A few weeks back, my furry companion, Santini (pictured here in his favorite Halloween costume) lost the battle to the ever-present demons of old age. As I went home to an empty house, started returning my home to a new sans-110 pounds of dog normal, and let's be honest, trying to keep my broken-hearted emotions in check, my mind wandered. You may know by now my mind wanders to blog topics during the most inopportune, or at least inappropriate times (Catholic contradictions, anyone?). This time was a little bit of the same and here’s where I landed: we learn SO much about client experience (CX) from man, or woman’s, best friend.
The first thing we learn about man’s best friend, is they are loyal. No matter what, they are going to stick by your side. Friends, visitors, other animals come and go, but at the end of the day they are going to come back to you, because they know where their bread is buttered and they sure don’t want to miss a meal! If you treat your customers like they matter and are valued members of your company’s family, they will either never leave or if they do, they will remember how you treated them and come right on back.
Poor Santini. There were times at the end of a particularly long day when he didn’t come first or I would snap at him unnecessarily. It didn’t matter. He would nuzzle up to me offering a hug, or sit patiently waiting for my bad mood to pass. He didn’t hold it against me and from that, we learn a lot about CX! Let’s face it, our clients or customers aren’t going to be happy with us at every turn and they are going to call and yell or hit the social networks to attack you. Don’t fall prey to barking back at them, because in the end it is going to make you, the company, look much worse than an individual person. Plus, your other clients and potential customers are watching, and you want then to know you are stable and accountable to help, no matter what the situation.
Boundless Energy and Positivity
No matter what, our pups are excited to see us and are ready to go with us on any sort of adventure, even if it is just to the mailbox to pick up the afternoon’s haul. Even as you drag them through the last steps of their walk home, you can see the spirit and energy in their eyes. We all have bad days, or sleepless nights, but these events are not our clients’ problems. When a client comes to you for help with their account or information on a product, you have to “fake it ‘til you make it”. Your energy might feel fake to you, but as your client responds favorably to that energy, it becomes real and you are even more engaged in the conversation. Even when you talk on the phone, people hear your smile and patience, so don’t let a missed alarm clock or disagreement with your spouse impact your interactions.
Even though Santini didn’t need to eat at 5pm or go for a 7 minute walk every morning, I know many dogs who do but I always knew I could count on Santini to be sitting at the door when I arrived home or cowering in the corner when the suitcases came out. Dogs have their own special routines and their owners know how to set their own schedules by these predictable routines. Interactions with your clients shouldn’t be any different. When they call your office, customers know they will get the same welcoming message, when they send an email, they expect a prompt response, and lastly, when they have a problem or concern, they know you are going to handle it in a swift and mutually beneficial manner. This predictability is your brand and making sure it is defined clearly and executed against is the final learning takeaway from our dear four-legged friends.