Tales from the Customer is an ongoing series of discussions on the virtues of good customer relationship management. For more tales, click here.
In the classic horror tale of 1886, Dr. Henry Jekyll is a kind, good man in a constant battle between his other evil personality: Dr. Hyde. He’s constantly plagued by his polar opposite self who is known for his nefarious deeds and bad attitude.
Most Customer Relationship Management Today
In today’s world, customer support can read just like a horror story. Sometimes we’re so afraid to even call the phone number to our cable companies for fear of hour long waits, bored customer service reps, and being left with more questions than we had before.
Even in the year 2013, great customer service can be hard to come by and still tends to make headlines because of its rarity. Needless to say, there are too many ‘Hydes’ working in customer service and too few ‘Jekylls’.
Building Customer Relationships like Dr. Jekyll
With current customer relationships as bad as they are, there is a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd by being the Jekyll to everyone else’s Hyde. It’s not as hard as you might think.
Here are a few simple things you can do:
Care about your customers’ success before your own. You probably won’t be the right fit for everyone. You will lose a lead or a customer at some point, and sometimes after a lot of chasing and hard work.
While your inner Hyde might tell you to get angry and to pepper in a few choice words before hanging up, be sure to keep your Jekyll side by trying to understanding where the customer is coming from and helping them find an alternative. Customers will appreciate and trust a company that is willing to recommend a competitor.
Your willingness to help a customer without any benefit to yourself will prove you are worth the investment and that will show in reviews. And, who knows… that customer might just come back or tell their friends about you.
Be accommodating and friendly. If your work takes you to the home of a customer, be sure to follow all their rules, be tidy, cordial, and always have a smile. Your appearance will have almost as much impact on the quality of the customer relationship as will your finalized work, so always put on a good face.
Customer Relationship Management Software can also be a great help in accomplishing this, by helping you remember names and faces when you get a phone call or email and by keeping track of previous interactions. Customers hate having to repeat themselves, and keeping all their info straight is part of providing friendliness and accommodation.
Be transparent and honest. Mr. Hyde might have you believe that underhanded practices and invisible fees are just the way business works, but your customers will certainly think different. This one probably seems obvious to almost anyone, but this kind of honesty isn’t as prevalent as you might think.
Being truthful and transparent in every aspect of the way you do business is perhaps the most important indicator of your integrity. It gives confidence to anyone looking into your services and will provide assurance that you will do a great job at a fair price because you care. This is the meat of strong customer loyalty.
Customer relationship management can be difficult. In ever interaction you have, always fight the urge to let out the Hyde. Your customers will thank you, recommend you, and come back for more.