Customers are having an experience with your offering, whether you want them to or not.
Events that usually make you wish you could erase Customers’ experiences include: staff not arriving for work, stock not arriving, previous shifts not completing their work or worse still not prepping for the next day, systems being down, equipment not working, thirdparties reneging on promises or delivery schedules, Customers arriving to empty promises … the list goes on and on.
Is there a way to deal with these challenges in a way that will at least ensure that Customers still have a positive experience, in spite of the glitches? The great news is there is… How? BE PREPARED!
Jot down all of the potential ‘What Ifs’ at each key stage of the Customer experience. An example could be ‘QUEUING’ – What if we are short staffed?, What if there is suddenly an influx of Customers at lunchtime? and so on. Now, get input from all involved in the Customer experience and discuss the best possible way of handling each of the ‘What ifs’ that would lead to the best possible Customer experience given the circumstances. This info should be jotted down and shared with all relevant roleplayers.
Some suggestions for easing the stress when things go south are:
- Always keep Customers informed about what is going on – you’ll be surprised how quickly the sting is taken out of agitated Customers when they receive information.
- Put a Manager where Customers can see him or her take control and have also where they have access to such a person.
- Use the LAER technique – LISTEN, ACKNOWLEDGE (the emotions), EXPLORE (alternatives/solutions/best case scenarios), RESPOND (in a way that makes the Customer feel you are both on the same side).
- Teach staff not to take it personally when a Customer lashes out – 9 times out of 10 they are responding to the situation NOT the person.
- Be extra appreciative of Customers’ business and let them know it.
- Debrief the day/shift with all roleplayers and review the ‘What if’ strategy – The ‘what worked, what didn’t work and what can we do better next time’ exercise is always useful.
Consciously work through the ‘what ifs’ of each Moment of Truth of your Customer experience, thereby strategically engineering the experience, so that when things go south, you are prepared!