Let me tell you a story…
Jess walked into a salon, ready to be pampered, uplifted and try out a new look. More than anything, she was ready to take a break from her day-to-day and become a bit happier than then when she walked in.
Settling into the chair in the lobby, Jess excitedly thumbs through the hairstyle lookbooks – considering every possible highlight, bold color and edgy cut she sees… trying to create a look that’s new and fresh.
She’s called to the stylist’s chair and excitedly prepares to express her ideas and collaborate on a new look.
Instead, Jess isn’t as much as greeted – before a cape is swept over her, fastened and she’s turned away from the mirror. The stylist begins cutting and leaving Jess to hope for the best.
Minutes later, she’s turned to face the mirror for the reveal she’s been waiting for. But, she doesn’t recognize herself in the reflection. Not because she’s sporting a cutting edge style as she’d seen in the lookbooks, but because her hair has been cut into the cookie-cutter-cut of the moment. In fact… the style looks almost identical to the one her stylist is sporting.
Jess steps out of the salon – a $100 lighter than she entered – left with a haircut she didn’t want, doesn’t understand and one that she can’t quite style without a hair tie. The experience was anything but positive.
There were no questions asked.
There was no consultation.
There was a process that was completed – coldly, with no care, and no customer service.
I would be lying if I said I have never had a ‘Jess’ experience, or that these experiences were limited to hairstyling. In fact, if I think about it, more often than not, this ‘cookie-cutter’ experience is 90% the norm. It’s really rare to experience quality customer service.
Think about it – when was the last time you received an experience that was spot-on to what you paid for? And I’m not talking about paying more for the VIP treatment. I’m talking about feeling like you got your money’s worth, whether it be for a service, or a product.
If I flip the switch, it makes me also examine my own customer service. Do I treat my clients like VIPs? Do I ensure they feel like they are receiving their money’s worth? Or, is my delivery or interaction with them ‘cookie-cutter’? So often, we tend to work with our clients based on their interactions with us…but, shouldn’t it be the other way around?
[bctt tweet=”Best rule for ensuring good customer service? Deliver the service YOU expect. #DoUntoOthers” username=”freshtakepro”]
We’ve all heard the expression ‘ the squeaky wheel gets the grease’. We are always told to ‘make sure you get what you pay for’. And, if you are in the ‘service based’ business category, you know that there are two types of clients… the ones you love to work with and the ones that drive you to quit.
Examine this for a minute… sure, some people are just tough. I get it. But, could it be that an expectation was given, at the beginning, and just never quite landed the way it should? Are your ‘tough’ clients just feeling like Jess and walking in with an expectation that was never met?
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my work, my schedule, and the way I interact with clients, and my team.
In full disclosure, I have been experiencing some pain points in my business and felt I needed to take a step back, and examine my own workflow, and by extension, my own customer service and user experience.
I’ve been asking myself questions like:
Have I inadvertently set the wrong expectations by not having a clearer onboarding processes?
From a client’s perspective – have I effectively relayed the way I work? My office hours, my project management workflow (both for projects and for communication with them)?
Am I helping to correct my pain point or making it worse because expectations aren’t clear?
What does my correspondence with them look like? Is it cheery? Helpful?
Have I truly delivered the experience I want them to have?
Upon reflection, I realized I, in some ways, was being the ‘cookie-cutter’ hairdresser’. I didn’t mean to be, but, due to my taxed schedule, I was plugging in times to implement, finish projects, etc., but, missing the effective communication piece – the piece that relays and helps meet the original expectation.
So, what did I do? I went back to the drawing board.
I examined every facet of my client (and team) experiences, making notes and adjustments to my workflow. Why? Because there I don’t want my clients, or team, to ever feel like they are just a number to me. I know what that feels like, and I don’t want the ‘Jess’ experience to be MY norm.
If my goal at the beginning of my working relationship with someone is to have them walk away with clarity, and resolution, but, instead they feel confused and uncertain, I’m failing. Period.
I don’t ever want to give my clients, or my team, the ‘Jess’ feeling. Part of my company culture, and a philosophy that I try to live by daily is ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. So, for me, correcting this issue was vital.
Did it happen overnight? No.
But, slowly, through one conversation at a time, I was able to slowly get my customer service back on track. It’s still not VIP, but, daily, I aim to get closer to that.
It’s important to me…is it important to you?
When was the last time you had a GOOD customer service experience?
Consider the last customer service interaction (whether you were the customer or the provider) where you felt cared about, where the expectations were not only set, but understood. What set that experience apart from the others?