many years stayed in the top 10 of almost any list that ranks top customer service companies. Hint – the cater to military families.Started cross-training its call center reps in 2007. Some 60% of the agents who answer investment queries can now respond to insurance-related calls. Not only did such training curb call transfers between agents, which drive up the cost of running a call center, but it also improved productivity.Even with Hurricane Ike and the stock market's financial crisis prompting a flood of calls to USAA's contact centers last year, the cross-training meant the company didn't have to expand its call center staff. Existing reps are more empowered to deal with customers, even if they may also have to do more work.
  • QUESTION – In this fast food company, employees are strongly encouraged to say “My Pleasure” to their customers when the customer says thanks.
  • QUESTION – In this fast food company, employees are strongly encouraged to say “My Pleasure” to their customers when the customer says thanks. Good CultureClosed SundaysHas Raving FansFacebook advertisement where you could make a reservation to try a new sandwich.
  • Question: This downtown Fort Worth steak and seafood house is known for its extremely good staff and excellent food.
  • Question: This downtown Fort Worth steak and seafood house is known for its extremely good staff and excellent food. Grace Fort Worth. A friend of mine ate there and had a bottle of wine that was recommended by the sommelier.He loved the wine and asked if he could take the bottle so he would remember the wine.  She had a better idea. She somehow took the label and laminated it onto a card and gave it to us. It cost very little and likely took only a couple of minutes, but it was remarkable and memorable.
  • This Caribbean resort gives its profits back to its employees to encourage its employees to look for cost savings and to provide top-level quality service.
  • You would never guess this one:The CuisinArt Resort & Spa in Anguilla, which is in the Caribbean. My Favorite resortWhat does CuisinArt make? There resort has cooking classes, wine tastings. The entire resort’s food is made by a hydroponic farm that is onsite. The cherry tomatoes are like candy. The staff (unlike other Caribbean resorts) really care AND they have a vested interest in the resort because they receive a share of the profits.
  • Not going to get too into the bad.OPEN FOR DISCUSSION
  • These are all companies that have been blasted in the media for poor customer service. Note this is the ONLY slide that I removed my firm’s logo fromThe Dangers of bad Customer/Client Service:Lose clientsLose market shareSpend more to make up for the lost clientsNobody wants to work there. BECOMING A BUS COMPANY
  • Like American Airlines, United gets its share of bad stories. But I am picking on it today because it is a great example of how things can get “Ugly” if you don’t have at least decent customer service. In this story, David Carroll, lead singer with Canadian band called Sons of Maxwell took on United Airlines after they damaged his guitar when loading it onto the plane. The guitar cost about $3,500 and after a year of fighting with United, he made a music video about it and posted it on YouTube. It has since had over 8.5 million views since it was posted. The damage to United's brand was undeniable. The worst part for United is that the song is actually quite catchy.
  • You have to find creative, unexpected ways to anticipate, meet and exceed customer expectations and surpass the level of service provided by competitors. The trick is how to do it without costing a lot of money.
  • The Company CultureNot referring to benefits but rather the true culture of the company (No Jerks Policy). This is the hardest one to deal with and for many companies could be impossible. But it has the biggest payoff. But you have to have everyone (including top management) on board for it to work. You want an environment where jerks are not tolerated Where employees are given the power they need to do their job Where employees are respected Instill into the culture that the business exists to serve the client. Treat your employees with respect and chances are they will have a higher regard for customers. Treating customers and employees well is equally important. Marriott Southwest Airlines Looper Reed & McGrawCalifornia Dairy Campaign - “Great Cheese Comes From Happy Cows” Looper Reed & McGraw – “Great Legal Work Comes From Happy Attorneys”
  • Interview your customers to find out what was important to them and then create Customer Service Goals.This one is one of the most overlooked and under-utilized ways to improve the customer experience. And Law firms are absolutely horrible at doing it. Inside Counsel recently did a survey that graded law firms on client service. OPEN DISCUSSION - How do you think law firms grades themselves on client service with inside counsel ? 52% rated it an "A"25% rated it a "B"7% rated it a "C"Inside Counsel’s survey of General Counsels:21% gave their law firms an "A".70% gave them a "B".8% gave them a "C".1% gave them a "D".According to BTI Consulting Group , 75.3 percent of the corporate counsel does not recommend their primary law firms to other companies.  While they believe their law firms aren’t bad, they also believe they aren’t good.  As one corporate counsel put it, “law firms do just enough to enable us to barely tolerate the service levels.” These findings are consistent with other surveys. Primary reason for firing a law firm is lack of responsiveness.  Other reasons included: • Failure to control expenses and disbursements; • Mishandling one or more critically important matter; • Lack of desired legal results; and • Unreasonably high number of billable hours. The only thing of that pile that couldn’t be done through good customer relations management is the “Lack of Desired Legal Results”.Feedback is a biggie. Everyone thinks they are doing better than they really are and you won’t know unless you ask.
  • This is more for the service side. Communicate on meeting our budgets or the estimated time on the projectAvoid surprises. Don’t overpromise. Many people are happy as long as you tell them what is going on.When you get emails from customers, respondGive the customer a thorough understanding of the process (another biggie for law firms)Make it easy for the customer to shop (amazon)On Hold Queue (expensive for no on-hold queues)Return Policies (Nordstrom)Explain the ComplexHelp customers understand your systems. Your organization may have the world's best systems for getting things done, but if customers don't understand them, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain how your systems work otherwise your customer could have the wrong expectations of what you can deliver.
  • Identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel. Beware of making assumptions - thinking you intuitively know what the customer wants. If I regularly go to a Starbucks here,the people who work there remember my name, know what I usually order, know I am married to Katherine and that she is also a marketer, know that I am a A&M grad and know that I work with lawyers.How they know and remember all of that? They do what many of us do not do very well they ask good open ended questions, then they actually pay attention and listen. Ask Open Ended Questions – Listen!
  • Give Something BackThink of ways to elevate yourself above the competition. Consider the following: What can you give customers that they cannot get elsewhere? What can you do to follow-up and thank people even when they don't buy? What can you give customers that is totally unexpected? Amazon’s Free Shipping Our law firm will attend client strategy meetings for free or give free in-house workshops Blogs & Newsletters (Share tips and information) –LRM – Sends articles to clients. Rewards Programs – Internal (Rapid Rewards) and External (Rapid Rewards Dining) Send Thank You Notes Restaurants will give free food because they know they will make their money on the alcohol
  • Don’t be the sales guy that has to read the sign in order to tell the customer the benefits of the product.If you are sell sports vitamins, keep up on the health industry. If you are a lawyer representing the medical industry, you should not only know the law within that industry but you should keep up on industry trends within the medical industry.Read industry publications, blogs. Go to industry conferences. You want to talk the talk, and walk the walk.
  • The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are aware of problems or upcoming needs. Intuit’s Quicken is bad about listening to customer needs. No iPhoneap No decent Apple software No foreign currency option No envelop budgeting optionApple Always a step ahead in developing technology. ipod to iphone to ipad.
  • When something goes wrong, apologize. It's easy and customers like it. The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done. Make it simple for customers to complain. Value their complaints. As much as we dislike it, it gives us an opportunity to improve. EXAMPLE - My wife and I stayed at a Hilton once and the room was not made up when we returned from being out all day. We called and the person who answered was very rude and didn’t apologize.
  • Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards. Look for ways to make doing business with you easy. Always do what you say you are going to do. VISA Signature Chase Freedom Card Concierge ServiceTim Ferriss – Author of the Four Hour Work Week Giant Tub of Nacho Cheese Crossword Puzzle Daily Affirmations Space Travel Writing This Article
  • Don’t let loyal customers go dormant. Enroll them in rewards programsSend articles of interest to customersSend handwritten notes / Thank You LettersArchivepersonal details such as names of family members, key milestones, birthdays, etc. Calendar them so you remember to mention them (SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, HALLMARK). Send cards and personal notesTake them to lunch
  • Make sure that what you do to try to increase the customer experience doesn’t actually make it worse. BMW – Their valet and car rental service. Direct TV – Free upgrade to TIVO box but poorly installed.
  • You can’t be all things to all people. You can’t do all of this for everyone. Focus on niches. Focus on top clients. This will help you focus all your efforts on the customers that are most likely to become your “True Fans”
  • FINAL WORDS TO THINK ABOUT: Are you making your customers your friends?What are you doing that is remarkable and memorable and will cause your customersto remember you and recommend you?Do you create moments of magic for your customers?
  • Let me clarify today’s topic. This isn’t about making customer service departments better. Or sales reps. This isn’t about spending loads of money to provide top notch products and services. This is about a merging of branding, sales, and product and then going the extra mile to provide the ultimate customer experience.We are going to discuss everything from the individual connection to the overall company in its relation to the customer.WARNING – I will be picking on companies! (without Risk, there is no reward)I want to mention LRM because it is going to be brought into the conversation throughout the day. Texas based, full service with almost 100 attorneys in offices in Dallas, Houston and Tyler We are ranked as the 29th largest law firm in Texas. We are The fastest growing law firm of the top 40 law firms in Texas We are one of the few firms that grew in revenue in 2009 Best Place to Work by Dallas Business Journal and the Houston Business Journal And we do IP/Copyright law.Poll: What type of marketing do you do: Those whose company provides products (retail, manufacturing, etc) Those whose company provides services (banks, law firms, trade associations, cleaning companies, etc) Other –

Transcript

  • 1. The Art of Creating the
    Exceptional Customer Experience
    Michael Blachly
    Director of Client Development
    Looper Reed & McGraw
  • 2. How can a company become successful
  • 3. The
    Good
  • 4. The Good
    This airline is a low-budget airline that differentiates itself with its culture of fun.
  • 5. The Good
  • 6. The Good
    This company has an urban myth that they once let someone return a set of tires, even though the department store doesn't sell tires.
  • 7. The Good
  • 8. The Good
    This hotel chain uses the motto “we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” and are encouraged to ‘break away’ from whatever they might be doing to help serve a customer.
  • 9. The Good
  • 10. The Good
    From the moment you enter this store, you are allowed to put your hands all over the computer equipment and play as long as you like. A virtual army of t-shirted clerks is on hand not to sell but to help. At some stores, the dog can come inside, too.
  • 11. The Good
  • 12. The Good
    This insurance and financial services giant has for many years stayed in the top 10 of almost any list that ranks companies for their customer service.
  • 13. The Good
  • 14. The Good
    In this fast food company, employees are strongly encouraged to say “My Pleasure” to their customers when the customer says “thanks”.
  • 15. The Good
  • 16. The Good
    This downtown Fort Worth steak and seafood restaurant is known for its extremely good staff and excellent food.
  • 17.
  • 18. The Good
    This Caribbean resort gives its profits back to its employees to encourage its employees to look for cost savings and to provide top-level quality service.
  • 19. The Good
  • 20. The
    Bad
  • 21. The Bad
  • 22. The Ugly
  • 23. How do You
    become Exceptional?
  • 24. Build a Culture that honors the employee and the customer
  • 25. Get Regular Feedback
  • 26. Communicate, Explain
  • 27. Be A Good Listener
  • 28. Give More Than Expected
  • 29. Know Thy
    Product & Customer
  • 30. Anticipate Customer Needs
  • 31. Know How
    To Apologize
  • 32. Appreciate The Power of Yes
  • 33. Keep In
    Touch
  • 34. Watch Out For The Little Things
    (they sting)
  • 35. Narrow Your Market
  • 36. In Summary
    • Build a great company culture.
    • 37. Get regular feedback.
    • 38. Communicate and explain.
    • 39. Be a good listener.
    • 40. Give more than expected.
    • 41. Know thy product and customer.
    • 42. Anticipate customer needs.
    • 43. Know how to apologize.
    • 44. Appreciate the power of “Yes”.
    • 45. Keep in touch.
    • 46. Watch out for the little things.
    • 47. Narrow your market.
  • Thank You!
    Michael Blachly
    Director of Client Development
    Looper Reed & McGraw