The following article is a how-to excerpt from “Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty.” Follow the instructions below to analyze the customer touchpoints in your department or at your business. Make an effort to enhance those touchpoints and watch your customer loyalty scores grow. 

A “customer touchpoint” is any point of contact you have with your customer, from an initial email correspondence or phone call through the purchase, and any subsequent communication about a service or product quality issue. And monitoring and enhancing these touchpoints is the secret to growing your customer loyalty.

In what specific ways do you provide an outstanding experience at those touchpoints? As you review each point of contact, choose how you will take responsibility to improve the customer experience. A great place to start is to diagram possible interactions that your Gladys may encounter.

Take a few minutes now and make a list of all of the major customer touchpoints – or the touchpoints that you manage – at your place of business. Be sure to include both in-person and virtual points of contact such as the entrance to your office, the telephone, email exchanges, your website, social media channels and more. Remember your internal customers, those inside your company who benefit from the work you do in any way. Consider each repetitive touchpoint with this group and how you personally manage their experience with you. Do you treat them as well as you do your external customers? For each area of interaction, using a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your current quality of service?

Touchpoints can include things like your company’s on-hold message or music, the time it takes to get an email or chat response, reading material in your lobby and any interaction your customer experiences, even if it may seem inconsequential. Are there things you can add or take away from each interaction to improve the quality of service?

Here’s a short list of examples to consider, all of which can make a big difference:

Personal Contact: Do you greet every Gladys with eye contact, a smile and a warm, genuine welcome when she arrives at your place of business? If you primarily care for customers using the telephone, do you include a warm, authentic smile in your voice when you speak to them? Do you read over every email or digital correspondence before you send it, to ensure it comes across as friendly?

The Five Senses: Make sure that what Gladys sees, hears, smells, feels and even tastes (coffee anyone?) at your place of business is Details Pave the Way to Loyalty 9 pleasing and represents your organization’s values. Is there a way you can amp up the experience?

What is Gladys Thinking? It helps to ask for feedback to measure the quality of the clients’ interactions with your company. You get what you measure, so tracking customer feedback over time is an important tool for improvement. There are so many methods for soliciting feedback, like a quick question at the end of a call. (“On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our service today?” Or maybe, “What could we do to give you an even better experience next time?”) You can also solicit feedback via an easy-to-use online survey tool like www.surveymonkey.com.

Track Your Customers’ Preferences: Ask your Gladys questions about her preferences, record those preferences and then use that information to be sure you’re properly meeting her needs the next time you do business with her. If there are issues that come up repeatedly or you have to request detailed information, pay attention to what approaches get the best response so that you become someone who continuously improves the experience for your customers. Be mindful of evolving your language as you “test and learn” what works best.

Please Note: Your particular set of touchpoints is unique to your business, so be sure to expand upon the examples we’ve provided.

Questions to Consider:

• On a scale of one to ten, how well do you serve different types of customers and their unique needs? How could you improve that score?

• Have you noticed if there are specific types of customers who are more enjoyable to work with than others? What could you do to better serve those who may not be the easiest for you to handle?

• Do you have a personal standard to make each touchpoint with customers and colleagues exemplary? If not, what would it take to create one?

Get your copy of “Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty” written by Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest here: Buy on Amazon

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Lori Jo Vest is the co-author of Who’s Your Gladys? and Taming Gladys! Learn more about Lori on LinkedIn: Lori Jo Vest, Consultant/Author

Like our posts?

Pick up our customer service bootcamp-in-a-book: Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty

Read our first book: Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan

Check Out Our Turnkey, In-house Customer Service Training Program:  The Customer Service Roadmap

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Soft skills training means a better travel experience.

Soft skills training means a better travel experience.

Is soft skills training important at the airport? Absolutely. It’s important everywhere, since research shows that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills.

For the traveler (customer), the level of airport customer service can severely impact the travel experience. Here’s one example of the difference soft skills training can make.

If you’ve ever been through a security clearance at the airport,  I’m willing to bet it’s not your favorite part of the trip. It had never been horrible for me, though on a recent quick trip to California, I knew I was in for “extra attention” from the TSA before I even left the house.

My passport had expired and I misplaced my driver’s license. I had gone in to get a new one and my proof of license renewal was a white piece of paper with no picture. Ugh. I headed off to make my flight and my experience with the folks at the security checkpoint in my hometown was definitely less than pleasant. I was in for a full body patdown and a thorough look through the contents of my bag.

It was an unpleasant experience, though the TSA agents weren’t actually doing anything blatantly wrong. They said what they’d been told to say. They did what they’d been told to do. And when the shoes in my bag gave a false positive on a substance test, they took all of my belongings out of each bag and laid them out on a table. I practiced some deep breathing and managed to keep myself calm through most of the experience. It wasn’t until the incident had stretched to 45 minutes in length and I’d been scolded by two different agents that I started to get upset and angry. By the time we were finished, my husband had called the TSA’s national office to complain. Whew! I finally got on the plane and the rest of this leg of the trip was uneventful.

When it was time to go back home, I hoped for the best from the Sacramento TSA team. I still didn’t have a photo identification so I knew I would again be subjected to “special attention.” Fortunately on my return trip, the woman who handled the screening, Maria, was obviously a trained professional. Trained in TSA screening? Obviously. But what made the biggest difference was her obvious experience with soft skills training.

It wasn’t until we were almost finished and I realized how pleasant it had been that Maria told me she had previously worked in retail. I briefly recounted my prior screening and complimented her on her customer service approach. “I’ve had training in customer service,” she said. “It’s not hard to be kind, even when you have to search through somebody’s bags. It’s really basic.”

Here’s how Maria’s soft skills training impacted my personal experience:

She made eye contact and introduced herself with an empathetic smile.

As soon as I met Maria, I felt important. Taking a warm service-oriented approach, she told me her name and asked mine. She was professional, but not cold, making small talk as we moved through the process.

She told me what she was going to do before she did it.

Step by step, Maria went through what she was going to do. “I will need to empty your bag though I promise you I will be careful with your things.”

She reassured me.

A TSA screening of any kind is nerve wracking, particularly when you’re expecting a full-body patdown. Maria had a calming demeanor and a warmth that was reassuring during a time of stress.

As Maria finished up my screening, we made small talk about my experience with the TSA at my home airport. She didn’t seem surprised, explaining why her demeanor was different from her fellow TSA staffers. “I worked for Safeway. We had customer service training,” she said. “Good people skills make everything so much easier for everybody.”

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Lori Jo Vest is the co-author of Who’s Your Gladys? and Taming Gladys! Learn more about Lori on LinkedIn: Lori Jo Vest, Consultant/Author

Like our posts?

Pick up our newest book: Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty

Read our first book: Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan

Check Out Our Turnkey, In-house Customer Service Training Program:  The Customer Service Roadmap

Book a dynamic keynote or training.

 

Frame from Trailer for New Customer Service BookUse this quick exercise to help everyone on your team to sharpen their service skills. It comes from our game-changing new customer service book, Taming Gladys: The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty which officially launches TODAY!

Team Exercise:

 Ask everyone on the team to pretend to be the customer and come up with one request that your company would have to reject. One by one, make the request and have each person write down his or her responses. 

Once written, have one person collect the answers and read them out loud. Repeat this with each team member’s customer request. You’ll notice the team becoming more skillful after each round. 

Why it works:

This simple exercise creates lasting changes in the way your team thinks and acts with customers. Why? They get to hear how their peers handle tough situations. They get to collaborate and practice new ways of approaching tough situations and share what they do that works. Doing this type of exercise will create positive changes in the way customers feel about your company.

Watch this trailer about our customer service book to learn more about Taming Gladys:

Our new customer service book Taming Gladys!gives you quick, easy-to-use-right-now ways of creating lasting customer loyalty that produces higher profits, word of mouth referrals and ongoing business success. Order your copy now and get a copy for everyone on your team. Check out our bonus offer at: www.TamingGladys.com