When the first thing you do in the morning is walk into a coffe shop to grab some breakfast and coffee, maybe the first person you interact that day is the coffee shop server. If she's nice and friendly, it makes your day. If she's crabby and clumsy, it makes you anxious and may crash your day.
If we look at it from an other perspective: a bad customer experience (CX) is harmful not just for you as a customer, but you as a business owner as well.
Low quality service is the easiest way to lose the most important thing in your business -
customers.When I first went to a restaurant in the US from Hungary, the waitress greeted us with a big smile on her face, led us to a table, and introduced herself. 'Hi, I'm Susan and I'll be your waitress tonight'. I thought what the heck... are we on a speed date or something? Why on earth do I have to know her name?
After the first few restaurant experiences, I actually got used to it. And I got used to the fact that they check on us 5 minutes after the food arrived, and then maybe in every 10 minutes, which I found quite annoying first. With my European mind, I thought "I'm gonna tell you if something's not okay I can assure you, you don't have to ask me after each bite..."
Usually, the waiters chatted so much with us that it could almost count as a friendship in Europe.
Are your customers happy?Just because you have a sign on your wall saying 'The customer is always right', or other meaningless motivational quotes like 'Good Vibes Only', it doesn't mean your team gets it, and will do everything to make customers happy.
Training your staff to be nice and friendly requires only a few things from your end, but if it's done right it leads to better CX and higher employee satisfaction that is a win-win situation.
Here are just a few cost-efficient tips on how to make the experience better for customers. With a little creativity, you could apply to in many idifferent services - like hairdressers, doctors or teachers.
Make them fall in love with you. Think about it really as a rapid date. Your waitress has 5 minutes to make customers fall in love with your business. As Dale Carnegie says it in one of my favorite books, How to Win Friends and Influence People
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
In order to treat customers like friends you have to care about them. Ask them questions, find out what they really like and offer something special for them. Even if it's something simple like "I really like cheese" - "You know what, I'll give you this hamburger with extra cheese".
Make it feel like Christmas. In England, I used to go to a cute little tea shop for afternoon tea with co-workers. I loved that place! And not just because they made the best tea ever, but because each time they gave away some chocolate cookies with the tea. It was obviously hidden in the price of the tea, but I didn't expect it (at least for the first time).
Getting an extra cookie for my tea made me feel like you just got a gift. Just like at Christmas. It sounds like a small detail, but in fact customers will remember that they got something from you.
What could you include in your service to make it feel like Christmas?
Resolve negative experiences right away. I actually experienced it in France (probably because I never left a plate full in the US...) that if you didn't like the meal, and barely touched your plate, it's more than natural that you don't have to pay.
Do you think it's better if a dissatisfied customer tells his opinion to you, or later to his friends? Of course, he should tell it to you. According to Understanding Customers by Ruby Newell-Legner
"It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience."A dissatisfied customer's honest feedback's probably worth more than the cost of his free meal.
Ask them what went wrong and #MakeItBetter.
Time for actionIt requires some resources - time and energy - from you to sit down for two hours, open a new document (alternatively, grab a large piece of paper and some Sharpies) and write some guidelines that can help you keep customers and get new ones with great WoM about your service.
Are your customers happy? Remember...