It’s been progressively more frustrating witnessing the lack of customer service in North America. What’s going on? Is customer satisfaction no longer a factor in building customer loyalty? Are customers important at all? Or is it all about the bottom line … as long as customers continue to buy your service(s) & product(s) it doesn’t matter what they think?
The interesting fact is customer satisfaction directly impacts your bottom line. Perhaps not right away and not when the economy is booming, or if you don’t have any direct competition. However, sooner or later your customers will recognize that you don’t care about them and in turn they will stop caring about you.
So why do some businesses get it and offer fantastic customer service and why do many businesses not? After many bad experiences and complaining, I decided to find out …
I’d like to introduce you to Nelson and part of his fabulous team. Nelson Cossio is the General Manager of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the 4S Ranch Commons Plaza in San Diego. Every morning, following a power-walk with my pups, I like to stop in for a coffee at Nelson’s Coffee Bean location. I am always greeted with a warm welcome and smiles from the team. It doesn’t matter how busy they are at the time or which team members are working that day. And this is not just unique to me or to other already loyal customers. Everyone who comes in is warmly welcomed. It doesn’t stop there … the team doesn’t hesitate to ask you how your day is going? Or have you tried one of their new flavors? Or would you like to add a pastry treat to your drink? Also, the experience ends with a “thank you and have a great day”… every time!
Wow!! What a wonderful, good feeling experience just by getting a cup of coffee! So after several months, I asked Nelson what the secret is behind his team’s consistently awesome customer service. The following tips are based on Nelson’s reply:
- Lead by example – Customer service begins with the leadership. When supervisors embrace nurturing the customer experience with excellent service, the team will follow.
- Team synergy – Create a dynamic team that works well together, feeds off each other’s motivation and has fun working together.
- Encouragement & Acknowledgement – Corporate customer service initiatives are great motivators; however, without acknowledgement (verbal “pats on the back”, awards, promotions, bonuses, etc.) the motivation quickly dies.
- The customer service professional – Hire the right personality with great people skills and inner desire to help others. Just like other careers require the proper combination of attributes, so does the customer service professional.
- Sales vs. Service mindset – Encourage your team to focus on helping their clients make a buying decision instead of focusing on selling them a product or service.
- Believe in your product or service – Love what you do and it’s easy to want to share that love with your customers. If you don’t like the product or service you are selling then you are continuously climbing an uphill battle; more importantly, your customers will notice.
I decided to continue my little research project by asking other front line sales professionals what motivates them to provide great customer service. They all supported Nelson’s feedback.
Do you think anyone can learn to be an exceptional customer service professional? I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and stories of experiences with customer service.
Thank you Nelson & team! While working in Toronto recently, I reeeeeeeeeeeally miss my morning coffee at your Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!!
If your business is being negatively affected by a lack of customer service skills, perhaps it’s time to reach out for support. I would be delighted to work with you and your team, exploring techniques and strategies to help you regain customer satisfaction and establish long-term customer loyalty. Please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your complimentary coaching session.