Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What To Do When You Don't Have Control over the Customer Experience

Has this happened to you? It has to me. Here's Shep Hyken with another invaluable article for all of us to take to heart! -Andrea Michaels

Solving Customer Problems

What happens when the customer calls about a problem, but the problem is completely out of your control?

Let’s use an online retailer as an example. The customer buys a product and requests it be shipped via one of the typical shipping companies like UPS, FedEx or USPS. The product goes out right away, but the shipping company fails to deliver on time. The customer calls the company and is obviously upset. Why was there a delay? Maybe it’s a weather problem that caused the shipment to arrive late. Or, maybe it was just a glitch in the shipping company’s system. Regardless of the issue, it was completely out off the seller’s control. Not their fault, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t take responsibility.

One other quick example, and this one came from one of our subscribers, Brad Mifsud in Australia. He has a law firm that specializes in real estate. Sometimes, in preparation for a “closing,” which is when all of the papers are signed and the property officially changes ownership, there can be delays due to the bank or some other party not delivering their paperwork on time. Whose fault is this? Brad’s law firm, as good as it might be, has no control over the employees at other companies who may not act with the same urgency to meet deadlines as his firm does.

In both of these examples, the company and law firm had no control of the situation. Yet to the customer or client, it looks like they were at fault. So, what can a company do?

The answer has two parts: proactivity and communication.

Proactivity means you find out the information before the customer does. For example, technology allows for packages to be tracked and alerts sent if there are delays. You’ll know there is a delay before the customer does. Or you check with the bank to make sure all of documents will be processed on time, well before they are due. If for any reason there is a problem with delays (in both of these examples) it’s time to move into part two, which is to communicate with the customer.

Let the customer know as soon as possible about any problems. Even though they may not be your fault, many times they will appear to be your fault. It’s not your job to deflect blame. It’s your job to let the customer know you’re on top of it. You can email the customer and explain that because of a snow storm, there is a delay and when they can expect their package. A simple phone call can be made to let the client know that certain papers are being held up at the bank for whatever reason and that you’re aggressively working with them to get the problem taken care of.

Once you communicate, even if the customer isn’t happy with whatever the issue is, they will know that you’re aware and on top of the situation. You’re working to resolve an issue that isn’t even your fault. The customer will appreciate this effort. It’s a Moment of Misery™ that turns into a Moment of Magic®!

Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, hall-of-fame speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He works with organizations to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus, a customer service training program that helps organizations develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. For more information contact (314) 692-2200 or www.Hyken.com.

To learn more about Extraordinary Events, visit http://www.extraordinaryevents.net.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mega Trends - Part Three

-By Andrea Michaels

It's been a while since we started our blogs on trends, and so here we are; it's 2016, and what do we see coming?

Last year we talked about the importance of creating an emotional and connective experience. Let's take a closer look at that and how we do it.

Think of all the Cirque du Soleil shows you've been to. They tell a story. We all have a story; you just need to decide how you should tell yours. Is it about your business, or is it in the form of a proposal? Whichever it is, you want your targeted audience to connect with it, so make sure that it is completely authentic.

Think of how your meeting or event will connect with your participants (remember, we're going to refer to everyone there as a "participant,") and how then the participants will connect to each other. Driving that kind of experience through live events is the future. Create communities.

Before you introduce the "what," ask yourself the "why." If there is no answer to why you are doing what you are suggesting, change paths and go in another direction. Everything you do has to have a reason and a purpose.

BtoB; BtoC: passe! Today is about H2H ... or Human to Human. Take a look at popular campaigns of today such as Tom’s Give Back to Move Forward, or Hotels for Hope, and incorporate this philosophy into your program.

Cross Promotions: What is better than one brand? Two or more that support each other's messaging. Mini Night Out combined with Urban Daddy.  Google it.

Made By You ... If you want to understand a brand, ask its customers and not its designers. Engage them. Immerse them. Let them be a part of your plan.

Influencers ... just getting started but getting bigger all the time. Tap into "influencers" that have large pre-existing social media followings to promote. Let them announce events, news, prizes, giveaways and then extend the reach of a live event by having influencers post real-time experiences online to their followers.

So that's kind of 2016. What about beyond that?

Here are some things to contemplate:



Age ... we are heading into a world where 80-year olds, as well as 20-year olds, will be in the workforce at the same company. How do we take all of these ages into account?

What does generational seating look like? What does the workspace look like?

Thank you to Juliet Funt for putting a name to this concept: Give your participants "white space" or time to do nothing, except maybe think. Not connect; not listen; not watch. Quiet time. Time for creativity and reflection.

I believe that team building will be passe. It will be replaced by Shared Experiences.

I believe that ROI will be replaced by ROE2.  Return on Engagement and Experience which is a longer term holistic approach of the total brand experience.

And I wonder …. How do we connect with an upcoming generation that will never need to learn how to drive a car? Do you wonder about that, too?

Andrea Michaels is the founder of president of Extraordinary Events. We are excited to announce our nominations for four 2016 Special Event Gala Awards for the production of the Grand Opening of Downtown Summerlin. Winner of 39 prestigious Galas in the past, EE is currently nominated in the categories of Best Achievement in Technical Support with partner, Brite Ideas; Best Event Entertainment Concept and Execution ($25,000-$100,000) in partnership with Fred Tallaksen, Kaboom Entertainment; Best Event Produced for a Corporation or Association, Overall Budget Above $500,000 and Most Outstanding Spectacle. The ceremony will be held on January 14, 2016 at TSE in Orlando. For more information about this event and other news from EE please visit www.extraordinaryevents.net. To reach Andrea, email amichaels@extraordinaryevents.net.