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Under Promise & Over Perform: The Art of Managing Customer Expectations
I'll always feel warmly about Conrad's restaurant, in Glendale, California.
On the morning of the Northridge earthquake, Conrad's was the only restaurant in town that opened for business, and stayed open until the last customer went home. (For the record, I had a jumbo burger with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, fries, and two chocolate shakes with lots of whipped cream and extra cherries on top.)
The line of hungry patrons shoe-laced down the block, but instead of being grumpy, everyone was smiling, happy to be alive, and bursting with their own quake stories to share with the strangers all around them.
What was truly extraordinary was the fact that Conrad's did the ordinary, under exceptional circumstances. It opened for business-as-usual.
Undoubtedly, it had a skeleton crew, because freeways were damaged and closed, and some workers couldn't make it in for their shifts. But enough servers and hosts were there for us, and this very fact exceeded, I'm sure, most people's expectations.
Which of course, proves a point: You don't have to provide "legendary" or "heroic" or otherwise spectacular service to succeed. You merely have to exceed people's expectations as a way to consistently create customer satisfaction.
The problem is most companies do the opposite. They crow about how capable they are at providing top service, citing surveys that they have sponsored and often manipulated to appear better than they really are.
"Your call is important to us" is repeated incessantly on hold. Some service reps are even trained to ask one of the dumbest questions imaginable: "How can I provide you with exceptional service, today?"
In reality, most of us would be thrilled to replace this self-serving rhetoric with the basics. We really want service folks to:
Be there for us when we need them.
Be competent and well trained.
Be quick to address our problems and to solve them.
Be upbeat, and grateful for the opportunity to have our patronage, and
To elevate our customers' hopes, and then dash them, is utterly self-defeating. It reminds me of what I used to hear as a kid-athlete. It's ok to boast, but you better be really, really good, in every single contest. Otherwise, the first time you screw-up, you'll be razzed, relentlessly.
Moral: Be modest. Nice and humble does it every time.
If you're modest, and simply competent, you'll be appreciated and you'll win customer loyalty.
That's the secret to Conrad's decades-long success.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a popular keynote speaker, consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books. He is the author of the Nightingale-Conant audio program, The Law Of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable. Gary teaches Entrepreneurship and Consulting at UCLA Extension, and he is President of Customersatisfaction.com and The Goodman Organization. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Clients?Do You Really Need Them?
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The Call Center world is an intense pressure-driven environment continually being shaped by pressure to ensure steady profitability and a secure competitive advantage.Accountability and a basic fundamental understanding of Performance Management serve as two of the most power tools a Call Center manager has at his/her disposal.
Cultivating the Trust Factor
In today's highly competitive economy, it is difficult to maintain a significant market advantage based on your professional skills alone. Developing a trusting relationship with your clients is key to your success.
10 Customer Service Quality Statements to Measure up Against
It might sound quick and simple, to say how well your business does in satisfying it's customers. Hearing such as:-"We're increasing our turnover by 14% year to date""Our customer complaints are now less than 4% or our transactions".
All of the World of Business Is a Stage
One of the basics of acting taught to me in grade school was the important principle of "staying in character." Staying in character means holding the image and personality of the character you are assigned to portray without letting your own personality leak through.
More Customers - Watch those Little Things
Two situations, two perfectly acceptable experiences, but in one case, an excitement about great service and in the other case, just OK.The LaptopI have a laptop which is under warranty - 5 working day turnaround they said when I rang them about a power problem.
Retail Store U-Scan Machines: Self-Serve or Voluntary Part Time Job?
Do many of us realize that we are working an unpaid part time job for the grocery stores and some home appliance stores? We are ringing up our own goods, are not getting any price discount for doing so and are saving these retailers money.Each self-serve lane contains two to three self-serve scanners.
Passing the After-Sales Test
Some time ago a major UK food retailer decided to branch out into non-foods. Well, they all do it now, but in those days it was unheard of.
Does Your Customer Talk Back To You?
What is your customer saying about you? Do you really know? Does your customer really know who you are?If you don't know what your customer thinks about you, your business, your product and your services, then you might as well close shop!A customer is the lifeblood of every business and you must always strive to be in tune with what your customer thinks and how they feel. Don't leave your customers unattended and in the dark.
Customer Service Tips - Is Your Business A Leaky Bucket?
Customer service and customer service training are vital for any business.But, is your business a leaky bucket?This is a question I always ask small business owners who attend my marketing seminars.
How To Kick Your Customer Service Up A Notch!
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Human Tech Tips -- Tip #1. How do we take your customer service and kick it up a notch?This is a big question so where do we begin?As an overview, it's a given that the answer is three-fold: People, Process, and Technology.
Can Three Words In Websters Dictionary Be The Key To Customer Loyalty?
Are you concerned about customer loyalty? Are your customers so loyal that they will stick with you through hell and high water? And if not, you really need to question how you can create a customer relationship that's so gluey, that you never go bluey in the face. Funnily you don't have to go far.
To Complain and Win! - My Personal Recipe
Prime directive: Make sure your claim is reasonable! Otherwise, forget it.First thing: If you have a legitimate claim denied or a beef with a company (my method can be applied to insurance companies, dealerships, bad fish, or whatever), prepare yourself for the likelihood of frustrating conversations with people who either can't think for themselves or have been told by their boss not to.
Sales Marketing: 10 High Impact Ways To Improve Your Customer Service
If you want to last a long time in business and succeed, you must learn how to make your customers happy.You have to know who are your customers, what they want and keep in touch with them and their needs.
How To Keep Your Customers Coming Back -- Understanding Customer Retention
Why do some businesses offer points, stamps or every tenth coffee for free?These businesses understand that a customer retention program is a fantastic way to ensure that customers keep coming back. The most recognized customer retention programs are those loyalty programs used by retailers, but this same principal can be applied to any business that wishes to maintain a loyal customer base.
What Every Manager Should Know About Seeing the World from Where the Customer Is Standing
It is important to remember that the customer doesn't necessarily see things in the same way we do. This point was brought home to me one day while I was shopping with my daughter, Stefanie, who was two years old at the time.
Client Service as a Competitive Advantage
As someone who has been heavily involved facilitating strategic planning processes with organizations during the last 15+ years, I often find it somewhat amusing how people answer the questions I pose.For example, if I ask people, "What is your unique differentiation in the marketplace?" or "What does your organization really excel at?" They will almost always reply, "It has to be our client service.
Be A Resource
What is one of the greatest ways to add value to your business? Nope, it's not giving away free merchandise, offering special discounts, or even creating a preferred customer club. One of the most valuable commodities that you can provide your customers is INFORMATION.
Five Tips to Calm Cranky Customers
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Customer Satisfaction Is Your Business
Regardless of what business you are in - you are really in the business of satisfying customers. The degree of customer satisfaction you deliver determines the level of long-term success you will achieve in business.
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