The Difficulty In Getting It Right
Jack Frost ...
Posted on: 13/12/2012 By: Jenny Eaton
I went on the Entrepreneur's Circle Induction Day this week. I have to say Nigel Botterill was brilliant, he bounces about all over the place and tells wonderful stories that not only illustrate his point but are interesting and humorous. The day passed with a flash ...
make sure you address people the way they want - it's all part of building good relationships
One of the things that stood out for me most was something I have seen other trainers do (badly I might add). He started the session off asking us what questions we had arrived hoping would be answered. He filled two flip sheets with our questions and reviewed them and said "yeah, I think we can cover those." He then moved on to cover the material of the day from his workbook.
Now that is standard for a lot of training courses I have been on. But what impressed me most was when we came to a topic that was on the flip sheet he made a point of crossing it off and then, when he came to the end, we went back to the flip chart and he spent an hour or so going through those questions. Where we had covered the topic in the course of the day he asked the questioner to clarify their question so he could go into more detail - not saying "we've covered that off haven't we?"
Interestingly one of the questions was about differentiation. We spent a long time talking about standing out, approaching the market differently and thinking outside the box. But what it boiled down to was the customer experience. You see when you go back to the examples Nigel used - Virgin and Claridges - people got excited about the little things. It wasn't massive things that they changed (well to some people a Jacuzzi isn't massive) but the cumulative effect of the little things make a big difference over all.
Going back to the Induction Day everyone was give a badge, with their name printed large enough that Nigel could read it from the front. And he made a point of talking with each person as they introduced themselves using their name at least once. Then as the day progressed he continued to refer to the delegates by name - even though there were 50 of us in the room.
In our business, getting people's names right is important and it's not just about first name and last name, it's also about spelling and pronunciation. You see it's alright us asking the caller to spell their name for us - but if you can't work out the pronunciation from that, then we should be giving a guide to the pronunciation to our clients - they are, after all, the ones who will have to call the client back aren't they!
The other thing that stood out for me was that it is all very well sending out literature directly to me, addressed to me but how much better is it if you know what I prefer to be called, rather than just knowing my given name. It has taken me a long time to realise that if I put down Jennifer which is the name I was given at birth, then people will call me that - but I do prefer to be called Jenny. But sometimes when I am asked to put my name, I do still put Jennifer - as that is my proper name. Most people call me Jenny once they get to know me, and the more familiar have been known to call me Jen.
But a word of caution to those trying to build the customer experience, don't lose common courtesy with your informality and don't rush down the route of over familiarity. There are some people out there, some are from an older generation than I, for whom calling them by their first name will not add to their experience. And for some (my boss is one example) shortening their first name is deeply offensive. In the 4 years I have known Jacqui I have only once made the mistake of calling her Jack. I will NEVER do it again, she hates it. It might have something to do with the fact that would make her Jack Frost, it might not. But whatever the reason, it doesn't make her feel loved, liked or a valued customer, it is more a case of you taking liberties without her permission.
So if you are wanting to create a friendly atmosphere and a customer experience, you have to tread a fine line between courtesy and informality. But then it's about building a relationship over time isn't it - so as you get to know them you get to know what they want to be called - what they sign up under may be different from how they sign off their emails for example and then you can begin to move forward. So pay attention to the little things, think about what your customers want and then begin to deliver like no one else does!
Until next time ...
I love playing with words and I have dreamed of being a writer since I was a child. With a romantic idea of scribbling away in a cold attic room with my trusty fountain pen. I have always dabbled, but until now it’s not come to much.
When I started with The Office Genie it was to provide me with a part time income to support my writing. Over time though I have developed into the Marketing Genie on a full time basis. I love it, I get to play with words all day as I try to share the dream and the passion that Jacqui has turned into The Office Genie. My work involves blogging, letter writing, email writing, web copy writing, e-book writing, campaign planning, strategy planning, social media interactions – it’s like I write and talk all day every day, my parent would say it’s the ideal job for me!
My first blog posts were about my day to day life as a Genie but they are growing into sharing my view of the business world. I am passionate about helping small businesses be the best that they can be, standing out from their competition in the small things that come together to give an impression of great service – to find out how we can help you should call me on the number below.