It happened about a year ago. I went into a small local convenience store to pick up a few fruits and veggies. I walked out feeling a little confused because I had only bought a few items, but my bill was surprisingly high. I turned to glance at my receipt and noticed that instead of charging me just $1 for a small avocado, the cashier had charged me $11! I returned to the shop the next day with high hopes of getting my $10 back, however, much to my dismay, I left yet again feeling disappointed. Not only did the manager refuse to refund my money after I showed him the receipt, he pretty much laughed in my face. Although this store was locally-owned, conveniently located, and (usually) reasonably priced; it’s been almost one year and I still have not set foot in the place.
We’ve all encountered bad customer service and felt the frustration of abandoning a brand or company out of principle. It’s no shock that we feel the need to make these changes. It’s actually engrained in our psychology. In fact, according to an American Express survey, 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
Even in our technologically advanced world, it turns out that people still value human-to-human communication. They like knowing that there’s a human, and not a robot, communicating with them on the other end.
Here are five reasons every aspect of your event should focus on customer service that goes above and beyond expectations.
1. VIPS Buy The Most Tickets
A customer service team that goes above and beyond the call of duty to help a client solve a problem, or that makes a client feel the least bit special, will trump a company with bare-bones customer service every single time.
Have you ever been bumped up to first class from economy without an extra charge? Or been given a dessert on the house because the service was slower than usual? Something as small as a free cheesecake or pre-flight cocktail can completely shift our perspective and make our experiences unforgettable.
Essentially, people love feeling like they are VIPs. When we are singled out for special privileges, awards, and favors, we feel special. Most humans yearn for acceptance; but, if you can make your guests feel special, unique, and like they are truly valued, they will be the first in line for your event.
The bottom line: When you make your customers feel special, they will remember you forever.
2. Listening Builds Trust
Think about your close friends; would you rather spend an afternoon with a friend who is a great listener, or with the friend who can’t stop talking. We all occasionally indulge in good gossip with our talkative friends, but nine times out of ten, we gravitate toward the good listeners. This is because listening builds trust and trust is a key component in building rapport. Not only are good listeners viewed as being more trustworthy, but good listeners are also perceived as being more competent, more capable, and are actually believed to be better leaders.
How many times have you asked your friend, coworker, family member, or even salesperson for advice while they were texting on their phone? Or, while they weren’t even looking at you?! People want to be heard, but in today’s multitasking, short attention-spanned society, good listeners are few and far between. If you can really, truly listen to your customers, you will build trust, gain their confidence, and be able to solve their problems more efficiently. By developing your customer service team’s listening skills, you have the ability to stand out from every other competitor.
The bottom line: Listen to your customers and they will trust you more than your competition.
3. Empathy Creates Positive Experiences
According to customer experience pro, Ruby Newell-Legner, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. You can ensure a positive experience for your clients if your customer service team implements one key strategy: empathy.
Look at the top companies in the world like Apple or Amazon; how many negative customer service experiences have you encountered with these brands? Chances are, you left the conversation feeling not only satisfied, but empowered. This is because brands like Apple and Amazon understand the power of empathy. Instead of questioning or blaming the customer, these companies empathize with their customers without hesitation. Humans are emotional beings that crave empathy and understanding. Regardless of the issue, if you can empathize with and understand your customer, there’s a good chance he or she will walk away with a positive outlook on your company.
The bottom line: Create positive experiences for your customers by empathizing with them so they leave feeling satisfied and empowered.
4. Enhance Your Soft Skills = Better Relationships
While technology has helped customer service in a number of ways, it has also expanded what some refer to as the “soft skills gap”. This gap is a result of your team’s strong technical skills, but lack of skills such as communication, problem solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork. If you have no trouble acquiring clients, but have a hard time retaining them, your team probably has a soft skill gap. A team full of managers, without any real leaders, is result of a soft skill gap as well.
You can narrow this gap by making an effort to connect with your clients in the most straight-forward and communicative way possible. Taking the time to communicate through a phone call instead of an email shows your client that you seriously care about his or her problem, adds an extra layer of professionalism, and gives your client immediate access to your team’s knowledge and support. Instead of promising an email within 36 hours, make your customer service representatives accessible through phone service. It’s more likely that your team will be able to understand your client’s issue and solve their problem more efficiently and effectively over the phone.
Here are a few things your customer support team can easily implement to easily enhance your clients’ experience.
a.) Thank your customers: Expressing genuine gratitude is one of the easiest ways to show your appreciation toward a client. In fact, 45% of customers feel that being thanked is an extremely important component of excellent customer service.
b.) Address your clients by name: By simply addressing people by their name, you acknowledge their identity, massage their ego, and boost their self-esteem. Dale Carnegie capitalizes on this principle in his book, How To Win Friends And Influence People. He states that when someone hears their own name, they not only feel positively about themselves, but are also much more inclined to feel positively about the person validating them.
c.) Follow up with clients who have addressed issues in the past: This step is crucial because it not only shows your clients that you listened and empathized with them when they reached out, but also gives clients a small sense of that “VIP feeling” (see #1). In the customer’s mind, no company is going to take the time to follow up with someone they don’t view as extremely valuable and important.
The bottom line: By narrowing your team’s soft skill gap, you can build emotional relationships with your customers through straightforward, no-nonsense communication.
5. Your Event Depends On It
It might seem like customer service is just a small percentage of the efforts behind your event. And, it may seem impossible to think that one small aspect can affect so much of your business. However, Surveys have shown that 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. That’s a lot of people not attending your event solely because your team isn’t being attentive, friendly, or empathetic.
As tough as it is to hear, news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. It’s an unfair statistic, but it’s true. The next time you start losing patience with yourself, your support team, or even your customers, ask yourself how many guests you’re willing to lose to that frustration.
The bottom line: No matter how cool you think your event might be, it’s going to be hard to expand your guest list if your customer service isn’t just as cool (or cooler).
At Passage, we prioritize exceptional customer service because we know it’s a game-changer. We don’t claim to be the best in the world, but we do attempt to practice what we preach. If one of our representatives can’t answer your question over the phone, he or she will get you into contact with someone who can. If you’re feeling lost or just need a little extra help with your event setup, we’ll do everything we can to help make your event a success. Although our team likes to have a whole lot of fun, we’re pretty serious about providing outstanding customer service. We love hearing from our customers; so, feel free to drop in if you’re around the Detroit area, give us a call, or chat with us during our business hours!