Remembering the steps it took just to graduate college is enough to send me into a rage. Dealing with the administration was almost like doing tricks in the circus: “Jump girl! Jump through those hoops! You want to graduate, don’t you?”
It’s understandable for large universities like my alma mater or the government; it’s the way the they organize their information. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating. In fact, if you escaped college without getting angry over even one administrative issue, consider yourself the luckiest person alive.
When an organization is bogged down by restrictions and policies or there are inefficiencies within the administrative workflow, service really takes a hit on the chin. Your business is obviously not the government. Why so many rules? Why so many hoops?
It’s time to cut away everything that stands between you and your customers. Making it easy for them to do business with you will make it easy for them to recommend your product or services. Here are a few ways you can eliminate all that red tape and create a business that is easy on the customer.
Do away with needless policies.
Any organization, given time, can create a hefty list of policies, but how often are these revisited and culled to ensure they are up to date and make sense for current operations? It’s important to revisit your business’ policies at least once a year so you can flesh out those that are no longer necessary. The fewer, the better.
Don’t hide behind your policies.
You will encounter an instance where you will have to tell a customer no. It’s how you tell them that makes all the difference. For example, here Disney explains how they approach having to tell a customer “no”. Don’t simply say it can’t be done, but rather explain why you can’t make a customer request happen.
Disney is known for creating a magical experience time and time again. Part of that is their in-depth customer service training. They used the HEARD system when dealing with upset customers:Hear: And more specifically, listen. Give the customer the opportunity to tell their complete, uninterrupted story.Empathize: Empathy creates an emotional connection, a trust that is crucial to demonstrating an authentic willingness and ability to help the customer. Consider using phrases like “If I were in your shoes…” and “Your reactions are completely normal…” to validate the customer’s feelings.Apologize: Sometimes, this is all the customer is looking for. The power of a sincere apology should never be underestimated. You must take ownership and remember, the manner in which you apologize matters greatly — apologies cannot be scripted.
Resolve: Speed is critical to recovery and is best achieved when the maximum amount of authority possible is delegated to employees.
Diagnose: Seek perfection, settle for excellence. Remove any personal guilt and examine the processes related to the service failure. Returning customers will appreciate your efforts to improve the experience.
Make it simple.
According to a recent customer experience survey by McKinsey, “27,000 US consumers across 44 industries found that companies that focus on providing a superior and low effort experience across their customer journeys – such as customer onboarding, account changes and problem resolution – realized positive business results, including a 10-15 percent increase in revenue growth and a 20 percent increase in customer satisfaction.” Look at the areas your business can make things as simple as possible for your customers and do what you can to create a remarkable experience.
Your small business is not as large as our government, so why do you have so much red tape for your customers to wade through? Determine which of your policies are most important and try to eliminate the junk. It will make your business more productive and your customers happier.