The six worst words in business have nothing to do with EBITA, ROI or the bottom line, although they can affect all three.
“We’ve always done it that way” is one phrase that customer service expert and motivational speaker Rob Bell would like banned. He brought his common sense message about customer service and treating people well, laced with humor and personal anecdotes, to a crowded room of Heartland Conference attendees.
Handling unhappy customers is part of doing business, but here’s the bad news: Only 4 percent of dissatisfied customers will let you know they’re displeased. Instead, they’ll tell everyone they know and post the bad words about your business on social media, and according to Rob, it can take up to 10 years to change a reputation for poor service. The biggest reason customers are dissatisfied is indifferent employees.
He uses the acronym CLEAR to illustrate how to handle a complaint: Calm, Listen (and offer no excuses), Empathy, Apology and Remedy. Thank the person for letting you know. “Let me tell you what I can do” will soothe ruffled feathers more successfully than “It’s against our policy.”
Amazing service earns loyalty, and “loyal people tell others ‘This is who you want to do business with’,” he says. “All things being equal, people want to do business with friends.”
People also want to work with colleagues who have “chosen to enjoy their jobs,” Rob says, warning against “becoming more task-oriented than people-oriented. The first priority is people.” Consistent behavior is important, so people know how to behave around you. Every relationship is built on trust so Rob says DWYSYWD – Do What You Say You Will Do.
During his years on the speaking circuit, he’s polled audiences to come up with his Top 10 list of what customers like about businesses.
- Being pleasant and friendly
- Listening to customers
- Being knowledgeable about the products and services you offer
- Calling customers by name
- Offering help when customers need assistance
- Being accurate
- Responding appropriately to questions
- Handling complaints professionally
- Keeping all areas clean
- Serving with a sense of urgency
No business wants to be “average” or “satisfactory.” All want to wow their customers. Rob’s Satisfaction versus Loyalty chart illustrates the difference:
Know your customers Impress your customers (make them feel important)
Understand their needs Anticipate their needs
Deliver what they want Deliver more than they want
Use your head (science) Use your heart (emotion)
Do it predictably Do it with exciting spontaneity
He shared some other thoughts with an appreciative audience:
- Live with an attitude of gratitude
- QTIP – Quit Taking It Personally (get your ego out of the equation)
- The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, and
- New ideas won’t make you successful. Acting on new ideas will.
View Rob’s thoughts on one of his main themes: The Power of Positive Words