If you want to increase your sales – you need to make sure you give your customers a great experience.
This is more than just good customer service – it means delivering great customer experiences throughout the whole customer journey; website design, product design, marketing, finance, operations, HR, procedures, and policies. You name it and it should be linked to delivering a wow customer experience.
And part of that wow is about making it easy for customers to do business with you.
It’s has been scientifically proven, by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, that the brain hates clutter. The brain also hates complexity – so make buying from you simple. Not only will people do business with you but they’ll also recommend their family and friends to you.
An example of this is Radisson Blu Hotels. Their ‘Yes I Can!’ policy for the staff ensures that all front line staff are given the autonomy to give a 100% positive experience to their guests:
‘Yes I Can! is our special service philosophy that sets us apart from the competition. Being hospitable is all about giving guests your undivided attention and when guests stay at a Radisson Blu hotel; the hotel manager, the waiter, the receptionist, the porter - everyone plays a vital role in delivering a memorable guest experience…Our staff will do everything to ensure that you leave our hotel happy…To keep you coming back time and again, we strive to provide an exceptional service level at all times. This is our promise to you… or your money back.’
Make a point of putting in place policies and procedures that help your employees to deliver great customer experience.
For example, by using an online invoicing/book keeping system and giving the relevant people access to certain areas of the system, they can easily see if an invoice has been paid. So if a customer calls, your staff can access the necessary information, feedback to the customer, and re-send the invoice if necessary.
So when somebody says ‘I didn’t receive the invoice!’ your staff can help the customer over the phone and say ‘hold on, let me re-send that to you. You should receive that in the next 30 seconds and I’ll stay on the line to ensure you do get it.” This improves the experience for the customer because you are waiting for them to see if they’ve received it – and taking the necessary action if they don’t. It also works well for the company using the system as it saves time, and makes it easier for the staff to complete their work.
Employee empowerment and autonomy is vital if you want to ensure customer experiences are delivered at a high level.
Many businesses do not think about their policies and procedures impact on the customer, and never take the time to check if there is anything that is causing a negative experience.
If you want to increase sales then it’s important to make sure that your customers’ journey is as effortless as possible. So this means that you must empower your employees to be able to deliver the service needed.
Through my experiences working with many multi-nationals and large corporations, I can say that roughly 90% of employees feel that the business policies and procedures they work with do not encourage or simplify the delivery of exceptional customer experiences, and almost all of them say they are frustrated by this.
An example is the airline industry. It’s widely known within the industry that they have the right to overbook flights i.e. sell more seats than they actually have available on the plane. If everyone who has booked a seat shows up for the flight they then have to re-direct the ‘excess’ to a later flight. What do you think the experience is for a) the customer and b) the airline staff? Not nice: you have angry passengers who have confirmed and checked-in to their flight but can’t board, and you have front-line staff who had no influence on the policy to overbook the flight, but who, nevertheless, are left dealing with the fall-out. What is the employee meant to do? This is an example of a policy that affects the employees and they probably wish that they could get rid of.
Your employees are your most valuable asset; they can help you grow your business by giving customers a great experience that leads to referrals and recommendations, and they often have firsthand experience in dealing with customer enquiries, so they know what works and what doesn’t, and where there are ‘problems’ that can negatively impact upon their ability to deliver great customer care.
So take a look at your policies and procedures – do they help or hinder the customer experience? Ask you employees for their feedback. Actively encourage front-line staff to tell you about their own experiences of dealing with customers and ask them how it can be improved. And most of all, give them autonomy to make the decisions needed to deliver a positively memorable customer experience.
By Dominic Kitchin, Business Growth Expert and Author of The Science of Buying