Be an Undercover Provider

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We were working with a large quick-service restaurant company who was doubting the power and profitability of their offering a great customer experience.  They were convinced that product, price, PR (as in advertising), and the proper restaurant location would always win the day.  “As long as the customer experience is okay, even sometimes mediocre, why invest in making it great?” They told us.  We proposed they go undercover.  These were our instructions.
Select a location where you have a restaurant franchise near a Chick-fil-A restaurant.  Pick a small town where your franchise and the Chick-fil-A must draw from the exact same labor pool.  Dress like ordinary customers, not like C-suite executives.  Visit both and compare them.  Then, look at their financial metrics compared to yours.  It was a customer version of the TV show Undercover Boss.
They returned to mahogany row in their high-rise, big city office building. […] Continue…

How to Un-Timid Your Customers

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The idea honestly came from renowned songwriter Diane Warren. She was the award-winning composer who wrote “Un-break My Heart” for singer Toni Braxton. The song title invites your thinker to think differently about a particular concept–how to undo a condition already present rather than zeroing in on how to prevent it in the first place.
Chip’s dentist and pet boarder both have phone systems that place you in a phone tree. It sounds like, “If you are a new customer, press one,” or “for reservations punch three.” That is all well and good. Except many times when a call is initiated, Chip is driving. There is no, “or say one” in the phone message. For daredevils, it forces you to take your eyes off the road to punch your phone. For safe drivers, it necessitates pulling over and stopping to use the phone. Neither option is customer friendly. When the Bells have offered feedback, they have gotten excuses about the phone vendor.[…] Continue…

What changes would you make if you offered your customers a 100% satisfied service guarantee?

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Lifetime warranties are a common feature of the product world.  They essentially say “we guarantee that the object you bought will work as long as you own it.  If the product ever fails, we promise to replace it or repair it to your satisfaction.”  Lifetime warranties, as opposed to limited warranties, are designed to be bold statements communicating confidence in a product.  What would a lifetime warranty look like for a customer service experience?
 
Customers today have changed. They are Picky–more cautious in the choices.  Made smarter by the internet, they are empowered and emboldened to accept nothing short of value.  It has made them Fickle—quicker to leave if unhappy.  Recent research shows that forty four percent of customers stop doing business immediately after a less than satisfactory experience and another 15% exit as soon as their contract is up! Can a customer service experience warranty help in retaining[…] Continue…

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