Whether you’ve got external or internal customers, they expect you to ‘do the whole job’! Show that you care about your customer … after all, if your customer decides he or she no longer needs you, you may be out of a job. To do the whole job in customer experience management, go beyond lip-service, anticipate customer expectations, carry the ball, and double-check the customer’s perspective.
Customer Care Beyond Lip-Service
It’s easy enough to talk about commitment to customers, but what does it really mean? Whether you make an offer to a customer, or the customer makes a request to you, your sincerity is obvious to the degree that you do the whole job. That means standing behind your word, demonstrating your word of honor. In previous centuries, words really meant something — to the point that duels were fought, contracts were not as necessary, and people felt a compelling need to make their words true, or deal with the consequences. In the information age, we may take our words for granted. Yet customers continue to expect follow-through, and they vote with their wallet for those who best meet their expectations. This applies both to customer-facing professionals as well as anyone else in the company who makes decisions that affect customers.
Anticipate Customer Expectations
One of the best habits you can build is anticipation of customer expectations. This skill pays off in every aspect of your life. To do this, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. To do that, learn everything you can about your customer’s world. And it means you need to examine your motives in your business decisions and activities. Are you putting the customer’s interests first? Really? Be honest with yourself, be more generous to customers, get to know their world very well, and anticipate what they expect. This puts you in the driver’s seat for managing the customer relationship. And you are more likely to earn admiration, loyalty and the financial benefits you seek from your customers.
Carry the Ball
Instead of referring the customer to someone else or someplace else, take them there yourself, or do the legwork yourself and get back to the customer with your findings. Put yourself in the customer’s place to make sure the information and solution you provide meshes with “where they’re coming from”, their mindset and their concerns. Instead of leaving the next steps to the customer’s initiative, carry the ball in finding a full solution to your customer’s need. Consider your competitors’ delight in taking over to solve the customer’s needs. Drive the ball past the goal line. That’s the essence of doing the whole job!
Double-Check the Customer’s Perspective
Just because you want to move on to other things, does not mean the customer feels you’ve done the whole job. Ask them — not just at the end, when fatigue may cause the customer to prefer moving on with some other solution provider. Ask your customer, at each juncture in your solution delivery, whether there is anything else they expect. More than 80% of communication is non-verbal, and 95% of thought occurs in the unconscious mind. You may get a more honest answer if you ask for customer opinions in terms of metaphors describing their level of satisfaction with the situation.
Do the whole job and you’ll enjoy more secure customer relationships. You’ll benefit not only in the short-run, but also in the long-run as you build customer equity, lifetime value and reliable profit streams.
Contact the author, Lynn Hunsaker, to find out how to customize these tips to your situation.
About Lynn Hunsaker
Lynn Hunsaker, Customer Experience Transformation Strategist, is head of ClearAction, Marketing Operations Partners, and the Marketing Future Forum. She has developed and led customer experience transformation for more than half of her career, as Voice of the Customer Manager, Strategic Information Manager, and Market Research Consultant, and in executive roles such as Head of Corporate Quality and Director of Marketing & Business Development at Fortune 250 companies.
Clients include Accountants Inc, Adecco, Adobe, Allegion, Anritsu, Applied Materials, Bankers Fidelity, Cadence, Cementos Progreso, Cementos Progreso, Cisco, Critical Software, Deltek, Direct General Insurance, FormFactor, Hootsuite, Hospira, Ingersoll Rand, Kaiser Permanente, LexisNexis, Merck, MicroWarehouse, Moo, SHRM, SunPower, Thomson Reuters, Valin, Whataburger, and others.
Lynn is past president of Silicon Valley American Marketing Association and she has taught marketing, advertising and business courses for 5 years at UC Berkeley Extension, Mission College and San Jose State University. Lynn earned psychology and marketing degrees at BYU and an MBA at Vanderbilt University. She is a Certified Marketing Manager, Certified Quality Manager, Certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Practitioner, and Certified Customer Experience Professional.
She is a top-10 CustomerThink author and she has written three handbooks: Metrics You Can Manage For Success, Customer Experience Improvement Momentum, and Innovating Superior Customer Experience. She designed and conducted the world's first global B2B customer experience management practices study for 5 years, and she led the world's first marketing operations practices study.
Lynn's Customer Experience Excellence course was the first to be recognized by CXPA as an Authorized Resource & Training provider for its Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) exam. She has served as a CXPA CX Expert panelist and as a co-chair of numerous CXPA committees.