To keep external customers happy, you must make sure your employees know that you care about doing what’s right by them, day after day after day. Your employees will in turn care about doing what’s right by the customer. There are lots of lessons and processes in the pages that follow, but they all proceed from the first principle of doing the right thing by your internal and external customers. You have to care about that first. Amaze your employees, and they’ll spread the amazement!
After we do the right thing, we can classify what we have done as customer service or marketing or sales or employee relations or whatever. In the moment, though, as my parents would surely agree, it’s just what you should do. And if you do it consistently, you amaze people.
Strategy #1: Provide Membership
To implement this Amazement Strategy, try these ideas:
Launch your very first interaction with the customer with personal recognition and then add value.
Give customers a special “membership track” to join so they can get even more value from the organization.
Help your customers send a message to the rest of the world about their values, standards, experience, status, or ethics
Give customers a sense of belonging.
Make access to resources, people, experience, ideas, and tools a benefit of doing business with you.
Treating your customers like members doesn’t mean you have to call them members. It’s about creating value, similar to what some might call a “member benefit.” Creating that sense of membership is a powerful strategy to deliver amazing service and establish customer loyalty.
Strategy #2: Have Serious FUN
Engage your employees in the same way you want them to engage your customers.
Use regularly scheduled all-team meetings to energize everyone, connect with everyone, and reinforce your organization’s service vision.
Consider giving your most creative people the opportunity to spend at least part of their time on self-directed projects that will also create value for the customer, as Google does.
Listen to what your employees are saying about work/life balance.
Send employees thank-you notes to celebrate examples of superior service.
Win intense loyalty from your customers by first earning intense loyalty from your employees.
Your employees come first—because they are the key to generating your customers! If employees are not operating within the cult of amazement, they won’t amaze your customers. On the other hand, if your employees are themselves amazed, they will make it their business to amaze your customers.
Strategy #3: Cultivate Partnership
Make the customer’s problem your problem.
Look for ways to connect with your customer on a personal level.
Use your organization’s personality to deliver a consistent, predicable experience of above-average service.
Look for opportunities to give a little more than the customer expects.
Be on time, every time, without exception.
Use knowledge and your own network of expert advisors to create credibility and confidence.
Align the team on your organization’s brand promise.
That means your employees understand it better then your customers do. Your employees must live it, breathe it, and deliver it.
If the customer relies upon you and only you, has confidence in you, and expects that any problems that arise will be resolved successfully, you have entered the realm of partnership.
Strategy #4: Hire Right
Audition for attitude first
Turn your company’s most passionate evangelists into salespeople.
Ask job applicants to define customer service.
Create and support an internal employee referral program.
Turn your best customers into your best employees.
Incorporate an observation period into your interview process.
Consider applying the after-experience principle to your recruitment and hiring campaign by giving new hires some type of gift.
Strategy #5: Create a Memorable After-Experience
Send a truly personal and thoughtful gift.
Send a personal thank-you note.
Use a customer’s important personal dates.
to create an after-experience.
Make thoughtful, well-chosen, and unexpected contact during slow times or in the off-season.
Incorporate an effective promotion into an after-experience.
Schedule a post-purchase meeting that delivers a value-added benefit.
Use follow-up calls to let your customers know they’re appreciated and find out how you’re doing.
Create after-experiences that are unexpected, appreciated, and memorable.
Strategy #6: Build Community
Enlist your most engaged customers to supply you with good.
Use your brand to make an ethical statement about something that is genuinely important to you, your organization, and at least a portion of your customers.
Build your brand promise around a single cause that defines your target market.
Simplify your product or service line to focus only on what your community of evangelists wants and has always loved.
Give your customers a value-added discussion forum where they can gather to share views with and socialize with others who use what you sell.
Harness the power of independent user groups.
Create an even stronger relationship with your best customers by inspiring them to partner with you in your charitable efforts.
Listen to your best customers, support them, and respect them!
Strategy #7: Walk the Walk
Identify core commitment values.
“Stoop to excellence” and model the behavior for your employees.
Prove to your employees that you are willing to go the extra mile for them.
Deliver tough news in person.
Hire top people whose personalities complement the organization’s mission and set the tone for its interactions with customers.
Ideally, all employees would present a personality that supports and complements the company mission, but top executives are a good group to start with.
Share a company story that supports both your values and your organization’s promise to customers.
Treat your fellow employees the way you want the customer treated, maybe even better.
Walking the walk means acting in support of your organization’s best values all the time, no matter what.