Would Your Customers Give You an Emmy or a Razzie?
How do you turn customers into raving fans for your business or brand?
Author and leadership expert Ken Blanchard tells a story about a particularly poor customer service experience. He and his wife had separated while shopping at the mall. At one point, Ken had found some clothes he wanted to try on, but he wanted his wife’s opinion before purchasing.
The only problem was that he had no phone to call her. Ken asked the clerk at the counter if he could use the store phone to call his wife before making the purchase. The salesperson replied, “They don’t even let us use the phone here. Why would I let you?”
Ken promptly placed the clothing back on the rack, thanked the gentleman for his time, and walked out of the store.
He never went back.
Excellence Requires Being Intentional
No doubt the store leadership had a good reason for not letting employees talk on the phone, likely so they would focus on customers right in front of them. But the way leadership enforced that policy translated into the way the clerk treated Ken the customer—the very opposite of the reason the policy was created in the first place.
Modeled behavior transfers and permeates throughout the organization. You can have the best and most intentional plans to achieve results, but if you aren’t intentional about excellent customer service, you’ll lose every time.
Everyone in business knows this, and you’re probably thinking, I would never treat a customer that way! But what about how you serve those you lead?
We serve others by enrolling, influencing, and connecting with them. How you serve the people you lead in your own team or organization is ultimately how they will serve—or not serve—your customers.
Service Is a Mindset
A service mindset is critical both inside and outside of your organization, to your internal customers as well as your external customers. For example, how you enforce rules internally can determine how you and your organization are perceived externally.
- Are you service-oriented or transactional?
- Do you enforce the letter of the law or the spirit of the law?
- Is your brand known for serving others or serving the company?
- Service or self-centeredness?
Those answers will go a long way toward creating a brand perception of you and your team or organization.
Who Would Nominate You?
In the entertainment industry, the Emmy Awards go to the best television performances and the Oscars for excellence in film. But there is another award given every year—the Razzies. While the Emmys and Oscars go to the best, the Razzies go to the worst.
As you reflect on your own customer service experiences, you can probably recall businesses worthy of a Razzie for poor service.
But what award would your customers give you? What about members of your team? What award would they give you for how well you lead them? It’s critical to put yourself in the shoes and the mind of your customer and evaluate what they experience.
It’s the only way to catch service drift and get back on track. Do you deserve an Emmy or a Razzie? If you don’t know, you’d better find out quickly. Here’s why.
It’s critical to put yourself in the shoes and the mind of your customer and evaluate what they experience. It’s the only way to catch service drift and get back on track
The Customer Is the Reason You Are in Business
At the end of the day, if you don’t serve your customers, both external and internal, you won’t be in business for long.
Kenneth B. Elliott, Vice President in Charge of Sales for the Studebaker Corporation, once defined the key place of service by defining what a customer is not:
- The customer is not dependent upon us—we are dependent upon him.
- The customer is not an interruption of our work—he is the purpose of it.
- The customer is not a rank outsider to our business—he is a part of it.
- The customer is not a statistic—he is a flesh-and-blood human being completely equipped with biases, prejudices, emotions, pulse, blood chemistry and possibly a deficiency of certain vitamins.
- The customer is not someone to argue with or match wits against—he is a person who brings us his wants. If we have sufficient imagination we will endeavor to handle them profitably to him and to ourselves.
The point is this: customers are not a nuisance to be managed but the very reason you lead.
Customers are not a nuisance to be managed, but the very reason you lead.
When you serve poorly, or not at all, you diminish your brand. Even worse, you put a bad taste in the mouth of the very people you rely on to succeed.
But conversely, when you serve with excellence, you reinforce or establish your brand and create momentum.
Take care of and serve your customers with respect, and they’ll reward you with loyalty, consistency, and profitability.
So what steps will you take this week to win your customers’ “nomination?
You’ll discover that when you make serving people a priority, people make it their priority to come back again and again—and to tell all their friends.