Planning for the Dark Side of Service

Gold mining
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A fun activity for Chip’s grandchildren when they visit his North Georgia weekend home is panning for gold.  The sand comes from a sandy river bank near a sight that was a part of the gold rush in the early 1800’s.
Panning for gold is not easy; it works like this.  You first put a double hand full of sand in a gold pan and dip it in the water filling it half full of water.  Next, you gently move the pan back and forth as you let small amounts of yellow sand wash over the side of the pan.
The objective is to let the black sand sink to the bottom of the gold pan.  But, this is the point where panning for gold gets serious.  Impatience or strong-arming the way the pan is shaken means the black sand escapes over the side with the yellow sand.  Once black sand is the only sand left in the pan, you are rewarded with flecks of gold.  Gold resides among the black sand.
Innovative customer service is like panning for gold among the sand.  But, like service, sand can also […] Continue…

Grooming Customers for Advocacy

customer journey
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For today’s customer CONSISTENCY, RELIABILITY and MAKING A STRONG EMOTIONAL CONNECTION brings value and is the key to building LOYALTY which drives ADVOCACY and GROWTH! Understanding the customer’s journey from their point of view through their entire experience with our organization is absolutely critical to success in today’s very competitive environment.
Examining the key moments of truth that occur at important touch points in that journey to ensure the customer experience is exceeding expectations provides us with an opportunity to design and deliver the kind of innovative customer experiences that drive advocacy and spur repeat purchases! Are there opportunities at key touch points to demonstrate to your customer that you trust them? Are you making the most of these opportunities or are you sending signals that you don’t trust your customers?
Chimpanzees engage in the tradition of grooming.  It is a social activity[…] Continue…

Make Your Service a Headline!

customer service agents taking calls
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Did you ever notice that “word of mouth” about great service is typically communicated as a story?  More often than a simple “They’re very good” compliment is a “Did I tell you what happened to me this week at the local restaurant” story.  Even as customers focus on the social media and the internet as their preferred channel of service praise and rebuke, stories are their primary memorable medium.
We are all suckers for a great story.  We love telling them and we love hearing them.  Good stories make campfires worth lighting, cocktail parties worth attending and performing arts—well, the performing arts.  They instruct, inform, entertain, warm and warn.  A story is the spoken song, tall tale, or a poignant parable which makes a point, teaches a lesson, inspires the spirit or entertains the heart.
Great service providers focus in their customer journeys across the organization on ways they can become the subject of a compelling[…] Continue…

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