Think back to a time when you were at a coffee shop or restaurant and the service just rubbed you the wrong way. One offhand remark or a lone sign of disinterest meant the difference between you deciding to come back and you running far, far away. Now, recall a time when a business gave you an experience so positive that it made you feel at home. Perhaps it came from an employee who taught you something new about a product, or one who rang you up with a smile so genuine you could hear it over the phone.
In Legendary Service, Ken Blanchard, Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halse explain that these kinds of scenarios make or break a business in today’s society. We’ve come to expect top-notch service in everything.
For business owners, delivering on that great of an expectation has become a universal indicator of integrity. Make your service good, and you have a solid chance of getting people to walk back through your door time and time again. Providing outstanding service takes dedication on multiple levels, but the foundation is always the same: the relationships you build.
To create an environment that’s conducive to legendary service, nurture relationships every chance you get! Let’s look at two groups of people you’ll want to build relationships with as a manager.
The internal customers: These are your employees – the first touchpoint between customers and your business. If they’re motivated, they’ll spread the enthusiasm to your customers every chance they get. If they’d rather stay at home under the covers than show up for the job, then not only do they have some ‘splainin’ to do, but they’ll need to work with you in repairing the relationship that was obviously damaged somewhere along the way.
The external customers: These are your clients. You’ll want to give them service so consistent and so exceptional that they’ll feel bound to your business. Don’t give them an inkling of a reason to stop coming back!
Using the ICARE Model to build relationships
Building lasting, positive relationships can be easier said than done. But that’s where the ICARE model comes in. Use it as a guide in your customer service training to ensure you’re striving for the right goals.
I is for Ideal Service This means making service so important at your company that all customers’ needs and wants are met, every single day. Ideal service makes each customer feel special. If someone remembers your relaxed demeanor or your helpful suggestion for the rest of the week, then you’ve succeeded.
C is for Culture of Service This is like branding for your customer service. It has two components: vision and value. A vision might be a statement such as, “We want customers to feel at ease with us.” Values might be things like trust, quality or continuous improvement. Overall, you’ll want to be sure your Culture of Service is defined and that everyone in your company understands it.
A is for Attentiveness If you’re attentive, it means you’re collecting information about your customer’s needs and preferences. This is the most valuable information you can have!
R is for Responsiveness This is how you make your customers feel. Responsiveness is a surefire way to make a big impact, so take this chance to win people over. A responsive employee might make a customer say, “I felt cared for, like she was on my side.”
E is for Empowerment of Employees If you’re hoping to have great service without encouraging the empowerment of your employees, you might as well lay out a roadmap to mediocrity. Be sure to take care of employees with rewards, quality customer service training, and positive encouragement. That way, you’ll know they have power and initiative to deliver their best possible work.
We can all benefit from learning more about great service. Read up on more tips from Ken Blanchard, Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halse in Legendary Service, or get the critical points from the summary on Blinkist. You’ll learn:
– Why you should know if your customer prefers pretzels or popcorn;
– How to empower employees to be accountable for customer service; and
– How a waving bear made a grandmother’s day.