[SSB#2] Kick-Ass customer service & 5 tips to keep them coming back
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
A newsletter from
Welcome to the 2nd edition of my newsletter "Supersonic Business", a fortnightly publication by me, Laura Landmark, with a focus on business growth, value and performance management, in other words, all things that make a business better.
Thanks for being here! P.S. Was this email forwarded to you? Get your own!
The Cabin, Norway, Saturday morning, 3rd August 2019 (my birthday!!!)
"Supersonic Business" is sent from me, a Management Accountant, to other Accountants, Finance Partners, CFO's, CEO's & those that have a leading position in business. The vision for the newsletter to share information, tips and tricks to build healthy, thriving businesses from the 'inside out', it is written from the finance and administration perspective.
I hope you enjoy [SSB#2], write to me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback or questions.
Rise n' shine friend!
As you may know, I have been travelling a lot over the last few weeks. Being out in the world naturally means getting exposed to lots more people and organisations than normal.
I have been on the receiving end of some shockingly bad customer service. Security people that didn't see me, as eye contact was didn't seem important (to them!), airline crew that hurried me along by barking orders instead of actually helping, and a bunch of glazed expressions and blank faces. All of which have left a mediocre (or worse) impression of the organisations they represent.
I wrote on Linked in of my disappointment in speaking to several people in an airline company and an insurance company to sort out things around the death of my father, and not one of them reacting to the fact that I have just suffered a deep loss. It was just business as usual.
HOWEVER, I don't like dwelling on doom and gloom, and I have also come across individuals that literally shine with empathy, compassion & purpose. Landing back in Norway last week, tired and hungry and longing to get home, I was shoving the suitcase trolly along with my two kids in tow, looking for my husband with the car. I clearly looked confused and one of the ground staff came up to me in the car park and said "you look a bit confused, how can I help you?". She literally restored my faith in human beings!
Then I started thinking about other times when people have gone over and above, like the lovely hospice staff that threw a small 50th anniversary party for my mum and dad just before he died. It was totally unexpected, a proper silver service, with tea, small sandwiches and cakes. They even presented my mum with a bunch of flowers from the team, and my dad as he was not in a position to buy a gift for her. So thoughtful, my mum was really touched. So great service happens, but is in relatively short supply compared the the vast quantity of unmemorable, or tepid interactions we experience.
Since I wrote the first part of this newsletter I have been out on even more travels, actively looking for a great customer experience. Watch this short video about my search for a smile, (beware, watch out for cheesy grins!)
click here for a link to the video if it doesn't start.
Whats the deal?
So why is an accountant writing about customer service? What's that got to do with the numbers? Is that not more for a marketing newsletter you may be asking?. Absolutely not. The quality of your customer service has a huge bearing on your results.
Just google it, there are so many statistics relating good customer service to better business outcomes. For example Harvard Business Review (my favourite magazine) say that retaining 5% more customers can lead to 25%-95% more profits, that's extraordinary. And we have all heard it before, but attracting new customers is significantly more expensive than retaining the ones you have, Kolsky say 6-7 times more expensive in fact. So there are many reasons for accountants to be concerned about keeping customers happy.
PS. I write this newsletter from the perspective of belonging. For example if I say "your" company, I mean your company or your clients company with the idea that if you are appointed as an external accountant or virtual CFO, you are still a critical member of the team (and it makes my writing easier!)
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Why do customers leave?
Before we get into what we can do to satisfy customers, lets address why they ever leave. there is one main reason. They leave because they think you don't care!
Just think about that, its not because a competitor poaches them, or that they are very unsatisfied with your products or service. Over two thirds of them just quietly walk away from you because you, YOU, have failed to give them a reason not to.
This gives us all a massive opportunity to do little (or big) things to help them to stick around. This is good news, as keeping people, PEOPLE, happy is not rocket science.
Kick-Ass customer service
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the most emphatic customer service representatives that rate highest, but the ones that are prepared to step up and take control. When we have a problem we don't want cozyness and fuzzyness, we want action!
One of the keys to being in control is to listen, this is so you can understand quickly, take charge and deliver fast.
Five tips to keep them coming back
I love this article by Shep Hyken, the "Chief Amazement Officer" at Shephard Presentations, what a title! He explains that the customer journey must be predictable and consistent to keep them coming back; consistently good one would hope!
He explains that a repeat customer is not a loyal customer, loyalty comes over time, once they have really built trust with you, just like any other sort of relationship really.
He says we should avoid the term "closing the customer", as we should nurture our customers, and open up the relationship with them. I imagine this to be like a flower blooming; vs "closing a customer" which gives more of the impression of cutting them off and sticking them in a box (brutal!).
And finally he introduced me to a new expression. Its not B2B or B2C, but P2P (people to people). I love it, that is totally what we need, more "peopleness"!
Making Decisions Intelligent
High performing customer experience professionals (CX) claim that making data driven decisions is key to good performance. They say we need metrics to measure the customer on a journey through the entire organisation, and then we need to use these analytics and KPIs to make better decisions, this is imperative if we are going to stay ahead of the game.
Many organisations are still struggling to know where to start with implementing a business intelligence solution however, they have little knowledge of what is involved, how much it will cost, or how long it will take.
Luckily this is our area of expertise, taking piles of disconnected data and turning it into something insightful and useful is something we do on a daily basis. Contact me if you have questions around this.
Customer service quiz - how good are you?
Take this Customer service quiz to see how good you are at keeping your peeps happy.
The value of a smile
So here is the article I referred to in my video. Loads of good reasons to bear those nashers (teeth!). Happy Saturday.
Did you know?
Businesses that deliver better customer service obtain revenues 4-8% higher than their competitors - Bain & Company
Words of wisdom
Books on the bedside table this week.
“ “In a crowded and distracted world, leaders must develop clarity in order to rise above the competition, create better relationships, and grow their business"
Top Tip - ghosting be gone!
I sent an email this week that warranted a quick response (in my opinion). Maybe I am being unfair, but I expected a quick reply and didn't get one. These days even a 24 hour turnaround seems slow.
I appreciate that not everyone is hovering on their email waiting to react to my every need, but had either of these people acknowledged receipt of the mail, and said they would get back to me later, it would have managed my expectations and made me feel connected and respected. Instead I am left hanging.
In the spirit of good customer service, or shall we say good people service, lets take the time to treat others as we like to be treated ourselves.
Always end with a thanks!
🙏Thanks to my new connection Per Hennung who said something this week that warmed my heart; and to Anders Liu-Lindberg for being a pioneer in the future of finance, and for being ready to chop up the annual budget with a carving knife. Love it!
Thanks for reading & see you next time
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