These days, it’s all too easy to assume customers are delighted while, in reality, they often have one foot out the door with an eye trained on one of your many competitors. Is there a way to tell if your company needs a service overhaul … before your customers take their leave?
“Signs that you need to pay more attention to the customer experience can be very subtle,” warns Joseph Michelli, author of Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience. “The good news is, knowing and paying attention to these red flags can help you correct your course while there’s still time to recapture your customers’ loyalty.”
Red Flag #1. You’re not asking your customers how they feel
Making assumptions about how customers “seem to feel” isn’t good enough.
“It’s possible that you’re flat-lining and you don’t even know it yet,” Michelli says. “Consistently harvesting customers’ opinions is the only way to keep your finger on the pulse of their service experience.”
Red Flag #2. You aren’t taking a customer’s-eye view of the service experience
Sure, you might be investing plenty of time, money and energy in making customer service improvements. But if you haven’t taken the time to map and design the service experience from the customer’s perspective, you’ll inevitably do a lot of work that’s irrelevant.
“It’s important to take a holistic view of the customer’s journey at all touchpoints, ‘cradle to grave,’ even beyond the transaction,” Michelli says. “If you don’t, sooner or later, all of your incremental efforts at positive change are going to miss the mark.”
Red Flag #3. Your social media strategy is halfhearted or nonexistent
No matter how popular or established your company is, no matter how loyal you think your customers are, you need to establish a social media strategy.
“The young market doesn’t look up companies in the Yellow Pages,” says Michelli. “Often, they don’t even use email when they need help or want to ask a question. They turn to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But this isn’t just about millennial customers – even baby boomers are deeply interactive online. If you don’t make it easy for customers of all ages to contact and engage with you in the way they prefer, you’re treading on thin ice.”
A working, updated and intuitive website is also a strategic advantage in today’s world.
Red Flag #4. You’re not listening to what people are saying about you online
Maintaining an active, updated social media presence is only half the online equation.
“If you’re not monitoring what people are saying about your company, your competitors, and your industry in general, it’s just a matter of time before you find yourself wondering what went wrong,” Michelli says. “But be aware: Managing the online chatter doesn’t mean trying to argue with critics; it means really trying to fix problems and turn those critics into advocates.”
Red Flag #5. You aren’t transforming prospects into buyers
If you’re not closing the sale, it’s not them – it’s you. Your efforts to serve and engage potential customers aren’t working, and it’s high time for an overhaul.
Red Flag #6. You take a laissez-faire approach to referrals
Tracking referral business and rewarding referrals is an important part of providing outstanding post-transaction service.
“You’ve got to leverage your existing zealots to generate business and to make sure they continue to choose you instead of your competitors,” says Michelli. “Great service brands teach their staff how to help their customers effectively refer them to other like-minded consumers.”
Red Flag #7. Your turnover exceeds paint industry standards
Yes, some employee turnover is healthy. A certain percentage of your population has to move to keep your organization dynamic. And if it’s the “right” people who leave (i.e., low performers), all the better. But if your turnover is approaching or exceeds industry norms, you have cause for concern.
“Large pockets of turnover are often reflective of an unhealthy culture – and unhappy, disengaged employees do not provide outstanding service,” Michelli says. “Plus, during tumultuous turnover, your customers are interacting with a new brand every day. They’re not getting the benefit of seasoned service professionals who have a great deal of corporate knowledge and product knowledge, as well as the type of enthusiasm that becomes infectious in the life of the customer.”
This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of PPC magazine. Get more business building tips here. You can also learn more about providing exceptional customer service at josephmichelli.com.