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PORTER: Engage with customers today for a great experience

Hi, how can I help you? Hold on, let me see if I can get you to someone in service. Could you call back in an hour when that department opens?

Like me, you probably get one of the ho-hum responses above once a week when you call a particular business to get a question answered or a problem solved. And they all sound so impersonal. So uninvolved.

Well, I am here to tell you that world class service businesses know that being really engaged with the customer at every service touch point is essential to building a financially sustainable company in the 21st century! And you will definitely never hear anything like the comments above from anyone in their organization.

Along with traits like passion, humility and accountability, which we have touched on in earlier columns, being fully engaged with the customer is another of the seven attitude traits I discuss in my upcoming new customer experience business book, “Hire For Attitude, Train For Skills.”

Below, I am again providing you with some tips for being successful in the engagement area to help you provide a world class experience to your customers today.

Tip 1. Connect with the customer from the start.

No “could you call back later.” No dumping you off quickly to someone else to solve your problems. None of this.

Being concerned and connected with a customer from the get-go today is what it is all about! Or as the Oxford dictionary defines engagement as “attracting or involving someone’s interest or attention.”

The main thing here is to connect!

Tip 2. Go deep with the customer.

One business I spoke with a few years back had the ultimate compliment for customer service they got from a partner company. “They knew everything there was to know about our business.”

In another instance, a top customer service employee I interviewed said successfully going deep was having the customer walk out the door smiling.

Hard to get much deeper with a customer than these to make them happy!

Tip 3. Try and help the customer to be successful.

What does success look like to your customer? What is your part in that effort?

An executive in the financial services business had some interesting comments about this awhile back. He explained that no matter his ability to assist a customer with a problem or outcome, he felt it was his duty to make sure that every customer he encountered knew that he genuinely cared about them and their success.

Further, he intoned, I always try and put myself in someone else’s shoes and ask myself, how would I like to be treated?

Difficult to get more engaged than that. What do you think?

To conclude, top service leaders know how critical it is to fully engage with customers these days to provide them with a great experience. And they know they have to go the extra mile to do so.

So to up your service game, remember to do the following:

• First, connect with your customers

• Next, go deep with them for service

• Finally, try your best to help them be successful.

If you can execute on these three tips, I believe your customers will find you anything but impersonal. In fact, I think they will reward you with their business and their loyalty for years to come because you took the time and effort to be fully engaged with them in their customer experience.

 

William Porter has published books on customer experience and employee engagement and speaks regularly at business schools. Contact him at bpwilliamaporter@gmail.com.

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