How Customer Service Impacts your Brand and Business
Now, when we talk about customer service impacting your brand in business, the first thing I want to address is people in the audience who might think to themselves "customer service, I don't do customer service." Right? Do you think you do customer service?
Everybody does customer service.
Thank you. Thank you for preaching the gospel. Yes, but there are people, there are those among us and I used to be one of these folks too, who used to think of customer service as being that line in the big box store. You get on queue to get customer service on a line and that's kind of missing the point, right? When we think of that sort of customer service it doesn't feel personal, it doesn't feel engaged, it doesn't feel like it's about me. It feels like a place to go get your problem solved and you probably have a problem, which makes you a complainer. Which makes you a dissatisfied customer and I don't think that's really true. Customer service is every moment that happens in your business...
or with your business that's gunna impact your guests. So it's really important to make that distinction. Customer interaction. So when your brand, when your business, interacts with your clients, it happens a number of times so let's talk about some of those times. When does customer interaction happen? What literally are those times when it happens?
As soon as you meet them.
As soon as you meet them. So when are we meeting people?
Every day. How do we meet them?
Over the phone.
In e-mails, over the phone.
And in person.
And in person, that's exactly right. So there's so many different ways that we are meeting our clients and it even is on your website. It's definitely with your products. So what I always boil it down to, customer service is about making an impact on another person and making their life better. Our job is constantly interacting with strangers and our job is to make them feel good about their choices. So when somebody walks into a business, if they don't feel good, they're likely to assess it, take a moment, and then potentially leave or depart, so we want to make sure that that doesn't happen. When I was coming out here, I live in New York, I'm currently in San Francisco and when I was coming out here I took a flight and sure, I'm on the airplane, I'm here to have a safe and enjoyable experience but I have to say the gods are looking down on me. They served me up the most incredible customer service experience and it started with my own stupidity. So I was sitting in my seat and I was looking at the monitor. I was expecting to watch some, you know, whatever tv show and I put in my headphones, my own headphones and the sound was garbled. It was totally, like, weird, digitized, it didn't sound like anything, it was going in and out, so when they started the beverage service, I said, you know, there's something wrong with my monitor. Can you guys reboot it or is there something you can do to make it a little bit better? And they're like, we really can't, like, maybe your monitor is not working. And I was like, ah, rats. So they said, okay, well, let's see if we can move you. Now, I was actually in a really good seat. So I had a seat, and then there was an empty seat and then there was a woman on the other side so I was like, I don't really want to give up this empty seat scenario so they came back and they're like we could move you, and I was like, uhh, you know, I don't really need to move because I've got this great seat and they're like, well, we want to move you back here. So I was in the second to last row, they move me to the last row, which had nobody in it. Alright, it doesn't recline crazy, alright, that's alright. So I sit down, they move my things over for me. I'm like, this is nice. I sit down, I plug in my earphones and again the sound is whackadoodoo. And I'm thinking uh oh, it's not their fault. It's my fault. Uh oh, now I'm that lady who's causing a problem and they came over and they said how is it? And I said I think it's my headphones. Without a beat, they gave me new headphones and I was like oh, well, that was sweet. I did not expect that. So immediately, they didn't treat me like the complaining lady, they treated me like somebody who needed some help. So they gave me earphones right away and then it became a parade of wonderful experiences. So they came over. What would you like to drink? And so, you know, I got some water. And they're like I think you need something else. So they brought me some wine. Then they said, you know, are you hungry? And I said oh, I think I'm alright. And then they said, well then you need dessert. They brought me ice cream. I'm in the last row in the airplane and now they're just being nice. They don't have to be nice to me, but they are being very nice to me. And then I engaged in conversation with the flight attendant and he started telling me about San Francisco and I've only been here one other time. He tells me how he always goes to China town. The dim sum's so amazing and I was like, oh my god, where do you go? Later on he writes it down for me. He writes the name of the dim sum place for me so now my customer service experience is just going way beyond my airline. It's going way beyond me sitting in a seat going from a to z. I actually kind of made friends with this guy. We exchanged numbers, you know, like next time you're in New York, next time you're in San Fran, let me know and I'll send you place to go. So my experience coming here was transformed, right? It wasn't just me in an airline seat. It was me being taken care of. It was me being considered. It was me being seen as a person, as a human being and that is the power of customer service. My choice was immediately 100% correct. My choice was right on and that's what this gentleman in his position as a flight attendant did for me. Now, flight attendants, they're not always given the best treatment, right? They have a very, very hard job and I felt like he elevated the whole experience for me and I've told the story a couple of times already because that's what customer service does. It allows you to tell a story about the brand that takes it from zero to 60. That's what he did. Now, what do you all have for customer service experiences? Have you had good experiences? Have you had bad experiences? Does anyone have a train wreck experience?
Before we get to that, I think I need to do a good job of being serviceable to our customers out there. I want to let you guys know, if you're watching at home right now that we want to hear from you, so you'll see a box below the video window. Let us know some of your customer service challenges and as we ask questions to our studio audience, we would love to hear from you. Post your answers there and I'm gunna try to read as many as possible, but thank you so much for tuning in and we're looking forward to hearing from you.
Any train wrecks in this room?
Kind of depends on the week, honestly.
Oh! (all laughing)
Sometimes there's some great experiences. Sometimes there's rough ones, but I think the, I guess the through line is that you talk about them. Whether they're good or bad and to me, you're telling this story about the airline. I want to know what airline you were on so I can go fly it. And yeah, so that's...
I can tell you what airline.
[Man In Brown Shirt] Yeah, so what was the airline?
Jet Blue. They were amazing. They were really incredible, and yeah, I mean, I hadn't flown Jet Blue in a long time but I'll tell you what, I'm gunna think about Jet Blue again and again and again. It was really fantastic. Yeah, talking about talking, right? American Express did a study a number of years ago where they really wanted to see how much do people talk about customer service and in that, uh, in that study that they did, they found out that people do talk a lot. So when people do have a good experience, how many people do you suppose they tell when they are talking about good customer service? A lot, like how many?
[Man In Brown Shirt] I dunno, 10, 20?
Ooo, 10, 20. I love 10, 20. It's not quite 10, 20, though, it's a little bit less so nine people. So they discovered that when something's good, we'll tell nine people. So, I've already told one, two, three people about Jet Blue in two days so I'm getting towards a number nine spot. So now when things are bad, how many people do we tell when things are not going well.
Everybody you know.
Everybody that you've never even met before, right?
Yah, and it happens that way. We're not tweeting it, we're posting it. It really grows viral, like, in incredible ways. So when things don't go well, we tell 16 people. So almost double. So nine when it's good, 16 when it's bad, so customer service could really impact your business. Now people that we've never even talked to before, right? The idea of it going viral and us posting things. That's where our business could really be hurt. The internet is a wonderful thing, it's a powerful thing, it can be a really challenging thing when it comes to the experience that you're giving. And so we need to make sure that we're able to provide an experience and control an experience that will ensure that our customers come back to us. So we have to be very careful cause customer service can really make an impression one people, both in the best way, and in ways that are not so intended. Now when you build a business about customer service you generally going to demonstrate care and you're making a brand promise. When you build your business and your brand around customer service, you're now making a promise and the promise is that you're going to make things better for them. You wanna make their experience the best it can be. So here's the thing. You now have to build a business around customer service and this is where I see a lot of businesses starting to forget. They seem to think that customer service is something you can patch on at the end. That it's sort of a cut and paste that, oh yah, we'll get to that. That's the easy part. It is and it isn't. Now, when you hire your folks, hopefully they have some customer service experience. That's what we want. But what kind of customer service were they bringing their clients at their last position? In their last business? It's really important that we make sure that your message is on brand, that they're representing you and your company the best they can be. So we really need to make sure that that message is made clear for anybody who's going to be working for you, or for you, if you're representing the client. That needs to be made abundantly clear. Now, you're more likely to keep and develop regular customers. Is anybody here had regular customers in some sort of business that they've run or operated?
Yes. Yes, so how does that work when you have regular customers? What happens?
I had a carpet cleaning business for a number of years and the thing that was interesting about that is that some of the people that you had to work the hardest for are the ones that bring you so many more customers just because of the experience.
And I remember one time I realized I spent so much time on a job, it worked out that I was making like $10 an hour but that person, within days, had sent me seven more customers.
So it's like you said. People tell people when they had good experiences and bad experiences.
That's right. Wow, that's amazing. So those folks really made you pull out the extra stops but at the end of the day, they helped you really increase the number of folks coming to you.
That's amazing, I love that. Great. Yeah, in working in restaurants as I did for so long, we always had regular guests, regular, in restaurants we call them guests. You'll hear me say guests from time to time. But you have regular clients and the beauty of having regular clients, there's the beauty for the actual client whose coming in because they get to know you and they get to know how thing's work and they feel at home and then it's a wonderful thing when you get to work for a place that has regular clients. It actually keeps you engaged. It keeps you excited about the brand. You get to do your schtick a couple of times again and again with this person that already knows you. So regular guests are really, really important to our business. In fact, there are studies been done about the Pareto principle, saying that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients so when we think about that, we need to really throw some love to 20% of those people and in your case you're exactly right. It's even almost a little bit more, right? One person gave you 70, or 700 times the amount of business which is kind of insane with seven people. So when we have that 20% of clients that we know and love and can really embrace, they're gunna bring us more and more and more business. Not only through themselves, but through the people that they reach and that's where we want to always make that impression because they're gunna really make an impact on your business every single day. Now, we want to make sure that we're making people happy because their happiness is gunna exude to others and so it's really about happiness and we're gunna talk about things like satisfaction, we're gunna talk about perfection in this course and in the following courses so it's important that we know how to make them happy so that we can keep them coming back again and again. And something that I've learned over the years, is that service is the engine of sales. Service alone doesn't do the job. And sales alone is not that important. We really need the service and the sales to go together. Now, when we talk about, let's say, hospitality or the idea about kindness, friendliness. If we have a business that's all about the service and all about the hospitality and they forget about some of the other things. They forget about the actions of service. We're gunna have a very loving, friendly, nice place where nobody knows what they're doing, alright? When we have people that are only focused on sales, when we have people that are only focused on the bottom line, we might have a place that gets stuff done but we're gunna miss out on all that niceness and all that warmth, so we need to make sure that have a balance because service is really going to help your business make money by really grabbing clients and bringing them in. Does anybody have an experience of having a positive experience at a business? Anybody in this room?
Well, I have an online comment I want to read from, from Krista Clark, who says "I've always found that listening well and making sure that my customers felt heard has been so important." And then she also says "I'm curious to know, and we may get to this later in the class, but I'm curious to know how you feel about the phrase: the customer is always right?"
Oo, I love that question. Thanks, Krista. So, listening, I'm glad you brought that up. Listening is gunna be a theme we're gunna be talking about in this course and others, for sure, and the customer is always right and I feel like that's true and I have people that when I say that they're like "seriously Kate? Don't tell me that." Now, there will be the occasional client that is out of bounds. There will be the occasional client that pushes, pushes, pushes, pushes but in general, when you think about right, right? Being right is not the point. Being right is not the name of the game in customer service. We're not trying to win a game, we're trying to satisfy our customers. So when we think about satisfaction and making people happy, that's going to be a very different thing than being right. So I think that making things right for another person is really important and in one of the later classes I'm gunna talk about the idea of satisfaction verses perfection and when we think about satisfying our guests and making them really, truly making them happy, it's a very different thing than saying this thing needs to be perfect. So we'll talk a little more about that and yes I do agree with you that the customer is always right. It's about us getting their right right, if that makes sense. Does that make sense? Okay, good. Great, I love that question. Good. Perception. The customer's perception is your reality. Any thoughts on this? Does that seem to be true, false, whacky?
Absolutely. We react to our perception whether it's reality or not.
Right. Well exactly right cause of course, tell me more about the idea of that. What does that mean to you?
Well, I had said for many years that perception is reality because however you perceive things to be determines how you're gunna react to that thing.
And you may be totally wrong, but it still the reaction that you're gunna have.
That's right. So when our customers perceive us as rushing them off the phone, then we're gunna be someone who doesn't care, right? When our customers perceive us as being very concerned about ourselves or think our product is the best and what you say doesn't matter, then we're gunna be perceived as being, like, a little snobby or upscale, right? So we have to be careful of those things. Now, we can't control perception perse, but we have to be aware of what our brand is doing. We have to be aware of what our brand is saying and we're gunna continue to talk about this through the rest of the classes.