Poor customer service is one of my greatest pet peeves. If you can’t appreciate your customer, why should you expect them to appreciate your business?
A few weeks ago I was having a working lunch at a restaurant in Nairobi. From the time I ordered my salad, until the time it arrived, 1.5 hours had passed!
It wasn’t the delay that disappointed me the most (although, let’s be honest, 1.5 hours for a salad is ridiculous!). It was the response of the server and manager of the restaurant that upset me the most.
In the process of trying to figure out what had happened with my order, not one person took responsibility for the situation. Instead, they passed the blame, covered up the truth to save face, and provided me with a negative customer experience.
When you go through such an experience you realise that not everyone knows how to appreciate customers. And when your customers feel unappreciated, eventually they’ll stop doing business with you.
customer experience vs customer service
Customer experience encompasses the end to end of a client’s dealing with your business. Think of it as the time from when they are a stranger to your business up until the moment when they finish working with you. This entire process is their experience.
How you manage your customer during this process is an element of their experience. Other elements of their experience may include things like processing documents, the navigability of your website, the ease of contacting and purchasing from you.
Customer service then becomes one component of the entire experience which answers the question of how you deal with your customer on a one to one basis.
elements of customer service
Prior to serving your customers, it’s important to ask yourself questions like: how do I make sure my customer is satisfied? Is it through ensuring they receive everything they need in a timely fashion? Or maybe it has to do with the quality of what they expect.
Sometimes though, customer service extends beyond this range, albeit slightly. In my business, customer service starts when potential customers make a booking for a consultation on Calendly. My administrative assistant then gets in touch with them prior to our meeting to remind them that it’s happening; she shares important details with them; and if for one reason or the other the meeting can’t happen, she reschedules with them.
After the consultation, I send them a follow up email and that’s also part of customer service. The communication before the consultation gives them all the logistic details and the communication after is to encourage them to start or continue working with me.
When these customers join my Simplicity program, I send them reminder emails, homework and enhancer sessions. At the end of the program, I gather feedback and testimonials to make sure they are satisfied with what they’ve learned.
Nonetheless, both customer experience and customer service are important in making your customer feel appreciated.
So you’ve understood the differences between customer service and customer experience. But you might be wondering how exactly you can appreciate your customers. I’ve round up three ways to that apply to all businesses.
1. be transparent.
Be honest about what’s going on. If there’s a delay or a problem, communicate with your customer by telling them the situation and providing a solution to make it better.
Transparency extends to sharing with your customer what they can expect from working with you. Before you do this it’s important to ask yourself how you want to show up for your customers. This will help you plan to create an experience for them and let them know the same.
2. have empathy.
Give a shit! Care about what your customers are going through and where they’re coming from. This can be applied to situations such as when a customer tells you they can’t afford to make a purchase immediately. You could let them know that you understand and you’ve been there. You could even provide suggestions on how to get through it.
This is part of nurturing relationships, and reminding potential clients that you are human.
3. have gratitude.
Say thank you. Genuinely appreciate your customers. This could be through a hand written note that’s placed in the packaging along with the product they’ve purchased. If you’re a service based business, you could spotlight your customer and their business.
Showing gratitude comes in unlimited forms. There’s creative ways to go about this depending on your business.
over to you
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