Successful companies know that doing things that could threaten their customer relationships is the worst strategy for any prosperous company. In “Legendary Service,” bestselling author Ken Blanchard and co-authors Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey give the key lessons to achieve a level of legendary customer service, describing the methods for developing an unforgettable experience and making your business flourish.
All companies want to be known for having a good relationship with their customer base. Still, many of them offer mediocre services and don’t seem to be showing any interest in improving that.
On the contrary, successful companies understand that doing anything that could potentially jeopardize their relationships with the customers is a strategy leading to disaster.
By exploring Legendary Service you will learn how to increase your profits, win more customers and keep them loyal! Using a method called ‘ICARE,’ you’ll comprehend the absolute necessity of keeping the focus on your customers, and why you should never ever deviate from this path. Let’s go!
Making Your Customer Feel Important
Customer service does not just mean giving the customer what he wants. You need to create a very good experience, with very happy consumers, to the point of leaving your competitors behind. But this strategy only works when your customer service is excellent.
It may seem very simple, but the secret to providing great service is to show your customers that you care about them. Despite the ease and low costs of services, most businesses fail to offer them. Poorly informed companies rely on the efforts of expensive marketing teams to attract new customers. In fact, it is much cheaper and less complicated to keep your existing customers happy.
Worry About Your External and Internal Customers
We all value good customer service. Even so, teaching your employees to be friendly to your customers is not enough. The truth is that you need to care about the needs of your customers to get them back – for this, you need to have a good service strategy. In other words, you need an unforgettable experience, that is, to build relationships that promote the success of your business.
There are two types of relationships involved in an unforgettable experience: First, it is the relationship you have with your employees – your internal customers. If your employees feel important, they will enjoy going to work and sharing that positive attitude with their consumers. Therefore, managers need to create a motivating environment.
Building a culture of good service begins with your business. Well-managed business leaders understand that their most important customers are their employees. These, in turn, need to learn that for the job to be more rewarding, they need to show their customers that they care.
Teach your employees that to show concern, they should always call the customer by name. Be friendly and talk to them about other matters besides the transaction. Talk about things that are unrelated to the sale, show that you are interested in people. In a personal involvement, look at your client in the eyes and smile. If your business is on the phone, be optimistic and polite. When your staff begins to focus more on the client, their morale improves, and their work experience becomes more positive.
The second relationship is with your external client. And that is where the unforgettable experience will be crucial. You want to deliver the kind of service that is so consistent and regular that your consumers will come back instead of looking for a competitor.
Focus Your Business on the Customer
Unfortunately, businesses that offer an optimal level of customer service quality are rare. Most managers and business schools do not teach the details and practices of an unforgettable experience, even if experts recognize that relationships are the beginning of a successful business.
Ignoring the unforgettable experience and letting bad service be the norm in your business can have devastating consequences for your business.
To avoid this kind of thing, managers and entrepreneurs must follow the ICARE model. The purpose of the “ICARE” service model is to help employees develop an “unforgettable experience” and deliver this level of service during each customer interaction. An unforgettable experience means “consistently delivering an ideal service that brings customers back and that results in a competitive advantage for your organization. ”
Applying this tactic to achieve an unforgettable experience improves profitability. On the other hand, if you fail to provide customer-focused service, your customers are abandoned, you reduce your sales to the same customer, and employee morale and profits fall. Avoid these problems by delivering excellent service that will please your customers and make them talk about experiences with your company with others and recommend your products or services.
Beware of Internal Signs
Exemplary services grow in a circular pattern: the company that provides unforgettable services shows that it cares for its employees, who take good care of their customers, who have great experiences, and become loyal customers. This cycle of success is easy to understand. Big companies tell their customers how much they care about them and work hard to keep the business going. Only the mediocre companies underestimate their customers. Astute companies focus on providing great service to their external and internal customers.
While many CEOs believe that their company’s customer service is exceptional, customers and employees often see it as medium-sized. The employee turnover rate may reflect the difference between the attitude and knowledge between employees and managers.
The way your employees treat each other also reflects your level of service. Managers who show gratitude for the efforts of their employees strengthen the goals of a customer-centric company, nurture good interactions, and enhance team enthusiasm. Your customers can realize if your team is happy with the job. Invest in team motivation and training.
‘ICARE’ – Getting to Unforgettable Experience
How would you rate your past consumer experience? Whether you’re shopping at a grocery store, tidying your hair at a beauty salon, or repairing your car in a workshop? Unfortunately, the vast majority of consumer experiences are only mediocre, with few satisfactions.
But when was the last time you had extraordinary customer service experience? It’s been a long time, probably. This is because, although most companies try to be extraordinary in the eyes of consumers, few know how to achieve this. For this, the author created the acronym ICARE.
So, let’s now understand each letter of the acronym that promises us an unforgettable experience.
(I) Start With The Ideal Service
This brings us to the first step of the ICARE model: “I” means ideal service. Start by defining how the ideal service should be in your company, i.e., what you need to do to satisfy every need of your client, every day.
Having an ideal service requires a lot of work. Your clients need to be convinced that they have been treated specially. In other words, you need to make people feel that you care about their concerns and needs. This can generate immediate results.
(C) Involve Everyone in Service Culture
It is important to note that if only one of your employees is willing to provide an ideal service, the company will not evolve. You need to communicate the ideal service to all employees in your business.
To do this, create a culture of good customer service. This is what represents the “C” in ICARE! In other words, encourage an environment focused on the needs of your customers.
As every culture of good service is unique, you need to have your vision and values, which fit perfectly into your business.
A vision can be generalized in a phrase like “We always want to meet the needs of our customers. “On the other hand, values need to be more specific and can be related to trust, quality or continuous improvement.
Together, your vision and values will be the foundation of your service culture. The clearer your vision and values, the better your services will be! That is why you must define what service means to you and ensure that everyone in your company also understands these concepts.
To get the message across, you’ll need to train your employees to learn how to provide great service. You will also need to create a sustainable plan that includes ongoing activities to maintain a high level of service. This may include the development of service goals, such as satisfaction rate targets and progress measures.
(A) Keep Your Customer’s Attention
Once you’ve established your service culture, you need to practice mindfulness, thinking about who your client is and what they want.
In other words, know your customer base!
Start by dividing your customer base into smaller groups by creating segments based on common needs or preferences. This will help you create specific consumer profiles.
Then collect some information. You may wonder: what are my clients’ preferences, what do they expect of me, and how can I meet their needs? Once you gather these answers, try to figure out how you will deliver a better service measurably.
This process is important because when you know your customers, you can treat them the way they expect to be treated. Studies show that it’s not just the first impression that matters; the last impression is equally important to the end customer experience.
For example, if a customer is treated badly only once, this event can destroy the whole relationship with the company, even if 99.9% of the time before the bad event, he felt well treated.
Knowing the customer also brings us personalization opportunities and the more personalization of your service, the happier your customers will be.
(R) Be Responsible
While it is important to know the needs of your client, this is not enough to achieve an unforgettable experience. You also need to show a willingness to meet those needs.
If you always have fast response, you amplify your attention to the customer. This makes you listen to your customers say things like “I felt appreciated” or “They care about me. ”
To achieve this, start by listening to your customers and find a way to ask the right questions, so they keep talking. While you are asking and listening, demonstrate empathy when using your verbal and non-verbal communication. One way to demonstrate empathy is to paraphrase the other person’s comments and emulate their feelings, which communicates that you are listening intently.
This step is very important when customers are dissatisfied because you will not be able to solve their problem if you do not understand what is wrong. Always remember: your customers are not the problem – the situation is the problem.
(E) Empower Your Employees
The last element in the ICARE model is empowering your employees. This is essential because frustrated employees are not going to deliver great service to customers. Employees need to be empowered to do what is necessary to provide great service, according to the company’s vision.
Sometimes managers are reluctant to empower their employees, but you need to remember that your front-line employees are the ones who make a difference to customers and not to company managers. Because of this, empowering every person who interacts with customers has a big impact.
One way to empower employees is to provide more training. By attending workshops where they can learn new skills and learn more about the company’s products, they become more qualified and thus can generate more value for customers.
Also, make sure your salespeople feel comfortable defending what they want and making suggestions to improve their products and services. Being empowered in this way will make your employees feel valuable and more motivated as well. This will result in better service for your customers, leading to better results for the company.
Evaluate if You Are on The Right Path
Businesses with customer-centric cultures work hard to maintain this. They develop dedicated support teams to address any service issues and to develop new skills for their employees. If you empower your employees, they will be happier in their jobs and will communicate their positive attitudes to their customers, who will benefit from better service.
Leaders who want to build an exceptional culture should evaluate the company by asking questions about their performance in each of the ‘ICARE’ phases:
Deliver an Ideal Service – Does the Company Work to Build Relationships? Is it customer-focused when performing tasks? Does she see service as a vital part of the business?
Develop a culture of service – Does your firm show you are willing to serve customers in every transaction? Does it apply its vision and values to help clients and works to create memorable events to build loyalty?
Demonstrate a culture of service – Does your company study external customers to understand their preferences? Does it work to make the first and last impression positive and to treat your employees as valuable internal customers?
Be responsive to customers – Does your business ask questions to understand what the customer wants? Does your company pay attention to customer non-verbal communication, work to resolve complaints, and develop employee skills to solve customer problems?
Empower employees – Does your team understand that you should communicate with managers on how to improve business processes? Do you encourage employees to improve their product, employment, and company knowledge? Do your employees continually seek new and better ways to work?
The ‘ICARE’ model was created as a way to assist managers who want to achieve a level of legendary service. Faced with today’s competitive business, companies need to look for ways to differentiate themselves and keep their loyal customers. If you offer an unforgettable experience, you are already far ahead of your competitors, focusing your business on customers.