I have a confession. I’m a SECS addict. I have long been addicted to uncovering the secrets of excellent customer service [SECS]. What makes one business stand out from the rest? What constitutes great SECS and earns you the title of SECSpert!?
So I have pondered, reflected and solicited great advice in my search to uncover the secrets.
According to Ken Blanchard, feedback is a gift. Why then do some business owners become defensive when they hear that the foreplay afforded by their business did not constitute great SECS? Surely you are better to hear first-hand experiences first-hand and to thank people for the time taken in providing you with feedback that could grow and improve your business, than you are to become defensive and hide behind mirrored excuses.
Before a business owner dismisses a customer’s feedback as unimportant, they should consider the research conducted by US firm TARP: For every 1 customer who bothers to complain, 26 others remained silent and an average of 1,560 people will hear about at least one of these unhappy experiences. That’s right. On average, each unhappy customer will tell 10 people, who in turn will tell 5 others. That’s a lot of negative press you are getting for failing to deliver great SECS! Can you really afford not to listen!
Whilst I get that SECS is often an individual event, there are certain basics that need to be offered if you are to fall under the category of SECSpert!
5 steps to become a SECSpert
1. Make eyes with me
Acknowledge my existence, engage my interest. I love eye contact and a smile. Let me know that you know that I exist.
SECS in action! When you walk into a café and the barista has 20 orders in line, but still takes the time to make eye contact with you, smile and acknowledge that they will be with you as soon as they can. The smile they project leaves no doubt that they are happy to be there and that they are glad you are there too to enjoy the best cup of coffee you can ever imagine.
2. Set the mood
Details matter. Don’t turn me off by neglecting the basics. Preparation and planning pay off! Make me feel comfortable and special. Let me know you would like me to stay.
SECS in action! No one wants to rest their elbows on a soggy bar or bench top and yes toilet paper matters! Reflect on your music selection, the ambience you are creating. Does the lighting reflect the mood; or did you set and forget it?
3. Engage in foreplay
Timing is everything; don’t leave me waiting too long. I am happy to wait if you keep my attention. Chat, engage and entice me. It’s your playground, make it fun!
SECS in action! The restaurant is busy; we can see that it is. You come by to acknowledge our existence, let us know that we matter, there’s a wait time – can you get us a drink or more bread. You afford us the opportunity to let you know if the delay impacts on our plans or if we are happy to relax and enjoy your service and company. That’s SECS in action! We can adjust our expectations and perceptions based on an informed decision.
4. Communicate the passion
I’ve told you what I want; now it’s time to deliver. Let’s get down to business. I have needs and expectations which must be met; if you don’t service me – someone else will!
SECS in action! If I order a double shot skim milk latte and pay; then that’s what I expect to be provided with, and in a reasonable timeframe. I don’t want to feel like I’m an inconvenience and you had to go out of your way. A customer is the reason for your job and not an interruption to your schedule, so please act like you care and be professional.
5. Don’t be a one night stand
Say good bye and thank me; always leave me wanting more. You want me to give you rave reviews and have me return for more.
SECS in action! The goodbye after payment is as important as the acknowledgement you gave us on arrival. You need to make sure that our experience was a positive one and that it isn’t the last interaction we ever have with you. Each time that you engage with me may be our last, so make each touch point memorable leaving me with a positive impression long after I have left.
Don’t just take my word on the subject; let’s hear from great operators on why they see value in listening to and responding to their customers.
The basis of SECS is understanding your Moments of Truth
The concept I have long been a fan of in reviewing the level of SECS afforded by a business first came onto the management radar screen in the early 1980’s when Jan Carlzon was brought into Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) as the new CEO. Within a year of his taking over the position the company was back in the black and earned a reputation as one of the world’s best airlines. Jan accomplished this turn around by analysing and improving customer touch points or Moments of Truth. Reviewing every customer interaction opportunity, Jan ensured that the service afforded by SAS at each touch point was professional and user friendly from the perspective of the customer.
Reviewing your Moments of Truth
Every business should regularly review their customer touch points or Moments of Truth, challenging whether each interaction experienced by a customer is a positive, negative or redundant one. Strategies should then be enabled to minimise the chance of a negative opportunity occurring and to enhance the likelihood of an exceptional interaction. Jan also suggests that there are often customer touch points in our sequence of service that serve no purpose for the customer; businesses should challenge whether in fact they should keep them.
Such a simple process to complete for you to gauge how you are performing through the eyes of your customer. If you would like Scope to facilitate a SECS session for you, don’t hesitate to contact us. The benefits afforded will be returned ten-fold.
Want more? MJ shares her thoughts and tips on becoming a SECSpert...click on the video link below.
Found this post useful? Kindly tap the ❤ button below or leave us a comment! We would value your thoughts and feedback!