John R. Patterson - Facilitator, Consultant, Speaker
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John R. Patterson - Top Tips


Serving As Leader
There are probably as many books on leadership as there are leaders! Most espouse similar truisms--walk the talk, hold people accountable, be clear about goals and roles, celebrate excellence, set a good example, develop others, and so on. We have chosen to highlight a few principles that best support helping employees deliver great service to colleagues or customers. Effective leaders connect, partner, mentor, align, empower, inspire, and champion. They are the keepers of organizational values and perpetuators of standards of excellence. Leaders don‘t make great service happen. But they play a vital role in creating the conditions and providing the support that enables others to serve to the best of their ability every day. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. Consider them Chip and John‘s favorite ―Recipe for Great Service Leadership.

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More questions on this for John? Contact him via john@johnrpatterson.com

 

A Dozen Ways to Build Customer Devotion

  
1. 


Help your customers become the world’s smartest buyer. Hardwire learning into every customer’s encounter. Become your customers’ key source for market information.

   2. 

Learn as much about your customers’ hopes and aspirations as you do about their needs and expectations. Ask questions that help customers problem solve, not just report.

   3. 

Staying in touch is not just sending a birthday card. Follow up by phone, newsletter, fax, and e-mail always with a personal ("Thought you’d enjoy page three") type note.

   4. 

Access says you care about customer communication. Make it super easy for customers to reach you anytime and any way. If the Publisher’s Prize Patrol were calling you about your check, you wouldn’t put them into voice mail!

   5. 

Let your customers customize your processes. Build your systems and procedures around what works for your customers.

   6. 

Make every part of your customers’ experience totally consistent with how you want your organization to be remembered. DisneyWorld doesn’t do "partial" magic; they try to make magical everything from the parking lot to the attractions.

   7. 

Identify ways to get your customers involved in your operation. Sometimes asking customers for assistance says you value them and see them as much more than a paycheck.

   8. 

Never stop learning from customers about ways you can improve. Forget surveys as a listening tool. They just give you data; not relationships. Plead for face-to-face candor and thank clients for what they teach you.

   9. 

Customers like to be remembered. Tailor-make your thoughtfulness around what you learn that your customers value.

   10. 

Never, ever break a promise or commitment. Keep it or renegotiate it early.

   11. 

When you make a mistake, acknowledge it quickly, honestly and with a sincere apology. Then, make service recovery something your customers tell others about.

   12. 

Great service to customers starts with great service between employees. Eliminate silos. Be famous for awesome handoffs, seamless systems and people who enjoy serving each other as much as serving customers.

More questions on this for John? Contact him via john@johnrpatterson.com

 

What To Say to an Angry Customer

You have a challenging encounter with a very upset customer. Both you and customer part ways less than happy with the exchange. The next morning, in the shower, you finally come up with the perfect thing to say to Mrs. Murphy. But it's 20 hours too late. And by the time you are out of the shower – you've forgotten it anyway. The following phrases come from the lips of the hundreds of customer service representatives we've studied, interviewed and watched at work. Their use is obvious. Their effectiveness sworn to buy the seasoned pros who shared them with us.

   1. 

"I understand your concern. What do you think would be fair?"

   2. 

"Julie, I'm so very sorry this has happened; how can we resolve this for you?"

   3. 

"Sir, you deserve the very best and we seem unable to provide it. Since I want you to be well served, may I suggest..."

   4. 

"While you may not agree with my decision, I'd like to explain it so you will at least understand."

   5. 

"Let me do some investigating on my end and call you back. Would you prefer me to call you this evening at home, or tomorrow morning?"

   6. 

"Have I done something personally to upset you? I'd like to be part of the solution."

   7. 

"Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We will address it right away."

   8. 

"We love to hear feedback from our customers – both positive and negative. It gives us a chance to be always be upgrading our service to you. Thank you for sharing your concerns with us."

   9. 

"It is obvious that I have not been able to help you. If you don't object, I would like to let a colleague of mine attempt to better meet your needs."

   10. 

"Unfortunately we are unable to give you a full-price refund without a receipt, I can, however, authorize a store credit for the current sale price."

   11. 

"We see this differently and I am going to have to put more thought to the perspective you have shared with me. It's helpful for me to understand how you see things. In the meantime, here is what I can do to solve the immediate problem."

   12. 

"If I hear that language again, I won't be able to assist you. Unless we can find a different way to communicate, I'm going to have to hang up." (Then, keep your promise)

Source: Knock Your Socks Off Service Recovery by Chip R. Bell and Ron Zemke
(NY: AMACOM Books, 2000.)

More questions on this for John? Contact him via john@johnrpatterson.com

 

10 Considerations Before You Begin a Customer Survey Initiative

   1. 

What are the main reasons the company wants to undertake this customer feedback initiative?

   2. 

What will your customers expect from you after they have provided you with their feedback?

   3. 

What will you tell your employees about what you are about to ask your customers? Why do they need to know?

   4. 

What do you want to learn from your customers?

   5. 

Who will be on the project team?

   6. 

Which customers do you want to reach out to?

   7. 

How will you ask them about their perceptions of your service?

   8. 

What will you have to do to really listen to them and to really learn from what they tell you?

   9. 

How will you use the information that you gather?

   10. 

When will you check back with your customers?

More questions on this for John? Contact him via john@johnrpatterson.com

 

Top to Do's after the Customer Survey Results Are In

Shortly after receiving the results of the customer survey, formally communicate with all customers surveyed.

Once an in-depth understanding of the survey results has been developed at the senior team level, develop an action plan to communicate the information through out the organization, and to address the top good and bad issues raised by customers.

Customers telegraph in an intelligence gathering effort what they value most and what they dislike about what the organization does (process, procedures, decisions, policies, etc.). This provides an ideal opportunity to reexamine and reaffirm or revise the company’s service vision, corporate standards, and behavioral norms.

Customer intelligence is not about knowing, it is about changing. Survey results make is smarter about what customers expect and experience so future organizational performance can be effectively aligned with present customer assessment. Take the time to:

-

Revise all employees’ performance objectives to reflect customer intelligence information.

-

Communicate a six, twelve and eighteen months out target for improvement of overall customer satisfaction.

-

Announce changes in the compensation system but make the effective date after the organization has had a chance to implement change and "practice" with the revised system

-

Revise recruiting, hiring, training and performance criteria to reflect what customers say is important.

More questions on this for John? Contact him via john@johnrpatterson.com

 

Things to Think about When Developing a Service Vision

How will you communicate the organization’s precise customer focus?

What will you identify as the ways your company will be unique and distinguished in the eyes of customers?

Which service quality features are most important to your customers and are the features your customers most want to experience with consistency and reliability?

What service standards, measures, and practices will be required to ensure that your customers consistently experience the unique experience you have designed for them?

More questions on this for John? Contact him via john@johnrpatterson.com

 

Is your Service Vision in Alignment with your Corporate Standards, Behavioral Norms and "Anchor" systems (hiring, performance management, compensation, and recognition)?

Steps to Aligning Key Business Practices, Policies, Procedures, Processes and "Rules of Engagement" with the Service Vision, Corporate Standards and Norms

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