Airports are always a great place to find awesome customer service experiences as well as the worst.
I was at the Kuala Lumpur Airport en route to Manila when I experienced both. I was traveling with a friend at the time but she couldn’t make it to the return flight. Unfortunately, the baggage allowance was only in her name since it was her credit card we used for the purchase. I asked the customer service representative of the airline if I can still use the baggage allowance. She declined my request without hearing me out or offering a solution. I tried to explain several times that it wasn’t my fault my friend couldn’t make it and that the only reason it was in her name was because we used her credit card. Again, she flat out refused.
To make matters worse, the guy behind me was very rude and told me to get out of the line as there was no point in pleading my case. It was a budget airline after all. I got very emotional and sat at a corner. An employee from another airline noticed me and asked how I was. He was even patient enough to listen to me explain my situation. He offered to help me repack my luggage and see which items I can leave without having to throw out the valuables. In the end, he helped me get my backpack weight down to 7KG-the allowed hand carried luggage allowance. The whole time I had my ordeal, he was by my side. He cheered me up and even accompanied me to the boarding gate.
This guy definitely turned my airport nightmare around into a WOW experience. You need to WOW your customers in order to get their loyalty. Here’s the difference between Loyal vs. Satisfied Customers:
Satisfied customers like to work with you because what you offer meets their basic standards. You give value that is to be expected. But at the first sign of a better offer (e.g. lower price, more add-ons) they will leave.
Loyal customers are essentially satisfied customers that keep coming back. They do that because you have engaged their emotions. They know you care about them and not just about making a profit. They are not easily convinced to abandon ship even when you sometimes fall short of expectations.
Now which kind of customers do you want? If you catch my drift and go for customer loyalty and not just satisfaction, then here are some tips to get you started:
Listen. Hear out what the customer is saying. Remember their name. Know your customer’s life story. Ask them how they are and sincerely listen to their response. In my airport story, that guy could have less concern about my woes. But he took time from his job to really listen and care. And that made a big difference in my customer experience!
Provide alternatives. There are always situations in which you cannot accommodate a customer’s request. But don’t stop at NO. Always try to find another solution for them. That customer service rep could have kept my business had she given me other options.
Exceed expectations. The customer experience is all about doing more than what is expected of you. If you deliver, and deliver on time, that makes customers satisfied. But if your deliver, on time and do it with such enthusiasm and dedication to get noticed, now that’s a way to WOW a customer!
This is a guest post written by Lois Yasay. Lois is currently working as a Project Manager for Inspire Leadership Consultancy. If you want to know more about building customer loyalty, Inspire Leadership Consultancy presents Customer Service Innovation with Francis Kong and Merril Yu. This is a whole-day learning event that enables you to continuously grow in developing SUPERB customer service skills. You will learn the secrets of WOWING your customers and creating an unforgettable experience for them. Click here for more details.