Creating a positive customer experience can be simple but not easy

Pustelak-Lisa-174-3By Lisa Pustelak, RCDA Senior Consultant

How many times have you heard the statement, “It’s simple but not easy”?  So many things really are simple, and we know exactly what to do, but they are not easy because we may have to change some deeply embedded habits we have created.

For example, we know if we eat less and exercise, we will lose weight. However, passing up some of our favorite sweet treats is hard because we have created a habit of enjoying them so much. It’s simple but not easy.

Creating a positive customer experience is a hot topic these days. From my experience, this falls into the it’s-simple-but-not-easy bucket. We think it is common sense to treat customers kindly and use good manners, saying “please” and “thank you.” Some of the simplest things at the very beginning of a call or a face-to-face encounter ensure the customer has a positive experience. That’s not always what I see, though.

Why is it so hard for front-line employees to give our customers a positive experience? Here are a few reasons (or excuses) I have heard when I have asked this question:

  • The customers are mean.
  • I talk to so many people that I don’t have time to be nice.
  • The customer just wants to get off the phone as soon as possible.
  • That’s just not my style. (We may want to reconsider employing this type of person.)

Obviously, these are not good reasons (or excuses) for not giving every customer a positive experience.

For the purpose of this article I am not going to go into how we can give the customer a better experience. I think all of you reading this already know how we can do that, because it really is simple.

I have just one example, which happens to be my all-time favorite example of not providing a positive experience:

Customer: “My husband passed away, so I need to take a look at my account and see if there is anything I can do to reduce my bill.”

Agent: “That’s awesome! I can help you with that.”

Yes, you all know how to fix that, but what I really want to get into today is why we aren’t fixing it. Why are we letting this kind of behavior continue? Is it because we are just too busy to pay attention? Do we really believe everyone on our team knows how to treat a customer properly? Are we so focused on moving a number that we have lost sight of the behaviors that control those numbers?

What can you do to start making it simple and easy to create a positive experience for your customers?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a positive culture. Treat your employees as you would like them to treat customers
  • Inspect what you expect. Listen to your people. Are they using common courtesies? Are they showing empathy? Where can you help them build their skills through coaching?
  • Research what companies like Amazon, Chick-fil-A, Marriott and Apple are doing to remain on the best customer service lists year after year. While your company might not be a giant like the aforementioned ones, you can still use some of the simple and easy concepts that they apply in your own teams.
  • Communicate your expectations. Make it known that you expect to hear kindness, common courtesies, empathy, etc.
  • Praise and recognize good behavior. All too often, we focus on fixing. Put more focus on what’s working and what your team is doing right. Individual recognition is fantastic, and group recognition goes a long way. A combination of both is best.

Creating a positive customer experience can be simple and easy! It’s up to you to create the culture and hold your team accountable for demonstrating the proper behaviors. What will you do differently today to ensure every one of your customers has a positive experience?

To learn more about how RCDA can help improve your customer’s experience, read our fundamental beliefs.