The first step towards creating positive memories with customers is to recognise the right place for memories based on your organisation and industry. Too often, organisations focus on making their customer service better, but don’t see the limitations that exist within their own industry. Often, these limits are boundaries worth breaking; however, when working in an organisation or industry for some time, people become oblivious to the opportunities that are out there that they can use to make their customer service stand out. It’s interesting as customer service often brings up humorous stories of negativity which people can gossip and write about, but it is these very things that serve as the answer to making change and creating positive memories with customers. The following four steps will lead organisations through this process.
1. Identify common beliefs
Be absolutely ruthless and come up with all of the common beliefs that may exist about your industry or company. This is hard because we are very cautious to not be negative about something we are so passionate about, so for your first time, try it with another industry. For example, let’s take a look at telephone provider call centres. My list would look something like this:
- Long periods on hold
- Hard to understand the person on the other end
- Temperamental voice recognition system
- Lots of repetition
- Transfers to multiple people
Now, whether I am right or wrong about these, I now have a list of five things that I can focus on in relation to customer service. Often when we look for pain-points we never know where to start and how accurate we will actually be, so it is best to look at it from a belief point of view because, correct or not, there will be a high chance that other people will feel the same way.
2. Know what you value
Now that you have a list of common beliefs, draw up another list of what you value. Often organisations try to get inside the minds of their customers too early and get caught up with the overabundance of information that will be sent to them that they won’t know where to begin. If you can create a list of things you value as a customer, you can be sure that other customers would feel the same way. Also if it is something that you are really passionate about, you will be able to take it further to create positive change. So, since I have come up with five in the previous list, I will try to think of five for this list (this one is easy because we know what we want!):
- Genuinely friendly staff
- Quick service
- Information available
- Clean environment
At this point, you can try to link the common beliefs that exist to what you value in customer service to look for similarities, actions or solutions to the common beliefs. This may take some time, and you have to look deep into the issue.
3. Identify a solution
In 1984, Kodak released a television commercial in Australia that ended with a very powerful message: “Could you trust these moments to anyone but Kodak?” Now, if I were to stereotype a camera-film company in the 1980s like in the first part of this blog, I may have come up with things like: fiddling with film rolls, waiting days for processing, always running out of film, and continual cost to buy new rolls of film. In light of the tag line on the TV commercial, however, I would only trust Kodak because of their focus and reputation on preserving precious and irreplaceable moments. What this demonstrates is the ability for organisations to look deeper into what they do, instead of superficially what they produce. It’s the ‘why’ or ‘common purpose’ which can help change the mindset of customers beyond the beliefs and stereotypes that exist.
4. Develop a unique point of differentiation
The last step in making your organisation leave a memory with your customers is to put the previous three steps together to determine your unique point of differentiation. Go through the industry beliefs, customer service values and the heart of what you do as an organisation and look for things that stand out from your competitors. If this is obvious, then there is significant opportunity to be able to take this further and increase the gap between you and your competition. If nothing stands out, then it is time to choose one area that you can focus on with your team to be different about. It is the things that are different, those that stand out from the common beliefs that exist about an organisation or industry, that will leave a lasting and positive memory with your customers — in turn, your unique point of differentiation.
Chris Smoje is a customer service speaker, trainer, facilitator and founder of the DIME™ Customer Service approach. Chris works with organisations and their people to develop a common interest and excitement about delivering exceptional customer service results: www.dimecustomerservice.com