This past week I had the great fortune of attending multiple webinars offered by Qualtrics in celebration of CX Week. For those of you unaware of the abbreviation, CX is quite simply Client Experience. Spending a week dedicated to this burgeoning hot topic I felt compelled to compile the following tips. As we were reminded many times throughout the sessions, client experience applies to B2C and B2B companies alike; so these 3 tips work not only for client interaction, but for customer experience as well.
Tip 1: Tell Them Something, Even When There’s Nothing to Say
In my previous life within corporate America we outsourced the rebranding of our company to get us back on track towards speaking with our customers on a more personal level. During the brand rollout presentation, they told us the runway story. Imagine for a moment you are sitting on the runway and it’s been at least 20 minutes since you pushed back from the gate. The captain and flight attendants are silent, you’ve already flipped through the in-flight magazine twice, and your headphones are in the overhead compartment, so you are just sitting, stewing in silence. Now, imagine another scenario. You’ve been sitting on the same runway for 20 minutes, but the captain’s been on 3 times apologizing for the delay and while he doesn’t know what’s causing the holdup, he will let you know as soon as he knows more. Within the second scenario, you’ve learned nothing, but someone spoke to you, commiserated with your frustration then promised resolution. At the end of the day, clients and customers are people just like you, and they simply want someone to acknowledge them and their concerns, so don’t worry if you don’t have the answer readily available, but make sure you get back to them in a timely manner when you do.
Tip 2: Support Your Staff
Perhaps my favorite webinar of the aforementioned CX week came from Zappos, not because I am a loyal VIP member and have a slight obsession with shoes, but because they support their staff to provide “Wow” moments of client experience. Instead of simply telling employees to make each interaction with clients memorable, they provide them with a CX budget, a thank-you card station, and a work environment that stimulates happy people. The budget allows individual staff members to do something, anything for a customer without having to seek managerial approval and the thank-you card station provides supplies to those who like the extra personal touch of sending thank-you cards to a customer (I’ve received one before and it made my month). Clubs, group outings, and lunches with leaderships are just a few examples of what Zappos does to engage its employees because let’s be honest, you cannot provide excellent customer service if you are not satisfied at work. Supporting your staff in providing these great experiences shows authenticity and truly cements your deep-rooted commitment to CX.
Tip 3: Ask Questions
Finally, as I sit here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a Princess Cruise, I am reminded of one of my favorite phrases from childhood “if you don’t know, ask!”. From the moment you board, the staff is asking you questions from preferred name to dietary restrictions to where you are from and get this…they pay attention to and remember the answers! Each time someone uses my nickname instead of Ms. Costarino I feel like a friend. Whenever I sit down to dinner and my gluten-free bread is sitting there on a separate bread plate warm and toasty, I feel special and just a little bit spoiled. When I walk into the gym and the trainer points to the Wells Fargo Championship on TV and says “look JC, home!”, I feel like that’s exactly where I am.
Take the time to work these 3 tips into your culture…do not force it, but make them work for you and they in turn will work for your clients and customers and have them coming back to work with you more often, and tell their friends!