Posts Tagged ‘ customer ’

What I learned about customer service from an American Golf employee!

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Customer service is something we all come across in our daily lives. It can be used as a key differentiator for you and your company. 9 out of 10 US consumers said they would pay more for a superior service. I want to share with you a customer service experience I had a few weeks ago and how this made me feel valued.

Background

I wanted to buy my partner (Daniel) Golf clubs for Christmas. I initially searched on line for the best deal but didn’t have a clue what I needed, so decided to visit American Golf.  The guy serving me knew I didn’t know much about clubs, so he advised what I should buy and gave me a 30 minute personal fitting voucher so I could return with Daniel.

A few weeks ago we took the clubs back to American Golf for our 30 minute personal fitting to find out how they needed to be altered. All of which was free of charge. We turned up and a man came up to us straight away asking, ‘how can I help you’. I explained about the voucher and he took us to the area where men/women hit golf balls into a net (I apologize to golf fans in advance, I am not a golfer).

My Customer Service Experience

Working in training and development I am always looking out for great customer service and learning why these people behave the way they do. So I am going to tell you what I learned from this young gentleman, Mark, a few weeks ago.

  • It doesn’t matter who made the sale, the client is your customer and you must help them – When Mark asked me who sold me the clubs, he said ‘he isn’t in today, but I can help you’. So often in sales roles we are concerned with ‘MY’ client rather than ‘OUR’. We look out for self interest rather than the company’s interest. It is vital that an organization creates a team culture, rather than an ‘I’ culture.
  • You need to know what you are talking about – When Dan was swinging the golf clubs into the net, Mark was making notes. He could tell instantly what Dan needed, however he still followed the process of checking each detail to make sure that they altered the golf clubs just right. (If you are interested in the fitting process please see the below YouTube clip) 78% of customer satisfaction comes from a competent service rep.
  • The manager needs to train you up and let you go   I asked Mark how he had learned what he had. He mentioned that when he first started, his manager told him all he needed to know (direction). The manager then asked him to fit him with the right golf clubs following the process and equipment they had. He also mentioned that the manager encourages them to play golf and to always be on the lookout for opportunities of watching friends using their clubs.

When I was in American Golf the manager didn’t get involved once. He let his employee who obviously knew what he was talking about get on with it. This showed to me as the customer, that the manager trusted Mark to do a good job, and he did.

Why am I telling this story?

Customer service isn’t rocket science, yet it can create huge financial benefits to your company. 7 out of 10 people say they would spend more with companies who offered excellent customer service.

American Golf created a culture where employees feel empowered and trusted to do a good job. It also showed me there is a strong link between leadership and customer service. Without the right environment, Mark wouldn’t have been able to offer the great customer service that he did. The outcome of this great customer service is that I will always shop at American Golf and I will strongly recommend them.

All statistics are taken from helpscout . The American Golf store is in Guildford, UK.

The Look of Ethical Leadership

Call me idealistic, but I want more from Gen X and Gen Y when it comes to leadership. I want to see us go beyond the standard leadership stereotypes to something more global, accepting, and inclusive. To encourage non-typical leadership types to emerge and develop.

Can you imagine what it might look like if high-potentials weren’t chosen based on how well they fit the corporate image, but instead on how well they treat others? Have we gone overboard with making sure leaders present themselves a certain way as seen in the following video?

Sure, they all have the right corporate image, but is that what the leader of the future should be? What if these guys in the following video were the most ethical leaders you would ever met…

What about those people you work with right now who might not say the right corporate buzz-words, wear the right clothes, or graduate from the right schools?

What if instead, true leaders naturally emerge because everyone whom they come into contact with experiences a solid trustworthy person. When faced with the decision between right or wrong without hesitation he or she takes the ethical high-road. They might not have the right hair, but go out of their way to give credit to the entry-level employee with the bright idea that just made the company millions.

Maybe leadership looks more like the quiet co-worker who detests public speaking and back-to-back meetings, but whose character is unmistakable. Maybe it’s the guy who knows nothing about golf and can’t stand wearing polo shirts or it’s the girl who really doesn’t want to hide her tattoo because it’s part of who she is.

The Look of Ethical LeadershipWhat if tomorrow’s leaders are more about the inside than the outside? Less about the look and more about how they make you feel. Can you imagine? What if tomorrow’s leaders make good decisions, treat people well, and have brilliant ideas, but don’t look or sound the part.

I realize that in a global context, defining what it means to be an ethical leader will differ slightly, but the idealist in me once again asks whether we can move to a broader view of what an ethical leader should look like…

…to a leader who treats others with respect at every given opportunity, someone who is inclusive in encouraging dissenting opinions and viewpoints. Someone who really hears the thoughts and ideas of others, who doesn’t hold an employee’s title over his or her head as a mark of competence, and instead encourages all people regardless of background to lead at all times in everything they do.

All regardless image. Can you imagine…something different?

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Cheryl DePonte is a Human Resources Learning and Performance Specialist at The Ken Blanchard Companies and has over 15 years experience in the fields of organizational effectiveness and human resources development.

The Customer Is Always Right

What was the first basic rule of business you ever learned? Here’s a hint, it’s the title of this post. C’mon, say it with me, “the customer is always right.” Great job gang. Gold stars for everyone.

At first glance, this is a pretty bold statement. And let’s be honest, nobody is always right. Unless of course you’re like me and have occassionally used, and abused, this statement in response to receiving poor customer service. But putting our self-serving interests aside, let’s examine this general principle in an attempt to interpret it’s true meaning.

First, who is this customer person? The customer isn’t just someone paying money for a product or service. The customer can be anyone you have an interaction with. In the business world we can break our customers up into two groups, internal and external. Internal customers are people in your organization such as your boss, your direct reports, and your peers. External customers are your organization’s clients. In your personal life, everyone qualifies as a potential customer. Everyone? Yes, everyone. Make sure you remember this when your wife asks you to take out the garbage tonight.

Next, what does always right really mean? Well, sometimes the customer actually is right. If you give your customer $5 change after they hand you a $20 bill to pay for something that costs $10, they are right in asking you for the $5 you shorted them. More often than not, however, it won’t be this simple. In fact, in many cases the customer is actually wrong.

This is where you say, “well Adam, how can the customer always be right when I know they’re wrong?” Well my friends, let me explain. When the customer is wrong, or feels wronged, what they really want is to be heard, to know that someone empathizes with them, and that someone is going to help them to the best of their ability. This means that even when they’re wrong, treat them like they’re right. Using the wife example, when she reminds you tonight that she asked you to take out the garbage an hour ago, even though it’s only been 15 minutes, simply apologize for the delay and cheerfully take out the garbage.

I was at the doctor’s office last week and witnessed a major failure of this most basic of customer service philosophies. A patient walks up to the front desk to check in. She is told that the doctor has called in sick for the day but the office tried to call her 20 minutes prior to her arrival. An argument then follows over what number the office used to try to contact the patient. Frustration peaks when the patient angrily instructs the office to delete all contact numbers but her cell phone number, the one number they apparently did not try, because “don’t you know that nobody even uses their home numbers these days because we’re all very busy?!?!”

While the rationale behind that statement might be slightly flawed, the impact was very real. The patient wanted to be heard and empathized with. She wanted an acceptable solution. She wanted to hear something like this:

“I understand how frustrating and inconvenient this is. Your doctor is concerned with your well-being and the well-being of his other patients and did not want to risk getting anyone else sick. I apologize that we were unable to contact you in time because we had the wrong primary phone number but let’s correct that now and reschedule your appointment for a time that’s convenient for you.”

Remember that everyone is a customer. Treat your customers like you would want to be treated. And for goodness sake, please take out the trash already.

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