How many times have you called a customer support phone number and got a cranky representative -- or, stopped by a business to ask a question and had to interact with an inept, uninformed or even rude person? Probably more times than you’d like to recall. When you’re spending money with a company, you deserve to be treated well.
What’s a touchpoint? It’s every interaction a person has with a company -- in person, on the phone or online. Every company has a variety of touchpoints -- or opportunities to provide customers with positive, helpful experiences. As I tell entrepreneurs, it’s crucial to your business to make your customers your first priority.
For example, when someone answers your phone, are they friendly, courteous and professional, or do they brusquely “deal with” the call to get them off the line?
When someone emails your company, do employees wait forever to respond with a stock or canned email, or do they take the time to provide a personalized, respectful response?
In person, do your employees know the answers to the questions they’re being asked or offer to find them, or do they say “I don’t know?”
Hopefully, in all cases it’s the latter. This is why it’s important to educate your customer-facing employees on exactly what’s expected of them. Explain in detail what they’re supposed to do. Introduce role-playing exercises so they can demonstrate their understanding. And once they’re doing it, recognize them for the excellent work they’re doing.
When a customer -- current or prospective -- has a good experience with your staff, there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll not only buy what you’re selling, but also that they’ll tell others about your company as well. Good word-of-mouth has to be earned. Also, in the age of social media, it only helps you when someone posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram how much they enjoyed interacting with your company. Those are endorsements that can’t be bought.
On the other hand, if a person encounters a grumpy employee, or one who’s not listening actively or any of a number of negative situations in which your representative isn’t making him or her feel welcome and appreciated, bad word-of-mouth can result, causing damage.
Always strive to make the customer feel like the only person on earth at every single touchpoint. Be as helpful as possible, even when the customer isn’t being pleasant. Go over and above to ensure that they’re satisfied. Never argue, use unprofessional language or be critical.
And when your employees do encounter difficult customers, encourage the employees to let you or their supervisors know what happened. Sometimes, these people can be eventually won over. Make the commitment. It’s good for business.