by Blaine Liberatore
There’s no doubt anyone reading this has had a customer experience recently. Most likely as recently as earlier today, in fact. Whether you were the customer, or the professional providing the experience, the ‘customer service’ game has undoubtedly changed.
I’ve been up front and center for this change; for eleven glorious years I’ve seen change. Change in people, change in employees, change everywhere. The biggest change I’ve been privy to witness is how technology has changed our culture. Technology has forever changed us. Anything you need is essentially available at your fingertips. Need information? Use a search engine. Want to quickly communicate with someone? Text them. Heck, need toilet paper? Go online and buy some (oh yes, it’ll be delivered to your door step).
With the maturity and use of technology has come a change in customers, though. Shorter attention spans and a desire for immediate results are two areas where I’ve seen a notable change in customers. And it doesn’t have to be a bad thing! There are four simple building blocks that will make any customer experience a good one, regardless if it’s that younger millennial, or someone who’s built in an old school fashion:
1) ALWAYS greet your customer with a smile. Whether someone is looking at their phone, or inserting a new, fresh CD, they’ll be enlightened by your smile.
2) Find a common ground and focus the conversation on them. A basketball in the back of the car. A picture of their animal on their debit/credit card. Their favorite sports team’s logo they’re sporting. Pick something they have an interest in that you know a little about, and roll with it! If it’s something you don’t know about, ask them! They’ll be happy to enlighten you, and you’ll learn something new!
3) Never, ever let them leave without a smile on THEIR face. The interaction started with a smile on your face, and should end with a smile on theirs! A return visit will be more likely if they enjoyed their interaction at your business, and nothing signifies enjoyment more than a simple smile.
4) When and if there is a problem, show compassion! It’s difficult to voice frustration for a lot of people. Don’t alienate them or make them feel wrong (if you argue and win, they won’t come back…and you end up losing). Fall on your sword and take blame, even if it wasn’t necessarily your fault. And give a lot, to get a little! One ‘wrong’ that’s fixed will be met with plenty of ‘rights’ down the road.
Bottom line is take care of your customers. They sign the paychecks your company sends out! Go above and beyond, and whether it’s someone who’s been around the block a bunch, or someone staring at their cell phone…they’ll end up happy!
About the Author
Blaine Liberatore is a regional manager for Dutch Brothers Coffee and a high school basketball coach.