Customer Feedback Keeps Your Business in Top Shape

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine leased a new GMC vehicle. As part of the lease, he received a complimentary 3-month subscription to OnStar, the service that keeps a driver safe, connected and ready for the road. As part of this service, he receives a diagnostic report on many aspects of the vehicle including transmission, emissions, brakes, airbags, tire pressure, and oil life remaining. The report also reminds the driver of mileage and maintenance needed. It really is an amazing report full of feedback on the condition of various systems of the vehicle. The diagnostic report is great feedback that helps a driver maintain a vehicle and keep it functioning safely.  What if the driver got feedback that there was a issue and didn’t take action to address the problem? The report would be worthless. The same is true for customer feedback. It is worthless unless it is used to make improvements. Businesses who care about customer experience put the feedback they receive into action. Consider the hotel chain who got consistently negative feedback from guests about its air adjustable beds. While the beds were initially loved by guests, they wore out quickly and became more uncomfortable than regular beds. Management at the hotel chain listened to the feedback and replaced the beds over time. Obviously this was a costly change but one kept loyal guests coming back. Take the example of a quick oil change company. Management had gotten negative feedback from customers that the television stations in some of the waiting areas were showing soap opera programs that were inappropriate for young children who were... read more

Ignoring Customers is Risky Business

Consistently providing great service was the foundation that made my businesses successful. Continuous communication and training ensured all employees deeply understood our customer service culture. I believe that all customer feedback is good, including feedback about problems. That is valuable information we can use to improve. In fact, a problem handled quickly and effectively often results in a more loyal customer. So, it amazes me when I interact with businesses that don’t seem to care and in fact, ignore customers. I had a bad experience with an upscale restaurant and sent in a web form about the situation. A month later, they haven’t responded to me. I know they received my web form because I immediately started to get marketing emails from them! A timely response would have had much more impact. Customer service is changing but it isn’t going away. Business can’t ignore customers. 50% of customers give a business only one week to respond before they stop doing business with them and 89% began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. So, I ‘m left wondering why this restaurant, as well as other businesses, ignore customers. Here are four of the top reasons I think businesses don’t respond. They don’t care  Businesses are willing to let bad service go unaddressed. They view problems as a part of doing business. Things do happen but customers deserve and want a response and an apology when things go wrong. 68% of customers expect higher levels of service than they did one year ago. Individual situations should be handled but more importantly, businesses should look at feedback over time... read more

Five Digital Customer Courtesies

Common customer courtesies are behaviors employees demonstrate that affect the customer experience. How customers feel they are being treated, greatly impacts whether they make a purchase and whether they return to make additional purchases. In fact, 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated and being treated poorly is the number one reason customers leave a business. Most businesses understand the importance of treating customers courteously when they walk through their doors. Acknowledging and greeting customers and a friendly, helpful attitude lets a customer know you care about them. A genuine interest in helping a customer find what they need or solve a problem positively impacts a customer’s experience and decision to continue to do business with you. How does a business transfer courteous behaviors to digital interactions such as emails, web forms or text messages? Our company offers a two-way text channel to businesses and we have identified five basic customer courtesies businesses overlook that can positively affect digital interactions. Timely Acknowledgement Just as you pick up a phone call within a few rings or greet a customer when they walk in the door, a digital message should be acknowledged promptly and handled as soon as possible. Think about how it feels to walk into a business and no one acknowledges you. The same applies to a digital message. Personally acknowledge a digital message from a customer. Let the customer know that you are handling their message and when they can expect a response. Use the Customer’s Name in a Warm Greeting Online interactions have an advantage of coming with some information... read more

Embrace Text Communication 

The first text message was sent almost 25 years ago. Today, 18.7 billion texts are sent EVERY day! Texting has become the most popular communication channel around the world, across all age groups. A Gallup poll found that sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for American adults under 50. Text communication is the most common form of communication for almost half of those over 50. Texting communication is real-time. Text interactions create faster exchanges between customers and businesses and reduce customer effort to contact businesses. Customers want quick, easy ways to resolve problems and get questions answered. Reducing customer effort increases customer loyalty, retention and spending. Businesses that open a text channel to their customers can reap benefits that result in both top line and bottom line growth. Here are five benefits of real-time communication for businesses. Improves Customer Service Customers are highly frustrated with having to contact a business multiple times to resolve an issue. In fact, 78% of customers have abandoned a transaction or not made an intended purchase due to a poor service experience. Text communication enables customers to easily reach the right person in a business with one message. Businesses can establish a knowledgeable team to respond quickly to answer questions or provide information. No more phone transfers, phone tag, web-forms,  or email exchanges. A robust text communication channel also allows businesses to proactively communicate with their customers, anticipating questions and building trust. Resolve Problems More Efficiently Customers don’t give businesses much time to resolve a problem with 50% leaving within 24 hours of experiencing a problem and 79%... read more

Attitude is Everything 

Experienced leaders know that they should hire for attitude, not skills. This is especially true for customer-facing employees. Mark Murphy, author Hiring for Attitude, tracked 20,000 new hires and found that 46% of them failed within 18 months. 89% of the time, the new hires failed due to problems associated with attitude. Attitude separates high performers from low performers and can affect the ability to work collaboratively with others, think innovatively, cope with failure and learn. Finding employees with the right attitude is especially important when hiring customer-facing employees. There is no definitive list of what those attitudes are. I have a list of attitudes that are foundational for all customer-facing employees. In addition to having empathy and being solution-oriented, employees with these foundational attitudes are ones that consistently provide WOW experiences for customers. Here are four I think rank high on the list. Patience Patience is defined as quiet, steady perseverance and even-tempered care. Clearly important when working with customers. Customers come to employees for help when they are confused, need direction, or have a problem. Taking the appropriate amount of time to understand and assist customers is better for that customer as well as for overall business. Read Customers In today’s world, employees aren’t always able to see customers face-to-face. In fact, they may not even hear a customer’s voice! They still must be able to read customers by looking for subtle cues about the customer’s mood, personality, and level of frustration. The ability to read customers and respond with empathy is also an important part of engaging and personalizing customer interactions. Flexibility  Customers are more diverse than ever, ranging from millennials... read more

Peoplocity Chosen for ACTE Global Conference

Peoplocity has been selected to present in the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) Global Education Conference to be held April 23-25 in New York City. Peoplocity was chosen as an innovative and disruptive technology that is influencing the future of the travel industry. Peoplocity will be one of the technology companies featured in the ACTE Commons, an open customized learning space based on the seven spokes of the ACTE Ferris Wheel. Peoplocity will be on stage to highlight how its two-way text communication channel is supporting both the modern business traveler’s expectations and providing travel managers with data and insights to better manage their programs. In its business travel segment, Peoplocity lets travel managers and travel management companies provide travelers with an efficient text communication channel to get feedback, manage issues and share information with business travelers throughout their trip, in real-time. Travel managers get more in-depth data and travelers feel more secure. Peoplocity Founder and CEO, George Klein, is a serial entrepreneur and executive with proven success in a variety of businesses. He has vast experience in all aspects of ownership and management of new businesses and turnarounds. The common denominator for success in all these businesses has been Klein’s ability to create a company-wide focus on providing best-in-class service. “Business travelers want to know they can easily get help while on the road. Travel managers, TMCs, and suppliers want to be able to efficiently interact with travelers to resolve issues and share important information before, during and after a trip. They also need feedback from travelers on their interactions with airlines, hotels and transportation,” comments Klein.... read more

Building a Lasting Culture of Employee Appreciation

Employee Appreciation Day is recognized on the first Friday in March. While an annual employee appreciation day is nice, building a lasting culture that values employees has a much greater impact. Businesses with a culture that values and engages employees enjoy higher productivity, lower absenteeism, lower turnover and higher profitability. Businesses that successfully build that culture also see positive results with customers. Numerous studies have found a direct link between engaged, happy employees and loyal, happy customers. Studies focused on employee engagement found that engaged employees are willing to go above and beyond for their companies and customers. There are many pieces that must work together to create a productive organizational culture. Here are three practices that build a culture that values and appreciates employees. Ask Employees For Feedback  Employees who interact with customers have a wealth of information about your customers. They are in the best position to understand customers’ likes and dislikes. They also understand how internal processes can be improved to better serve customers. Make employees a valued part of the business by asking them to watch for ways to improve how you interact with and serve customers. Establish methods for employees to regularly and easily share what they know. Value Employee Feedback Asking employees for feedback is not enough. Use the information they share to make changes that improve the experience for customers and for employees! Employees feel valued and appreciated when they see that their feedback is used to improve the organization.   Empower Employees Employees who feel valued, are motivated to go above and beyond to meet customer needs. Let them! Provide training to help employees understand customers as well... read more

Some Businesses Love Their Customers

It’s great to be loved by a business! You know the feeling. The warm, happy feeling you have when you walk out of a business and can’t wait to tell everyone about your special experience. Customer-friendly businesses know how to create that special feeling that make us loyal customers—for life! Customer-focused businesses make us feel special throughout our entire experience with them. They pay attention to details and provide the little extras that sweeten our experience. They make it easy for us to interact with them. And, of course, we love their products/services. Here a few companies that love their customers. Amazon Founded in 1994, Amazon has continued to evolve to become the largest online retailer in the world by total sales. Amazon is obsessed with customers! They offer customers almost anything they want, delivered quickly, often within 24 hours. Payment options are easy and the return process is painless. With a wide-range of products and services, they are an easy go-to for almost everything we need. Disney Who could not love Disney?! It’s the “Happiest Place on Earth,” creating “magical moments” at every possible opportunity. Disney creates an outstanding experience for guests starting long before we arrive and continuing throughout our visit. Disney pays close attention to every detail even creating an entire underground system for employees. Disney delights guests, creating loyal customers who return often. Nordstrom Nordstrom provides customers with many extras that delight customers and elevates the shopping experience above all others. Well trained sales people provide personal attention to shoppers throughout their shopping experience. Quality products with customer friendly policies make it easy to shop with... read more

It Pays to Go the Second Mile

I am always impressed with the service I receive when I go to Chick-fil-A. Employees, who are making at or slightly above minimum wage, consistently create a great experience. In fact, I feel like I get as great of an experience at Chick-fil-a as I do at many high-end restaurants. Chick-fil-A is proof that businesses at lower price points can provide a great experience that leads to high customer satisfaction and loyalty. Chick-fil-A employees do a lot of little things that create that great experience. They do things like carry trays, refill drinks, and bring napkins and condiments to the table. The drive through is typically managed by several employees who do things to move customers through the line very quickly. A second special touch is “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” or the all-to-common “no problem”. This slight change in language adds a touch of class to interactions and makes customers feel special. The company refers to these little extras as the “second mile service.” The first mile service covers the basic things customers expect. The second mile service includes the extras that lead to exceeding customer expectations. The second mile service culture has paid off for Chick-fil-A. The company has high customer service ratings and customer loyalty with about 15% of their customers considered raving fans who will go above and beyond for the company. The company enjoys double digit sales growth with just over 2,000 locations (McDonalds has over 36,000 locations) and tops all fast food restaurants in sales per restaurant. I believe that the second mile service approach has a positive impact on employees as... read more

3 Ways to Celebrate Your Customers like Disney

One question cast members ask at Disney: Are you celebrating anything?! Disney loves to celebrate their guests! And you should too! Here are 3 reasons why guests love to celebrate at Disney and ways you should celebrate your customers. Recognition At Disney one thing is guaranteed-FREE celebration button. Guests can get a button for birthdays, anniversaries, 1st visit, and I’m celebrating. These small tokens allow the guests to share why they are celebrating during their whole visit. Cast Members are trained to celebrate guests, recognizing the button, and by mentioning a simple happy birthday or a congratulations for being cancer-free. Celebrate customers with a small token, they are choosing to celebrate with you! These buttons have become a park staple, and you can find homemade ones at online shops. Disney fans can find a favorite option, Park Bound Buttons, here. No Questions Asked “Is it really your birthday?” Of course, Disney will never ask this question! No proof of birthday required. Usually guests won’t take advantage of this, however, do not assume that they are. Even if it is not the exact day of their birthday, celebrate it! Celebrate your customer with no questions asked! No doubt that the guests are trying to get freebies. Make each celebration a memorable one, so they will be back for the next one.   The Freebies Being trained to celebrate is an important part of working at Disney. Cast Members are taught to look for the buttons and to acknowledge them. Make memorable moments when you celebrate your customers.  I celebrated my birthday at Disney and the day was filled with 2 free desserts,... read more