There are so many things that impact our customers and their experience. We often try to figure out (and even after you think you know) what to focus on the most to create the best experience for our customers. What part of the experience deserves the most attention? What are the emotions that are most important to evoke? It can be very confusing and overwhelming.
While speaking, training and coaching, I explain that it is important to remember that there’s really only one strategy that will have the greatest overall impact on the customer experience. It is showing your customers that you “Care”! It’s impossible to have customers care for you if they don’t feel you care for them. Your care for them is mandatory; their care for you is optional.
“If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”
Caring for your customers is the main ingredient of the customer experience. It rules all things and honestly everything begins and ends with showing your customers that you care.
Care is the foundation of what you offer to your customers. You are offering to be of service, to be useful – something to benefit your customers – some combination of providing something that’s necessary, removing a pain point / reducing friction, or adding some comfort or pleasure in their lives. All those are good but how are your connecting with your customers emotionally? In a crowded marketplace, how you express those emotions of caring in the customer experience has become the only true difference maker.
How will customers know you care? They know. They “feel it!” Customers have incredible perceptions and can process lots of amounts of incoming information to form emotions and thoughts. They can tell clearly if you care about them or not from the messages you and your staff send them during the customer experience process.
Even in your written communications, customers can feel whether you’re speaking directly to them or not? Do they feel that you can relate to them, that you are interested in them? Is it clear that you know about them, their preferences, and past interactions? Is what you’re communicating relevant, personal and demonstrate empathy? What is your tone of voice when you talk with them, excited, enthusiastic, empathetic or robotic?
Businesses should focus on how to care for their customers everyday. The real question is how consciously do they do it? Most businesses don’t think about it and just focus on their products, services, marketing and operations. Many businesses that I have helped are not even aware of the customer experience as long as they are providing services.
Simple Ways to Show Your Customers That You Care:
- Be as good listener. Stop what you are doing and give your customer their full attention
- Show empathy. Put yourself in your customer’s shoe. Ask yourself, how would I feel..?
- Be “Interested” not just interesting. Engage in conversation with your customers to get to know them.
- Apologize if something went wrong.
- Take action and do something. Don’t just talk a good game, actually do something that will benefit your customer.
- Give them a little extra than they expected.
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Truly caring for your customers is the lifeblood of the Customer Experience and most importantly it flows through the hands of your team that ultimately delivers to your customers. It’s going to be very difficult to deliver a caring experience if your employees don’t care, especially if they don’t care about the customers, the product, the purpose, or the company.
Taking care of employees – showing that you care for them, is an essential ingredient to having them express that to your customers as well. Just like customers, employees pick up on this, too. If they’re not “feeling the love” then delivering the experience can often manifest itself through the filter of nothing more than an obligation to a paycheck.
“If we take great care of our employees they will take care of our guests.” – Walt Disney
Care doesn’t have to mean “cost.” Too often taking better care of customers or employees is confused with spending more on them. This is not necessarily true. Often times simply applying better care or demonstrating that you care can have a big impact on how they feel.
Unfortunately, when many businesses are experiencing problems in their business, the focus shifts away from the customer or employee. There’s seems to be far more caring about results, cutting costs, less training and what the business gets, than what the customer or employee gets.
In an increasingly competitive world, businesses that have customers and employees feeling “cared for” win. “Taking care of business” means taking care of customers and employees first and trusting that success will follow. Now that would be Magical!