It’s easy to feel gratitude this time of year. We show appreciation to our loved ones on Valentine’s Day, finding ways to treat them special and tell them how much we care. We feel thankfulness in times of cold, inclement weather, grateful for safety, warmth, and neighbors that lend a hand. During the season of caring, it’s imperative to evaluate how you show your appreciativeness to another vital group of people in your life – your customers!
 
Are you taking your customers for granted? You may remember when I shared last year that going above and beyond in customer service was crucial to not only surviving but thriving during the pandemic. Now that the dust has settled, is it still a core focus, or more of an afterthought?
 

Why Is Customer Service So Important?

 
One of the 5 Disciplines of Adding Zeros is the Discipline of Business Development, which creates predictability by focusing your company on PEOPLE instead of profit. If you’re focusing on sales, you’ll lean toward competing on price alone. But, if you focus on your relationship with your customers, not only will you learn what led them to buy from you in the first place, but you’ll also learn what keeps them (or could keep them) coming back.
 
Customer service is more than a department. Everyone in your organization is in “customer service.” Everyone who works on a project that has the potential to grow is in customer service. Everyone who interacts with the customer is in customer service. Everyone who supports the customer is in customer service. People who never see the customer, but depend on their revenue, are in customer service!
 

Reframe Your Thinking of “Customer Service” To “Customer Loyalty.”

 
As Jeffery Gitomer says, “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless. Customer Loyalty is Priceless.” Successful organizations know that there is a difference between attracting customers, keeping customers, and developing loyal customers. Devoted customers also serve as advocates to help find new customers by sharing their positive experiences.
 
Every organization should have clarity on the standards by which they want their team to treat their customers. Is your team reluctant to change? Switching up how you think about customer service can also change your team’s outlook on it. When defining the set of actions your team will take to improve upon customer service, call them “Customer Loyalty Standards.” No one likes rules, these are “standards.”
 
We all want to live up to standards. Setting expectations motivates us, excites us, and makes us want to push ourselves to grow. For example, I have a client that has dozens of retail locations, who has created the standard of treating their customers great. But they then defined what greatness means through an acronym: Greet, Relate, Engage, Act, Thank = G.R.E.A.T.
 
There are a lot of details and training that are behind each of these words. Each team member knows what they mean and how they should treat customers so that every customer coming through the door has the same special experience through all levels of the sales process (no matter whom they are working with). While they may seem like common sense, defining them as their Customer Loyalty Standards ensures consistency.
 
Is your customer’s experience good enough to tell others about? While we’re in the season of caring, I challenge you to create Customer Loyalty Standards for your organization. What are some qualities that make a great customer experience, and how can you create actionable, measurable guidelines to ensure these standards are met? If you would like help, call for a complimentary strategy session!