Though we’ve always prided ourselves on being a customer-centric company, over the past year or so we have focused on making the customer experience our top priority. It’s one thing to say we’re going to focus on customer service, since everyone says they do, and quite another to actually do it, mainly because it requires serious analysis.
What I mean by “analysis” is an in-depth and objective evaluation of the customer experience from beginning to end, from the sales proposal to the ongoing follow-up, even after the product is delivered. One way we found to make customer service a priority with each of our employees was encouraging them to pay close attention to their own customer experiences. We asked them to document how they were treated as they went about their daily lives; the good, the bad and the ugly of their customer service experiences.
By taking a step back and evaluating how they were being treated as customers, our employees learned valuable lessons about how and how not to work with their customers. They walked a mile in their shoes, to borrow a cliché, and doing so has paid off in an enhanced customer experience for their customers, ultimately resulting in greater customer retention.
Through this exercise, we’ve also found that great customer service often shows up in the most unexpected places. In my case, I was treated to a fantastic customer experience at an off-site airport parking service of all places. Perhaps the low expectation of having to wait for a bus, being crammed in a noisy, uncomfortable vehicle driven by someone wearing a worn-and-torn uniform and expecting a tip had something to do with it.