Are You In The 1%

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this you must have your consistency perfected or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a huge increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at once or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!

While, rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers and consistency is the key to how you deliver it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you’ve learned a lot about good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons try our GUIDED TOUR and get access to some of the best resources, tools, and coaches available.

In upcoming posts, we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.

Deliver +1

In a recent post, I talked about how to figure out what your customers want out of a positive shopping experience. Today we’ll talk about the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. I’ve decided to split up this post so the next one will cover the 1% Rule.

Consistency is the key to any great customer service experience. If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience.

There are three ways to develop consistency:

Avoid offering too many customer service options. 

We sometimes get so caught up in giving customers what they want we get away from our original vision. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition.

You need to fine-tune the current systems you are using before you can add anything to the mix. There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system.

Put solid systems into place.

Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consist of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.

Good training is the key.

Once you have your system in place you need to train people to use it properly and efficiently. This helps your people deliver the results your customers are looking for. While training is essential for the system to work and for all your people to work together cohesively, appreciation will go a long way.

I hope this has given you a look into what you need to do in order to have a quality customer service system in place. If you need help, try our GUIDED TOUR and gain access to a wealth of resources, tools, and coaching.

Another Secret Revealed

In the last post we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is. 

Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to raving fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are and you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working class man in his 50’s.

There are four main areas you need to consider and plan when figuring out what your customers want:

  • Listen to Your Customers
  • Ask Your Customers Sincerely
  • Offer More than Just a Product/Service
  • Know When to Ignore Them


These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their shopping experience. 

Listen to Your Customers

You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if you customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is quick delivery.

Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.

Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response. 

Ask Your Customers Sincerely

If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should!

Offer More than Just a Product/Service

Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service, they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong.

Know When to Ignore Them

You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality you can’t give them everything and someone people you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they will be best suited somewhere else.

These are the steps and tricks to figuring out what your customers want and how you can use them to work on your customer service vision and plan.

If you get stuck, try our GUIDED TOUR and let us help you through the process.

Three Secrets of Customer Service

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier. 

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know! 

There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  1. It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website and other technology based programs to help them shop.
  2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience.
  3. Change your mind set and ask yourself “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers.

With these thoughts in mind you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff. 
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your goals.

Now that you know what you want you can starting thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.

Communicate With Your Customers

For Fathers Day my wife surprised me with a weekend getaway to Whitefish, Montana. We stayed at a beautiful hotel on the mountain. It was a wonderful way to relax. I loved the subtle smell throughout the halls of firewood burning in the huge stone fireplace in the lobby. Our room had a large TV above the fireplace where we could sit back, relax and watch movies. The weather was great, so we were able to enjoy sitting poolside sipping on our drinks.

I had a great time with the  woman I love, in a great hotel with great weather.   Everything was perfect. That is, until breakfast.  We decided to stay at the hotel for breakfast and went down to the restaurant. After a little confusion we finally asked someone if we were supposed to seat ourselves or if someone would be seating us. We were suppose to wait to be seated, and they finally showed us to our table. Neither of us were real hungry. I ordered a couple eggs and toast while my wife ordered an omelet. Everything seemed fine at that point. We waited for our food, and we waited. And we waited. And we waited. I couldn’t understand why two eggs, toast and an omelet were taking so long.  We waited more. Nobody came by our table to give us an explanation. Nobody even came close enough that I could call them over to ask what was going on. I was getting upset. Finally someone, other than our waitress, brought our food out. There was no explanation or apology. So I commented that I thought it was rediculous how long it took to get our food. The only explanation I received was that they were busy and the kitchen could only do so much. As I looked around at the restaurant, which was about 1/4 full, I wondered to myself what their service was like when it got really busy.

Needless to say, even though I would highly recommend the hotel, I would not recommend their restaurant. This experience made me think about my own business.  In my business we have factories in the US where we produce our product.  But the majority of our sales are in Canada.  So every day we are working out logistics on shipping our product, and there can often times be delays. For example, last week we had brokered a shipment with a company and their truck just never showed up to pick up the load.  This obviously changes our ETA’s on some of our customers orders because we have to arrange a new truck to pick up for us.  (and no, we will not ever do business with that broker again)

How do we deal with our end customers at this point?  Do we just ignore the situation and deliver to our customers when the truck does arrive?  If that’s how we deal with it, I think it’s the same as how we were treated at the restaurant.  There are three things that I think we need to pay attention to in a situation like this.

  1. Communication
    • Clear communication with a customer can make all the difference in their overall satisfaction.  When I was waiting for my breakfast, if the waitress had just come to our table and addressed the problem, let us know our food would take some extra time to arrive, I would have been a lot happier customer than I was.
  2. What does the customer expect
    • What do you need to do to keep the customer happy?  In our situation, the communication of letting us know our meal would take a while to arrive would have been enough.  With other customers a little more may be required to keep them happy.  But until you communicate with them you don’t know what they want or expect.
  3. Keep the experience positive
    • Chances of me staying at that hotel again are good.  Chances of me eating at that restaurant again are not very good.  Look for opportunities to make the best of a situation and ensure the customers experience is still a positive one.  Repeat customers or customer referrals are what makes a business truly successful.  When problems arise, find ways to keep the customer happy so they will come back again.

With all three keys, it comes down to good communication.  Communicating with your customer can be tough at times.  We all hate to give someone bad news.  But more often that not, the customers disappointment when you give them bad news will not be as bad as it will be if you just ignore the bad news and let them find out on their own.  Communicate, be honest and do your best.  There’s not much more you can do.

Raving Fans

As I’ve previously mentioned, when I have a book that I really think is beneficial to my staff we often use it for more than one of our Education Plan meetings.  One of those excellent books is Ken Blanchard’s, Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service.  This is a book that I think is excellent for everyone.  Whether you are working with the customers that are buying your product, or the customer you are serving is your boss, this book is full of great stuff.  In one of our previous company education meetings one of our team members, Red, taught us about Raving Fans.  One of the points he made that stuck out in my mind was:

“Once you have your vision of what you want and listen to your customers and find out what they want you need to DELIVER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS PLUS 1%”  One percent may not sound like a lot, but if you are delivering to expectations, plus 1%, it is a lot.   But DON’T PROMISE TOO MUCH TO GAIN CUSTOMERS AND THEN NOT MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS!

It takes way too much time, money and effort setting up new clients to let it fall apart after the fact with poor follow up service.  A great product cannot sustain a relationship.  If you’ve built a relationship and don’t foster it once you have the customer, it will be a short term relationship.  Once you have built the relationship, deliver what you’ve promised PLUS 1%.