Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
Irish poet William Butler Yeats composed and published The Second Coming in 1919. Some think the poem speaks of loose cannons, falcons that don’t listen. Some think the writer was speaking of revolution and the changing politics of Russia.
In Family Businesses we may want to consider our employees as falcons. These raptors are smart and incredibly skilled. They are known for their high speed flying and hunting skills. They can fly up to speeds of 40 – 50 miles per hour, and when they are hunting these falcons can dive at over 200mph.
We need to empower and train our Teams to manage customers. A recent study showed 35% of employees say they do not have access to necessary data to help customers, 31% don’t have the necessary tools, 25% didn’t get necessary training, and 28% are not empowered to resolve problems. These negative percentages have all increased during the few years as companies pulled back from front-line investments.
Consumer perceptions aren’t the only casualties. Employees are less likely to agree that their companies value them and more likely to think they would have to change companies in order to advance. Family Businesses must reverse the trends and invest in their front-line employees. Employees must be trained, equipped, and empowered to deliver superior customer experiences, or consumers will look for better service elsewhere.
A Gyre is a widening circle. Customer service is a “circle.”
1) Connect with the client
Use the name they want you to use to develop a feeling of cordiality. Not only does this solidify and personalize the relationship, it establishes the level of comfort the client has with you
2) Involve the client
Share your thought processes with them. Present the options without any prejudice.
3) Respond to the client
Never, never, never let a call go unacknowledged – respond the same day, even if it is to say you will call them tomorrow. If they have made the effort to contact you, to them it is a matter of urgency.
4) Communicate with the client
You can always find a reason to mail or call a client. There are new products, new information – something that it would be nice for them to know about. Nothing cements a relationship strong than connecting with the customer, “Just checking in” says volumes about how much you value them.
Keep a client updated on the progress and status of projects, even if there’s nothing new to report.
5) Listen to the client
The most important thing you can do whenever communicating with your client is to listen. Concentrate on their words; focus completely. Do not be distracted. Take notes; make the notes detailed enough so you can reconstruct the content and context of the communication, but not so exhaustive they obscure the intent of the communication.
6) Evolve with the client
Grow in your knowledge of them, their lives and their business. Certainly you want them to expand because that presents greater opportunity for you to round the account. Take note of new initiatives they take and inquire about progress regularly. Such interest not only grooms their ego, but also keeps you on top of any unanticipated exposure.
If you’re a Family Business who believes customer service requires a lot more than lip service. Invest in your Team and work the C I R C L E of service. The 1990 United Airlines commercial (watch video below) is a classic view of customer service.
Customer service is a circle was adapted from StuDio