Can “being human” actually differentiate your business and actually endear your customer to you? Zane Safrit, the author of today’s guest post, gives a resounding “Yes!” Check out his experience and see how you can tweak your customer interactions for the better.
Barb called me last week. I was on the phone, so she left me a voice mail. I started to smile almost from the start of her message. Her voice was personal and conversational; like a neighbor across the fence back when we had neighbors we knew and fences that kept us friends. If she worked from a script it was a script she wrote. She got right to the point of her call: had I received her company’s mater ials. She commented on Iowa; that she had a connection with Iowa and maybe we’d get to meet in person sometime. That told me she had prepared for the call by reviewing my profile. She understood that there was a person behind that account number in their records.
I kept smiling as I listened. My wife asked “Who’s that?” I asked her to wait. I wanted to hear the whole message. The next thing I knew, I was laughing. Her voice mail made laugh. Why? I was so happy to hear such a warm, personal and very professional voice mail. “Yes,” I thought. “It is possible!” Everything she said communicated not only her warmth but her confidence, and commitment, to her role and her company. Barb and her message reinforced in a real and meaningful way the principles of her company.
Barb works for Kevin Eikenberry and the Kevin Eikenberry Group. Her call in some respects was the standard follow-up call for a new customer. I say ‘standard’ because good companies make this a standard practice. But Barb and The Kevin Eikenberry Group transformed this standard tactic into something memorable. I saved the voice mail. It became something to celebrate.
How did they do that? And more importantly, how can your company create this same kind of delight and enthusiasm with your customers?
It starts clarity. Kevin is clear in creating and communicating his purpose with The Kevin Eikenberry Group. That clarity makes it easier to hire people whose skills and talents, passions and strengths, align together.
Then the secret ingredient of great leadership is added: Trust. Barb trusts that Kevin can honor his commitments. Kevin trusts Barb can honor her commitment. Barb trusts herself. She trusts what she says about her company. That’s why she can speak in her own words. And maybe Kevin trusts Barb to add what only Barb can add; her great personality.
The Kevin Eikenberry Group is in the business of Leadership coaching. And that might make you think that thsis type of phone experience is something they specialize in and that it’s just for those “fluffy” kinds of companies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Leadership coaching is not a commoditized industry. Even if it were, The Kevin Eikenberry Group would stand out. They would remain a standout in their customer’s minds with the personal attention of Barb.
But what about your industry? How do you differentiate yourself from the hordes of competitors driving your industry into commodity-hell? Consider what Kevin did. He created a meaningful purpose, he communicated it clearly and consistently. He hired ‘Barb’. Barb provides the finishing touch, the personal touch that delivers customer evangelists who spend an afternoon crafting a blog post that celebrates their company and her voice mail.
About the author: Zane Safrit’s passion is small business and the operations excellence required to deliver a product that creates word-of-mouth, customer referrals and instills pride in those whose passion created it. He previously served as CEO of a small business. Zane’s blog can be found at Zane Safrit.