What a Makeup Artist Taught Me About Customer Service

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This week, I’m filming video training for a client in Southern California. Each morning before we shoot, I get treated to makeup art by Christina, a talented, gorgeous and charismatic makeup artist.

The first day I worked with Christina, she asked me about what I teach in my videos and training classes. “I help frontline employees deliver the best possible customer experience,” I said. “Usually, I’m focused on helping people show concern and empathy and on handling difficult situations with diplomacy and tact.”

It turns out, Christina is not just an amazing makeup artist; she knows a thing or two about customer service. “When I worked at Nordstrom,” she told me, “I would notice how stingy my employees would be when customers would ask for makeup samples. But then if the same employees had a friend or their mother come in, they were so generous, friendly and fun. They’d be like, ‘Mom, you have to try this; let me give you these to take home!’” Continue reading “What a Makeup Artist Taught Me About Customer Service”

How to Talk to Your Employees About the Way They Talk to Customers

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My husband helping our son with homework a couple of nights ago

Story highlights

Maintain employees’ esteem when giving constructive feedback, so you protect the relationship and get behavior change

I’m sitting on my patio, with my feet up. It’s cloudy, and there’s a light breeze. Such a contrast to the oppressively hot and humid summer we’ve had

Sitting here on my patio I made a list of 50 things that I’m happy about right now. I do this exercise from time to time, whenever my mood needs lifting. Some of the things on my list are:

  • I got all of the wood polished.
  • Though Warren’s team lost, his spirit remains high.
  • ClearCorrect trusted me to train their team for the second time, and I’m fully prepared for the big day!
  • We had a fantastic getaway to Dallas, and I’m so glad Dad was able to join us.
  • My homemade lunch, Portobello Mushroom Burgers, and Sweet Potato Fries were amazing!
  • Michelle’s Dad’s cancer is gone! God is good!
  • My lunch yesterday with Toneille at the Vault was fantastic! The vegan food was fabulous, and I loved catching up with Toneille. 

My husband is one of the coaches on our son’s football team. We got beat 43 – 0 on Saturday. The loss felt as bad as it sounds. Right now my husband is sitting in front of the computer with my son watching game film. He was pointing out everything my son did wrong.

My son’s body language and tone told me my husband was bringing him down. That’s why I’m on the patio. I had to get out of the house.

Continue reading “How to Talk to Your Employees About the Way They Talk to Customers”

Yield to Callers (Don’t over talk or interrupt)

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I couldn’t remember the last time I got a really good photo of my daughter, other than the many snaps I take on my phone, so yesterday I grabbed my camera and had Lauren join me in the front yard.

“In front of the bird bath,” I told her. “That way the evergreen will be in the background, and it will be gorgeous.” She’s 16, and that means she’s tethered to her phone. Instead of posing for me, my daughter posed for the camera on her phone. Her smile was real and perfect. Her eyes lit up, and she was clearly enjoying the photo shoot, her photo shoot. Alas, the “Selfie Generation.”

Continue reading “Yield to Callers (Don’t over talk or interrupt)”

In rehearsal for this week’s keynote

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In rehearsal for this week’s Women’s Conference for the women of DFW Airport. They are going to LOVE this keynote!

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And I am loving this hotel. The Hyatt Regency DFW had these healthy and sweet treats waiting for me when I arrived. This is just what I need!

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What a nice touch to include a glass and complimentary bottled water.

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What It Means to Be Out of Harmony with Customers. A Lesson From Carl’s Jr.

 

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No, this is not a Carl’s Jr. veggie burger. Not even close. This is what a Veggie Burger Should Look Like.

My family decided on Carl’s Jr. for lunch. Fast food was the last thing I wanted, but I wanted to go with the flow with my kids. I quickly pulled up the Carl’s Jr menu on my iPhone and to my surprise and delight they have a veggie burger (I’m a vegetarian who eats vegan 99% of the time).

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On the website the Carl’s Jr. veggie burger looks delicious and they describe it this way:

Veg It.® – Guacamole Thickburger®

Feast on guacamole, Pepper Jack cheese and fresh fixings, all on a toasted sesame seed bun. The meat goes, but the flavor stays.

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This is perfect for me. I’ll simply hold the cheese and enjoy this flavorful veggie burger.

I’m the first to order. I order the Veg It, and please hold the cheese. The lady behind the counter says, “We don’t have any veggie burgers of any kind.” I tell her about the Veg It burger from the website. Again, she says they don’t have veggie burgers.

Ok, so I ask if they can make a veggie burger based on what I read on the website. I explain that the Carl’s Jr. Veg It has guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion and comes on a sesame seed bun. She sighs, looks like I am personally putting her out and takes my order. I’m delighted that I could at least request what I wanted and after my kids order, we take a seat and wait for our food.

To my chagrin, this is what I got. I open a burger container to see two large leaves of iceberg lettuce, a single tomato slice, and red onions that are less than fresh. On the side there is a plastic cup with guacamole. No bun is included, mind you.

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This is what they are calling the veggie burger. Wow. Um, wow. My neighbor’s rabbit would be disappointed in this meal. I was speechless. Actually, curse words ran through my mind. Were they really serious? I should have taken a picture of this thrown together mess. Instead, I closed up the carton and pushed it away.

I deliver a keynote I call “The Way of Harmony.” It’s about aligning an organization’s processes, people and products (or service) with the needs of customers.  When an organization is in harmony, the customer gets a delightful and memorable experience. When it’s out of harmony, customers are left disappointed and are at risk for defection and spreading negative word-of-mouth advertising.

Carl’s Jr. was out of harmony. The website listed a veggie burger, described it in a way that pleased my palate and even showed an image of a lush guacamole burger on the website. Yet, the store in Italy, Texas either had no idea that the company advertised the Veg It burger or didn’t care to make the burger.

Being out of harmony creates a frustrating negative experience for customers. It gets customers talking to their friends and family about the let down. It motivates people to tweet rants. It reduces the chances of customers coming back. Certainly, I’ll never return, not even for my kids.

Here’s a tip for any business that has a website, and that should be EVERY business. Make sure your actual product and service offerings are in harmony with what you advertise. When your advertisement is out of alignment with your actual offerings and experience, you confuse customers and send them running….to the competition.

Keeping the Customer Experience Fresh Through Responsiveness (How Hello Fresh delighted me by keeping me apprised)

 

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On Sunday I had to reach out to my grocery delivery service for help. I sent an email and almost immediately I received an automatic reply. The reply was simple, just letting me know that my email had been received.

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Hi there,

Thanks so much for getting in touch! 

We have received your email and will respond shortly.

While you wait, take a look at our FAQ’s at http://www.hellofresh.com/faq/, in case your answer lies there.

Lastly, if you need to make meal choice, update your payment details, cancel or pause your account, please login https://www.hellofresh.com/customer/account/login/.

Talk to you soon,

The Friendly Freshers

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I appreciate getting an immediate response to my query, even when I know this is an automated computer generated response. It lets me know my email successfully reached the company. It puts me at ease.

When I’ve contacted this company over email in the past, the response from a service rep is pretty fast, usually within 1-2 hours. But nearly 24 hours had passed and I hadn’t heard back from the company. It was Martin Luther King Day and I thought perhaps they were short-staffed with people taking the day off. My kids were out of school and my husband and I had also taken the day off. But, to my delight, exactly 24 hours after my initial email, I got a second automated email from the company.

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Hello, Myra,

We’re sorry we haven’t gotten back to you yet. We have received your message and will respond to you very shortly. Thank you for bearing with us.

If you have anything else to add, please just reply here http://hellofreshusa.zendesk.com/hc/requests/854899 and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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I loved this second email, so much so, that I took time out of my holiday weekend to sit down and talk to you about it.

Hello Fresh normally replies to emails within 1-2 hours. But this time they didn’t, but they proactively updated me. This little update, timed perfectly at 24 hours after my initial communication, assured me that my email did not get lost and that they were on top of things. This update kept me from losing confidence in the company and it took away any need for me to reach out again by email or telephone. It protected me from becoming upset or even worse; it protected me from defecting.

Keeping customers apprised via automated emails is brilliant. It puts customers at ease, helps customers feel confident that the company is working on the problem, and it keeps customers from feeling they need to reach out to the company a second time.

The customer experience needs to reduce customer effort, keep customers apprised and it’s a treat when the experience can delight customers. Hello Fresh did each of these things by simply having an automated response built in to launch 24 hours after my initial email.

When you don’t immediately acknowledge a customer a customer’s inquiry, they may wonder if their communication even reached you and this may prompt follow-up communication that cost you time and money. Failing to acknowledge customer inquiries and not providing updates can result in losing customer confidence and trust.

What You Can Do

Review one aspect of your customer experience and explore how you can reduce customer effort and keep customers apprised. If you’re feeling really creative, consider how you might add surprise or delight to this aspect of the customer experience.

The Bottom Line

 

The outcome of an automated customer apprising strategy is customers who are updated and less likely to have to follow up to check in, and your organization will build customer confidence and trust through proactive communication.

Myra Golden is a customer experience keynote speaker and trainer who travels North America looking for great stories to share, and new ways to help her clients deliver the best possible customer experience.