Happy Monday to all. Â As we know with Mondays stress can be very high. Â So we learn to cope with it in our own ways. Â Well dealing with stressed customers is a little tougher because we don’t know that person like we do ourselves. Â So we have a few lessons from, Omar Soliman, here to help you with those stressed clients to make everyone’s life a little easier.
When people callÂ certain service companies — realtors, pest control, movers and the like — they are essentially dialing 911. That’s because theyâ€™re likely facing a crisis that involves one ofÂ lifeâ€™s biggest stressors, ranging from birth and death, toÂ marriage andÂ divorce, to a new house or job or no house or job.
A recent study on easing anxiety for stressed-out customers looked at â€œhigh-emotion servicesâ€ (the purchase of a new home orÂ car, computer repair or airline travel, for example) that elicit intense feelings even before the product is purchasedÂ or theÂ service begins. The problem the researchers found? These types of companies often fail to sufficiently address emotional triggers in their business models.
Certain product and service providers, it seems, make enduring impressions on distressed customers. If you’re such a provider andÂ youÂ canâ€™t adequately respond to those buyers’Â concerns and feelings, your customers will remember (and share) that your service left them feeling overwhelmed, helpless, neglected or, even worse, frightened. Those notions donâ€™t exactly add up to top customer satisfaction scores.
So, what can you do?
Rescuing customers from themselves
As co-founder and CEO ofÂ College Hunks Hauling Junk, I’ve learned that our role in customersâ€™ dramas definesÂ our mission: to rescue these clients from stress.Â If our team canâ€™t deliver on that promise, our clients will suffer.
So, the question becomes: How can an entrepreneur address a customerâ€™s emotional and logistical needs simultaneously?
My team and I are all doers, but we have had to take a step back and assess our entire process to figure out how to fulfill our mission of making moving easier for everyone involved. Through our experiences with stressed-out clients, we’ve learned to leverage technology, psychology and ourselves to move themÂ emotionallyÂ — not just physically.
Here are four strategies that every entrepreneur can put to good use:
1. Try on your customersâ€™ psychological state.Â
Regardless of our customers’ background, we already know that they’re stressed. But what particular circumstances are they facing?
We learn a lotÂ from the first phone call, so we train our first responders as seriously as if they were EMTs. Every client has a story, and we listen so we can prepare and customize a personal experience.
By performing market research on our clients, we’ve discovered that a lot of little things — such as utilities and cable connectionsÂ or unfamiliarity with the new neighborhood — contribute to the stress people feel when they move. That’s why we created a VIP Move Concierge service to help our customers get set up with utilities, change their address with the post office and find out more about the schools and coffee shops in the vicinity.
You can do the same: Use empathy to step into your customersâ€™ shoes to determine how to reduce their fears or worries. What could you do to make things easier?
2. Hire for attitude and train for skill.Â
How often have you walked into a store and been greeted by employees full of energy and passion for their work? These traits canâ€™t be taught or trained.
Empathy is anÂ essential part of customer service, so we ask candidates to tell us about a time they went above and beyond for a stranger. Hire people who are absolutely committed to your brand promise.Â Ask them to read aloud from your client interaction script to see whether their tone and body language align with the customer experience you strive to provide.
Donâ€™t interview –Â hold auditionsÂ by interviewing in groups of three to 10 so the best candidates stand out. We hire as many people who do,Â and sometimes hire nobody at all,Â to make sure our employees are motivated to make our clients happy.
3. Painstakingly map your customers’ journey.Â
Most companies interact with customers at eight crucial points, from the first phone call or mouse click, to the knock at the door, to wrap-up and payment options.
We studied our interactions by walking throughÂ every step of our customersâ€™ journey. At each interaction, we asked how we could make the experience hassle-free. Did they prefer to use a credit card or check? Did they prefer to split a big move over two days?
Weâ€™ve found no better barometer of client interaction than front-line team members; they know the score. Watch them in action, ask questions and learn about your business from their point of view. Then, use what you learn to fine-tune customer delivery. This has compelled us to create our concierge service to help clients handle everything from setting up utilities to registering for school.
4. Spend more on customer experience than acquisition.Â
Marketers talk about client-acquisition cost, but consider the alternative: What if you invested in client experience? Survey your clients in real time, and act on their feedback. If you donâ€™t have satisfied customers, a new mailing list wonâ€™t solve your problems.
Most businesses budget for advertising,Â but not for experience. Build this into your financial model; customer experience should be a line item on the P&L. On top of spending money on experience, spending time is just as important.
Constantly raise the bar — client experience can never just be set and forgotten. Donâ€™t let your competitors catch up to your experience; form a committee that owns client experience to constantly look for ways to one-up the rest.
At our moving company, we surveyed more than 5,000 clients nationwide about their past experiences with professional movers, asking what actions would have improved those situations. Based on that feedback, we tweaked our process to make sure our clientsâ€™ experience was our No. 1 priority.
Growing a loyal and enthusiastic customer base isnâ€™t as complicated as you might think. You canÂ build a viral brandÂ by going above and beyond for your clients and making just such a focus on customer experience part of your business model. In turn, youâ€™ll gain “brand evangelists” who will spread the good news of how your company saved the day for them. Others will hear their message.
Omar Soliman is the co-founder and CEO of Tampa, Florida-basedÂ College Hunks Hauling JunkÂ andÂ Trash Butler. CHHJ is a junk removal andÂ moving franchiseÂ that services more than 50 markets in 30 states, and Trash Butler is a door-to-door valet trash service.