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February 27, 2017

Why “Your Why” means everything in Customer Service

dollarbadlineA personal story:

We were all a little excited, done being on a plane for four hours, and ready to get to vacationing.  My son, girlfriend, and I finally had a chance to get away to Orlando for a short, long weekend. As a Customer Experience Consultant, my schedule can run hot or cold depending upon my client’s needs and projects, so being able to plan a time to get away with the people I love can be difficult. I am sure it is difficult for most people now-a-days with work, kid’s sports, family obligations, and everything else.

After landing, we made our way over to the car rental area. As we approached the car rental corridor, we were buzzing about going to Universal and wondering what the river pool at the hotel was all about. The rental area was fairly clear of crowds, except for a couple of families in our rental agency’s line.

The Process Manager in me realized quickly that there was probably room here for some improvement in efficiency, but I was not working, right? There are four agents, three of which were not assisting any customers, and one is helping a customer who appeared to come from the car lot with an issue. 10 minutes go by. 20 minutes go by. A half hour in, and the two families in front of us are still there. A sizable line had started to form behind us. The other agencies were shuffling families off to their car to begin their vacations. Blood pressures started rising. We checked online to see what the cancelalation policy said, and it required a loss of deposit, so we decided to stick it out.

At the 45 minute mark, we were next in line, but I was well past aggravated. At the 50 minute mark, a man who was not helping anyone for the last 45 minutes, called us up. We got our car, and everything was fine with the transaction, but I was still fuming over the experience. As much as I wanted to let it go (even with my car mates singing Let It Go), the experience marred the beginning of my vacation. The vacation that took a bunch of planning, sacrifice, and dollars began with this impression.

So what went wrong? Probably a lot of things, but I think the most important part that went wrong was the car rental service forgot “Their Why”. I’m sure they collect Net Promoter Scores, measure some form of retention, and manage a number of service metrics and SLA’s. But those are results, not why it is important to service their customers well. “Your Why” is never a result, it’s a reason that means something substantial to your customer or WHY your company exist. Examples of possible why’s this rental agency (especially at a tourist town like Orlando):

·       Your vacation (or memories) starts with us

·       We know we are the last thing standing between you and your vacation, let us get you moving

·       We’re your first ride of your vacation (but the line is nothing like Space Mountain)

Your Why should be the foundation of your Customer Service culture, strategy, tactics, and metrics. It is part of a clear and articulated culture, upon which your talent, technology choices, process management, and data metrics should be looking to accomplish.

I am a huge fan of Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why, and creator of the most valuable 15 minutes on YouTube.

Let’s look at an example from my consultancy of when a Why was clearly articulated, and the power of understanding it.

In the first official meeting with a luxury jewelry company’s Director of Customer Service, I asked her the question “Why is it important to create a great customer experience?” After a moment, her answers sounded like:

·       Strong C-Sat or NPS scores

·       Retention

·       Advocacy

·       Customer Lifetime Value

·       Loyalty

After each answer, I said no that is a result. Tell me why it is important to your customers to deliver an amazing experience. Finally, we started hitting on the real why’s:

·       Celebrating life moments (like weddings, anniversaries, special occasions, etc…)

·       Making memories

·       Retail Therapy (yes, it is a real thing)

·       Making a connection

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.” – Simon Sinek

We articulated our culture around our why’s. Yes, you need to write it down. We used our why’s to recruit incredible talent. We didn’t recruit based on call center experience, but recruited people who could make instant or fast connections with our customers. We selected and leveraged technology that made it easy to make a connection and relate to customers. Our processes centered around making a connection, finding places to celebrate life moments, and budgeting for making memories.

The result was amazing and immediate. We launched their new customer service, and after the first month Stella Services™ rated them as the #2 eCommerce customer experience in the world. Not just other luxury brands, but we beat the Zappos, Amazons, LL Beans of the world. In our second month, we became the #1 brand among all brands. Since my project ended, they have remained in Stella Services™ top 10.

My rental car company forgot, lost, or never understood their WHY. They lost my business forever. My client who lives their WHY has beat their own high expectation eCommerce expectations every quarter since.  Find Your Why.

 

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