Passion is a Key Ingredient in Customer Service

By October 31, 2015Evolve Insights

As it appeared in the daily nation of September 1st 2015

by Lucy Kiruthu

Last week we all witnessed the passion with which Julius Yego threw the Javelin to hit the 92.72M mark and win the gold. Like all other athletes that scooped a medal, he was full of enthusiasm and energy before, during and after the event. Passion, enthusiasm, zeal are all words used to describe this level of energy or the strong desire to win. Sports aside, how passionate are we about that we do? How passionate are we about winning our customers?

Passion is often seen as a key ingredient in customer service. We often know that one has passion by their mindset, how they act and how they react. In fact without passion about what we do it becomes quite difficult for us to serve our customers both internal and external with excellence.  We all know people who are passionate about what they do and others that have no passion whatsoever. The difference is always obvious. Take for example a front line staff who lacks passion for their job. The lack of passion is mainly displayed in their lack of commitment to follow though as well as a “don’t care” attitude towards customers. Such staff are a disservice to any organization. Lack of passion at the management level is even worse. I have heard of horror stories of managers who really do not care about their customers. At the basic level such managers tell their staff to inform the customers that they are not in while others do not pick up customers’ calls. At the strategic level, these managers do not place any value to the customers; they forget that without customers their organization would not exist.  This lack of zeal at the management level is contagious and soon catches up with the rest of the team.

What exactly is passion in customer service? Passion is the fuel that keeps the fire to make our customers feel great about being our customers burning.  Is it a myth and if it is not a myth can it be learnt? Passion is not a myth, I believe it cannot be learnt but it can be initiated when we find meaning in what we do.  I consider being passionate about what we do as a choice that we make. Albert Einstein once said “I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious”. How many of us are passionately curious about our customers? How many serve our customers with zeal? How many business owners and managers look out for staff passionate about service when recruiting? I believe that passion is seen when we choose to do what we do well.  Passion is a decision seen in our commitment; it does not just happen, and it takes focus and effort.

People are certainly passionate about different things. If you are in business and are not passionate about your customers it may impact how you perceive them and how they perceive you. This has an effect on the overall business performance. If you go to work every day to serve customers but you are not passionate about it, you may need to reconsider if this is the best way to spend your day. If we embrace customer service, it will make a difference in our everyday interactions with our customers and in our business performance. Without our customers, our businesses would not exist.

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on lucy@evolve-consultants.com/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy

 

As it appeared in the daily nation of August 25th 2015

Welcome onboard – Customer Onboarding Tips

Lucy Kiruthu

In several organizations, it seems new staff are left without direction. They either float or sink by themselves. In such organizations, the new staff onboarding process often referred by some as orientation or induction is non-existence or if in existence it is poorly managed. This leaves many staff disoriented, perplexed and susceptible to loss of direction. The same could be said of new customers’ orientation. Many organizations have no well thought out processes to induct new customers or introduce new products and new processes to existing customers. In many instances customers have to find their way through the maze, it becomes their responsibility to know their way around.

The staff and customer onboarding process have one similar objective, to help the customer and staff settle in smoothly. Astute human resources managers know too well the importance of the staff onboarding process. After recruitment they guide the staff through the process. Many recognize that a proper induction not only helps in the smooth integration of the staff but also helps clarify expectations. What can be said of the customer onboarding process?  Who is responsible for the process? How many organizations have a customer onboarding strategy?

The customer onboarding process is much more complex than staff onboarding process. First, unlike staff onboarding customer onboarding has no definite home.  The process starts from the point of sale and it is never-ending.  In the initial stages those in sales and marketing own the process. The customers are thereafter handed over to operations or customer experience and even sometimes corporate communications. The process requires a well coordinated plan aimed at building a strong relationship with the customer. Without a deliberate onboarding process, many customers leave to never come back.

The process is different for different industries. For a bank it may mean sending a welcome letter or email within 2 days of opening the account whilst for a hotel a welcome letter may be strategically placed in the room.  This makes the customer feel welcomed, appreciated and informed. I was very impressed when a manager at a new hotel offered to show us around the new facility. This certainly was part of their onboarding process. On the other hand, a friend shared via social media how a top hotel in the city had a beautiful letter addressed to her using the wrong gender because her name is not easy to tell apart. I wondered why gender was not one of the items they captured during booking. Smooth initial contact is only possible if the customers’ details are captured correctly.

The welcome message is not adequate, it is important to get feedback from the customers at regular intervals. Some smart companies will send a follow up email or ask new customers to participate in a survey after initial interactions. The not so smart companies will go quiet. A message during the first anniversary or on the customer’s birthday after a long spell of silence is not good enough. The ongoing process of keeping customers informed should be a top priority.  At the core of successful customer onboarding strategies is making it easy for customer to do business with us. Is your customer experience management end-to-end?

Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on lucy@evolve-consultants.com/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy

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