There is one commanding truth in customer service, it’s simple: Your clients will surprise you.
Let’s take, for example, me. I choose my yoga studio based, in-part, on the ceiling. It’s guaranteed none of my yoga teachers know this (until now). There’s no way to know this about me unless it’s specifically asked. This is a perfect example of a consumer whose purchasing decision is not tied directly to the obvious or marketable aspects of the organization.
There’s an additional, dominant truth about customer service. It’s nearly impossible to know 100% for sure which element of your service or business ultimately creates loyalty.
Some clients connect with a mission. Others come back because you remembered their names. When it comes to customer service, an individual’s needs are unique and varied. As a business owner, there are a few key elements that everyone likes to experience. These variables can be planned and used as a foundation, the rest are up to the customer service agents (you or your employees) to be talented enough to determine what the client wants.
So how do you figure it out?
With all this in mind, I think back to the industrial, simple ceiling in my favorite studio in Santa Monica and the exposed air ducting in my favorite studio in Phoenix, Urban Yoga, and I connect to the feeling I get when I look at at them. It’s like my thoughts float up there and dissolve somehow into the concrete, marking my presence. It’s calming and permanent.
As a yoga teacher and student, I spend a lot of time in yoga studios. The “vibe” of the studio determines whether or not I want to return. I want to relax and be able to focus on my practice. I want it to feel good.
So with this in mind, we know we need to consider all the factors that may create a repeat consumer of a product. Ceilings are a factor for me because as a yogi, but also because of what I like about my practice. Some of my students choose studios based on proximity to work or home, social interaction, cleanliness, teachers, prestige, good parking, or even just the schedule and workshops available.
To a studio owner, the questions may be:
1. How does this studio feel?
2. Is my pricing fair/competitive?
3. Does my client base need additional programming such as workshops or social nights?
4. What are the physical needs of my consumer? Are props necessary?
5. What qualities should be visible in customer service staff?
The list goes on…
As a business owner, shareholder, or manager, go ahead and tweak these questios to apply to your company’s services. Create a list of 20 factors that may impact your consumer. Are you lacking anywhere? What can you do this quarter to improve service and experience?
- Ask questions when you interact with your clients. Likely, there are lingering concerns you don’t know about. The more trust you build, the more willing people are to open up about something.
- Survey your clients and ask what you’re doing right, what isn’t working, and what they’d like to see going forward. Fix what isn’t working as quickly as possible. Take their advice to heart, this is the richest information you can get.
- Give them what they want if it’s within your power and purview of your business model.
- Provide employees with the tools to resolve issues when they arise. There’s nothing worse than expressing a concern and then having to wait two days for a manager to find a solution and call you back.
Try out these little guidelines – let me know how it goes! Sending good luck and success your way!