Very recently a post on LinkedIn and Facebook caught the attention of a number of people which showed a letter from Sainsbury to one of their customer named “Lily Robinson” who was only 3 ½ years old; why this letter was written? Well, the story goes when Lily was enthralled to see Sainsbury’s Tiger Bread but due to its texture, young Lily thought that it should be called “Giraffe” bread instead of “Tiger Bread. So she wrote the letter to the company and asks them the question. What should happen now? She is just a 3 year-old girl, and “Tiger Bread” is already a good brand, with good sales; so should the company care? Well, they do!
In response the Customer Care Manager, Chris Young, wrote:
I think renaming the tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea. It looks much more like blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it? It is called Tiger Bread because the first baker who made it a long time ago thought it looked stripes like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly
Alongside this letter there was a 3£ gift card and he said that Lily should visit Sainsbury with her mom and dad and spend this card there!
What we grasp from this story is two aspects of dealing with customers;
There is a rarity to the fact that customers do not report any normal routines or good behaviors; you need to ask them; but if there is an abnormality to the process then you shall get a call, a tense look or a complaint (Definitely). Now for this case the little girl notices something, took her time, and then wrote a letter to the company; Whereas we at the support side does not know exactly that how that customer felt while experiencing that anomaly in our system, we do know that it caught their attention;
Normally, being a support officer I would simply read or hear the complaint and have it recorded or forwarded to the relevant departments. In this case, we are not making sure that our customer felt that satisfaction or not, neither does the customer would care much as they know that the complaint is in the box and a response would come shortly, if not, then they would simply call again;
Things are a bit different under the scenario of creating a delighted customer, what Chris Young did, was a perfect example; He not only responded back, he also attached a gift card to let Lily knew that they care about the customers and want them back in their shop! What Chris did was based on a process (yes) but it also added that Self intuition and response which can only be triggered if we know exactly about our company, its values and the product it serves. Question is that how would we go about it? And can everyone do this?
Michael Arthur Johnson of Quality Club International has put up a recipe for crafting customer delight; which is:
Be Proactively Smart!
We need to work pro-actively in order to know about our customer’s needs and desires; for this we need to know who our customers are? For example, we are building a product for School Administration with extensions of the apps provided on the Smart Phones. Now, till the boundary of the system itself that it would be for the company users only; but for the sake of Smart Phone, we need to create statistics and data good enough so that we can encounter any member of the school with access to that application; Once we know where the inputs (Complaints / Inquiries) are going to flow in, we can handle them accordingly).
Know Your Customers
We also need to create a certain level of understanding as customer care givers that in incase if there is a complaint or a requirements then what we would be offering our customers in return; Now, we cannot offer them the gift items each time, because this is a like a inclining process; first comes the response (which is a must) and then an offer for help; then comes the time where you need to talk to them or guide them through their problem, and that would reveal if they need to be satisfied beyond your emailing or a meeting to have them on a comfort level.
“Hello sir may I offer you some help? And would you like to have some coffee or tea while you wait for you transaction to process?” this statement “Over Compensate” your behavior; it is not only polite (which everyone should be) but comes with a niche, where you are offering something beyond customer expectation; If you are on call, then the offer changes to the extension of availing some points, bonus, or a discount which can have your customer felt that I am compensated beyond my expectations;
Think of the later!
Your objective is not serving the coffee though! The whole action is encompassed on the actual requirement of the customer which initiated this all; For lily, the value is not the Gift Card, it’s the renaming of the bread; if Chris would have said that “Sorry we cannot change the bread name, but here is a gift card against your request, then it would not carry the value, it would be a short term experience of Lily, because after spending the card, she would look at the bread and say “These do look like Giraffe!, that manager did not told the truth”
Add a perk!
Suppose you are floor manager in a restaurant and your job is to stand where the customers queue while waiting for their orders; a customer come to you and says she is in a hurry and need to have her order served; Now, instead of listening to the customer you excused yourself and goes behind the counter and never responds back – (BAD!). In the second case you come to the line, request someone who is young to spare their place and let the lady take that place in the queue, but to add up During the process, make sure that the customer feels important and cared for? Don’t “hover over them” and don’t ignore them as well.
You need to be responsive in terms of the gesture and psychological inputs you are getting from customers. This may include their body language, actions, face expressions, pitch and tone of their voice, hand and head gestures and then you can evaluate what your contact of reference should be.
Retain – let them come back for more!
To create a retention flow, you may ask your customers if they would like some of their product or services; for example, while the plane is landing, the air hostess announced “Thank you for choosing out airline, those of you wish to travel to another destination may contact our field office for further assistance” – why she said that? Even anyone who is going to continue with the journey will know what to do. No, this is actually showing that you care for them!
Feedback and Follow-up
Feedback is necessary, while they have an experience with you, you can then ask their experience about it. You can ask them certain questions, or even talk to them in person of how they felt?
Research and Analyze
The process of care does not end when you hand over your best of service the customer or listen to their complaints and deal with their moods; it actually starts from that point and worked out in the after hour of the job. Where the data is analyzed, the feedbacks are recorded and proper actions are thought over and suggested it is where people sit together, put up their thinking hats and then improves the current process for the next day!
Get ready for the next!
Last but not least, a team must be ready and tip top for the next mission, rather going on rest breaks after one. A Team must look sharp and ready for action with attitude and body language. With the feedbacks and previous processes, a care team must re-organize themselves and then call in for the next assignment.
It is a never ending process, as Dr, Deming suggests in his Plan, Do Check and Act Cycle (PDCA Cycle), the wheel of process moves on from one input to the other output, and feedbacks coming in from Customers, Suppliers and internal teams. It will never halt, nor stop, and as the wheel moves, the company improves.
Customer Delight, the word seems very soft and delicate, but to cater for this word carries a whole new science – some of us, were practicing it since ages – but then if you do not label it, would tend to forget about it in the next couple of moments; But since the science is now labeled and with the inclusion of the experience, people amongst us shall transform this in to an art, it is just a matter of time!
Arslan Ali has more than 14 years of Experience related to IT, Industry and Training Institutions with exclusive experience of 5 years in teaching various disciplines and projects in IT Institution. He has worked in various roles in capacity of Software Engineering, Software Tester, Trainer and Quality Assurance Roles.
Arslan is currently an active member of TestersTestified and Outtabox as a training consultant. You can follow him on twitter @arslan0644