Last Winter I was getting new tires on the company vehicle at a local tire shop. A big storm threatened our area, so the tire shop was busy with clients and workers trying to stay ahead of the storm... After what felt like forever, I approached the front counter to better understand what was happening. The Service Technician I was speaking with quickly checked and then, after a brief argument over the phone in front of me, blamed his co-worker for a mistake and told me I would be waiting even longer. This made me realize that not only had I just witnessed a poor display of service, but I was also doubting the honesty and integrity of the shop and the work they were doing. Eventually, I got my vehicle with my new tires and was able to leave the chaos, but not without wanting to share how the customer service experience could have been improved.
Having a customer service team that acts with integrity can prevent your clients’ frustration and disinterest in your business. The definition of integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” When you think of the excellent customer service experiences you have had, you may consider the anticipation of your needs being met or the empathetic feeling you received, but I would lobby that you could also think a bit differently about what is great. I believe that you would genuinely appreciate honesty and high principles as being noteworthy. These could certainly increase your client loyalty and respect for the business you are utilizing. Even if your experience was not smooth or was more challenging than expected, knowing you were cared for with honesty, integrity, and trusting support can make all the difference.
As a business owner and client, you truly have to be able to relate to a customer in order to provide a great experience.
That starts with honesty and empathy; placing the customer at the center of everything you do.
- Being driven to help them and setting clear expectations.
- Not seeing them as an annoyance to handle.
- Eliminating excuses and blame.
Help your customer feel like a hero in their story by providing truthful information and facts for them to build on. This is a crucial customer service skill and is what more and more customers want from their experiences. We need to learn that the old “business as usual” model used in the past, where businesses focused solely on their bottom line, only served to frustrate clients and is no longer acceptable. Companies that are excelling with loyal growth and referrals are those that invest in their customers’ experiences and invest in their customers.
Customer-driven businesses need to have a strong foundation for their staff.
Supporting your customer service team requires equipping them with the tools and processes they need to do their jobs well. Well-performing service teams are making structural changes to workflows that assist with community communication which adds to integrity. Resolving customers’ issues requires teammates to share knowledge & collaborate. Staff Members need software tools such as Slack chat and Zoom video within their workspace to enable staff and leadership to collaborate for the best swift solutions to avoid unnecessary escalations. This is the customer service experience that can continue to succeed time and time again. Consider accepting feedback with a survey response system so you can continue to improve on the value and solutions clients expect. Be organic and allow the growth of knowledge to continue creating an experience that respects the client base. These items add to the strength of integrity, anticipating needs, and empathizing with difficult situations. Remain honest with your client base; they will not only come back but will talk about the amazing experience they are having with your business and bring their friends back the next time they need your services
Customer service integrity can go a long way.
If the tire Service Technician had been willing to simply tell me the real issue and apologize for the delay, I might not have been so focused on the poor customer service. He could have anticipated that I might have more questions and shared more updates as needed or possibly added a bit of empathy, knowing that I had other items on my schedule for the day. I may have been satisfied knowing the truth of the situation and that my plans had changed, but remained confident that I was getting the best set of tires money could buy. Overall, I could have had a customer service experience driven by honor and trust, and I would have referred tons of friends to the best tire place in town. Unfortunately, the most positive part of my experience was reflecting on the disappointment and following up by educating businesses with methods to improve the customer service experience with integrity!
Give your customers the RIGHT experience to talk about
- Design your perfect Customer Service Experience
- Keep your clients happy and referring others to you