In my new Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.
The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video.
Stopping to get a tank of gas an a snack may not seem like an experience to obsess about, but at QuikTrip, it is their obsession. QuikTrip hires people with the ability to care; selecting only about one out of every one hundred applications. Then, they train these folks how to make change in their hand the old-fashioned way and how to count it back to you. They teach rigorous use of daily checklists to ensure that the coffee and food is fresh and the bathrooms are cleaned.
They’re coached on personalizing both service and care— so that when you walk in dragging three tired kids behind you, they give you a hand with the door, and treat you all to an ice cream, because you look like you could use one.
Make Hiring Your Most Important Decision
Would you tell your mom you couldn’t help her without first empathizing with her and trying to find a solution? QuikTrip and Make-Mom-Proud companies ensure that won’t happen by making hiring their most important decision. These companies focus on filling up their companies with people who care.
As we move past many of the traditional ways of interacting with companies, what we expect from the people across the chat-box, the sales counter, or the service desk has changed dramatically. Especially, the newest breed of customer is flexing their spending muscle by choosing to interact with companies that provide caring people, relevance, choice, and speed. The ability to empathize and be human is now cited as a reason why customers stay or go. It is a condition for earning that sale.
But this plays for all of us, doesn’t it? Social media feedback from every type of customer group cites how much the person understood who they were or if they got them. These are increasingly deciding factors for engaging deeper with a company or leaning away from it. Make hiring your most important decision.
Hire People Who Will Rise to the Occasion
Niki Leondakis, who’s the CEO of Equinox Fitness Centers, tells about an experience at a hotel that you may have had too. After an early run one morning, she got back to her hotel, dying for a cup of coffee. The restaurant wasn’t open yet, so she asked the front desk clerk if she could grab a cup of coffee from the kitchen for her.
What the front desk clerk told her was that: the kitchen wasn’t open yet; it would open in 10 minutes and she’d have wait. She couldn’t help her.
But why not? The hotel clerk could have easily walked out a few steps into the kitchen where the coffee was surely brewing by then, and then she could have simply gotten Ms. Leondakis a cup of coffee.
A small act of kindness that would have earned gratitude and a customer singing her praises. Instead, her behavior was talked about at a conference, in this book, and likely across a lot of social media. Hiring people with the ability to care will fuel your growth.
During these moments when your customer’s in need or has a worry or a problem, it is an opportunity to rise to the occasion. Failure to empathize or take the customer’s situation seriously is actually one of the most cited reasons for customers to walk away from a company and its people. It is one of the most important reasons to make how you hire and who you hire a priority.
Do You Put the Right Focus Into How You Recruit?
Make-Mom-Proud companies know that hiring people with the ability to care, and making caring and empathy a core value, is key to how they will grow. They take the time to make the interview go beyond questions on just aptitude and skill, to get to know the human behind the resume. They learn about the person whose actions will define who they are as people to customers, to partners, and to the marketplace.
How do we cut through the rigmarole of business to give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it?
In her latest book, customer experience expert Jeanne Bliss recommends making business personal to get the traction you need by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?”Learn More