Ask any group of customers what they liked about any recent customer experience, and they typically mention the same thing. Although they aren’t things…
It’s always about the people.
Rachel McCarthy, Vice President of In-Flight Experience for Jet Blue, said during her talk at Next Generation Customer Experience in San Diego that the customer comments often included someone’s name specifically. Instead of saying “the flight attendant was great,” they say things like “Kelly is really extraordinary!”
These extraordinary people in your organization should be not only rewarded for their behavior, but observed and invited to participate in creating the best practices for your organization.
The tricky thing about us humans, however, is that we have trouble observing ourselves. So it’s up to the leaders of any organization to seek out your customer service superstars and discern the ways they make things just a little better for your customers.
If you aren’t paying attention to these superheros among you, then others won’t feel the need to follow their exemplary leads.
Here are some of the ways we’ve seen customer service superstars stand out:
1. Listening and responding beyond the data
One call center rep had taken it upon herself to record the questions from customers requiring the same instructions again and again.
Many of these questions weren’t available as choices in their system, so she recorded things in her notebook, created the best instructions she could, and brought it to the call center manager. When the manager refused to add them to the system because the “numbers didn’t reflect this,” she provided her instructions to her other call center workers and as a result, transactional satisfaction rates increased.
In this case, the call center manager was simply reflecting the data-driven culture of the company. The superstar saw a truly customer-centric solution and made it happen in a low-tech way. This is a superstar who could help the rest of her team learn how to really listen for the root causes in customer service.
2. Empathetic and engaging behavior
At a world-class art museum, some of the patrons were reporting an environment that was uptight and unfriendly. Staff considered customer-facing were trained in soft skills and still the comments kept coming. Observation of individual gallery experiences revealed the unexpected heroes.
Security guards protect each individual gallery, and many were abrupt and unfriendly with patrons. They were doing their job, but sometimes in doing so they were coming across as rude. “Don’t touch that!” is startling to a young child, for instance.
One guard, however, had a unique approach, especially with children. He crouched down to speak to them at eye level and used phrases of engagement, like “Do you like that sculpture? I do, too! It’s one of my favorites. That’s why we have to be so careful.”
His warm tone and engaged behavior should become a standard, but this can only happen if leadership is paying attention.
3. Getting out of their silos
A small university discovered their superstars when they asked advisers to start asking students about more than academics.
Students trusted their advisers for academic counsel, but as the relationships grew they shared more than just feelings about their classes. When the university asked advisers to ask about specific experiences outside academics, they discovered superstars all over campus.
The dining hall attendants, health center nurses and registrar clerks were all mentioned in both glowing and not-so-glowing terms. As the university dug in more, they realized each of these groups had at least one superstar who could help the rest of the team serve students better.
It’s easy NOT to pay attention to the individual superstar.
Often, they are not seeking glory or recognition, they are simply doing their jobs in the only way they know how. By actively seeking out your superstars, the rest of the experience can improve thanks to their intuitive skills.
Do you know who your superstars are?