Do You Have A Customer Focused Mindset?
Have you ever had a great customer service experience to the point where you could not wait to share your experience with you family and friends? Do you remember why you felt that way? What did that person or organization do to make you feel that you were the very reason that they existed?
You might not want to hear this, but we live in a world of commodities. There are organizations or people doing exactly what you are doing. They may be doing it better or they may be doing it worse but whatever activity you are involved in, someone else is also doing the same thing.
As an example, it was only a few decades ago that Disney operated the two largest amusement parks in the country. These were the only options you had for a large-scale high quality family amusement park experience. There were other parks to be sure, but not at the same scale and not offering the kind of multi-day fun as Disney’s parks.
Today, a family has multiple options for that high quality, multi-day experience. Sea World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens and Six Flags easily come to mind as alternatives to Disney. What continues to make Disney the leader in this amusement park space is their focus on the customer and customer service experience.
A customer-focused mindset can be broken down into three parts:
- Building a relationship
- Respecting the customer
- Be willing to go the extra mile
Building a relationship with a customer can be a short or long-term process depending on expected length of the interaction. No matter how long or short your interaction with the customer is going to be, the relationship must start with your ability to empathize. The customer is coming to you or your organization because they have a need that they are hoping you can meet with a product or service.
To help build empathy with the customer, you or your team should try to keep in mind what it is like to have the same kind of need as the customer. Maybe the customer needs a new suit, but that suit is not just to have another article of clothing. That person might need the suit to wear to an interview after being out of work for two years and that suit that you are selling to them could make just the right impression with the hiring manager. Maybe that suit will be worn to the funeral of a close friend or family member.
Finding the answer to why the person needs a product or service and then working together to find the solution to their need places you or your team on the side of the customer and not against them.
Respecting the customer goes a long way to building rapport and a lifelong customer. The person walking through the door or calling your organization is looking for you or your team to provide them with professional service at the least and great service at the best. If you have spent any time in the service industry, you have most likely seen people at their very best and at their very worst. Often times, I find that the people who are at their very worst in terms of dress, appearance, etc. are the ones that need most whatever I was selling or service that I was providing. Sometimes it did not work out that way. The customers that I thought would be the most appreciative or easy to work became some of my most trying customers.
However, as a business coach I will guarantee that if you or your team do not treat everyone who walks through your doors with basic respect that customer will not be returning and they will be talking about how disrespected they felt to everyone in their network. In the end, it does not take any more effort for you or your team to give each customer respect and courtesy as it does to write them off or treat them poorly because of their outward appearance or position.
Going the extra mile is something that is much talked about but seldom done. I consider myself lucky that as a youth I was able to work under great leaders who stressed this concept to me. Early on, I worked at a Boy Scout Camp where the scouts were in camp for only a week. During that week, the scouts took merit badges classes that challenged them and their skills to the point where they sometimes ran out of time to complete the merit badge work.
On a Friday afternoon when all work on merit badges should stop, if we had scouts that were close or could possibly finish a merit badge if they just had a little extra help or time, we gave it to them. As part of the staff of our scout camp, going the extra mile for the scouts, our customers, was simply what we did.
When talking about going the extra mile with clients, I will remind them that expecting your team to go the extra mile has two parts. Part 1 is that you allow the team members the freedom to go the extra mile for the customer even if that service might be a little outside the normal processes. Part 2 is that you reward or make it public knowledge that one of your team members went the extra mile in providing great customer service. The two parts let the team know that they are safe to make decisions in the best interest of the customer and that they will be rewarded for creating a great customer experience.“A customer focused mindset is made up of 3 parts – Building Relationships – Having Respect – Going the extra mile” Greg Payne Tweet this!
Coach’s Wrap Up:
In a world where a lot of what we do can be also be done by someone else, a customer service mindset is where you and your organization can win. The best news is that providing a great customer experience does not have to come at a high price tag. Providing a great customer experience starts with the mindset of creating a great relationship by treating each person with respect and empowering your team to go the extra mile when needed.
Have you ever worked for an organization where customer service was not just some words or slogans but where providing great customer service was what the organization strived for?