What makes for an outstanding customer experience? (A visit to the Land of Oz)

Recently, a visit to a local eatery with my wife resulted in an outstanding customer experience delivered by our waitress on this evening. The next day I reflected on why our experience was so exceptional. What was it that the waitress had done that led me to feel this way?

From this experience, I learned that a quick visit to the Land of Oz is the answer; more specifically, the answers are a “heart” and a “brain”!

Sure, there are thousands of books written on what companies and individuals should do to deliver outstanding customer experiences, however, consider these two items as the only ones you need to train and focus your customer facing people on.

I am confident that you are now asking, “What is meant by ‘a heart’ and ‘a brain’?”

Simply put, ‘a heart’ equals all of the soft skills delivered with honesty and sincere conviction from the heart and ‘a brain’ represents the hard facts.

“A heart” includes details such as, remembering to smile (Yes! Customers can hear you smiling over the phone), making eye contact, using voice inflection (especially when over the phone), paying attention (active listening), being positive in your language and, one of the most important items, keeping your customer’s issues at the center of the conversation. Remember, this is a person-to-person engagement, not a person to a machine, or website, and human interactions are like snowflakes, no two are alike, thus these may be soft skills, however, these are challenging to master.

“A brain” is representative of an individual’s knowledge. Does this customer-facing representative possess an in-depth knowledge about their company, products and services? Or, at a minimum do they have access to the tools that will provide them that knowledge? When a customer accepts that the person helping them to resolve their issue is an expert (or at least very knowledgeable), then customers are quick to place a trust in the relationship. With trust, established everything else becomes easier.

If you really want to deliver outstanding customer experiences, and you, or your customer facing team, are missing one of these two simple, but very important items, then you should visit the Land of Oz. First, stop by the corn field and let the Scarecrow direct you to a brain and then travel through the apple orchard and stop by the Tin Man, I am sure he will guide you to your heart.

Last thought:

A heart and a brain should be the foundation for all of an organization’s training efforts, or an individual’s self-development program.

The ability to deliver outstanding customer experiences is quite easy when an individual is healthy and likes what they are doing.  If you are reading this as an individual, are you healthy (physically, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually) and do you like what you are doing? If you represent an organization, do you have programs in place to support the health of your team, and the training in place to deliver on the knowledge required to work with customers? These are questions for another time; or are they? If you would like some very relevant and specific guidance on establishing programs that will support your teams, then let me know. From my heart and brain, I would love to help.

2 Comments

Filed under Business, Life, Project Management

2 responses to “What makes for an outstanding customer experience? (A visit to the Land of Oz)

  1. Hi Larry,

    You brought up a very important point, which is that the customer facing representative has to have an in-depth knowledge about the company.

    Unfortunately, this is something that we don’t see a lot these days. Try calling your bank, your phone company, or any other big company you can think of. Sometimes you get passed on multiple times to multiple people until you get the right answer!

  2. You are correct, and, I would like to go on to say that the responsibility to have “knowledge” is a mutual one shared by the individual and the company. From the individual’s perspective, in coming to the company, it is their responsibility to provide their skills and experiences to fulfill specified goals and objectives. The company will provide knowledge and tools to access that knowledge. The issue you raise is better viewed when asking, to what extent does the company deliver. If the company comes up short on this delivery, then it is a lose-lose-lose (company-individual-customer) situation. From the company’s perspective, it is their responsibility to continually deliver knowledge and the development of the individual. My final point is that the path to ensuring customer facing representatives and the company are delivering an outstanding customer experience can be maintained by focusing on the the development of the “heart” and the “brain”.

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