You may have read in a Forbes article a few years ago that “Buyers want a great experience, and a huge part of that is exceptional customer service — but don’t confuse the two.”
The experience in so many instances is a journey that begins before the program operates, then during its operation, and afterwards when everyone returns home.
It really does include everything, and is not just a department aptly named “customer service” that tends to perk its ears up when the experience goes wrong.
The reality is that every employee, from the newest hire to the CEO, is part of customer service; and for that matter, the customer experience, whether it’s impacting the external customer, an internal customer, the experience the customer receives — or all three. Yet, what does the customer really want?
Here are some interesting pointers from the Forbes Achieving Customer Amazement research report. Of more than 1,000 people surveyed, when asked about what influences exceptional customer service:
- People want to be treated like a valued customer. That means treating them with dignity & respect.
- Customers are people, not account numbers.
- Customers want to know that when they contact you that you demonstrate knowledge & expertise.
- Customers want you to clearly show understanding of your products & services.
- Customers want to be recognized, that you know who they are.
The survey also touched on what influences poor customer service. We probably all agree on these top responses:
- Rudeness and apathy
- Not being treated like a valued customer
- Lack of knowledge and/or expertise
- Slow response times
- Having to repeat information
- Being put on hold
The biggest takeaway was the three words customers best felt described a great customer experience: fast, helpful and friendly.
In the world of incentive travel, we feel these can be equated and defined like this.
Pre-program — acknowledging client RFPs, responding in a timely manner, and making “buying” you easy and convenient, by creating simplified processes and procedures.
On-site — Arriving in a timely fashion, communicating with your client throughout to ensure they and their participants receive a top-quality experience every step of the way.
Post-program — Ensure the client event invoice is reconciled quickly and if you as the salesperson were not on-site, that you reach out to garner client feedback (good or poor), to feed back to your internal teams for all to learn from going forward.
Once upon a time, Bill Vastine, a Past President of SITE, reminded us that common sense just isn’t so common anymore. So now that you’re armed with common sense information on the basics of delivering an amazing customer service experience, share it!
We do that year-round with an aloha culture at Maui Jim Sunglasses. After all, without customers, we don’t have a business. Without employees, we cannot serve our customers.
Learn more about Maui Jim Corporate Gifts.