By Shep Hyken, Advisorpedia

Happy New Year! I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, which are often broken. Instead, I like setting and resetting my goals for the year, and in my world, those goals focus on delivering an amazing customer service experience.

So, I’ve created a list of simple ways to deliver the experience that everyone wants. Here are 23 ways to help you and your teams provide an amazing customer experience in 2023.

1. Manage the first impression. It sets the tone for what’s to follow.

2. Manage last impressions. They create lasting impressions.

3. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Customers want to work with people who “know their stuff.”

4. Make the customer feel like a person. Customers are not a sale, an account number, a prospect, etc. They are people.

5. Respond quickly to calls and emails. Fast response time creates confidence.

6. Don’t make customers wait on hold. Making customers wait for unreasonable amounts of time is a sign of disrespect.

7. Be nice and show empathy. Create a warm human-to-human experience.

8. Be available. How easy are you to reach? And if you’re not available, go back and read No. 5 again.

9. Treat employees the way you want customers to be treated. How employees are treated will be felt on the outside by customers.

10. Eliminate friction. If there is anything in the process of doing business with you that’s hard on the customer, find a way to eliminate or mitigate it.

11. Act like a leader. My friend Mark Sanborn says, “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” Be the person everyone admires and wants to emulate.

12. Always be polite. Say please and thank you. It shows you respect and appreciate your customers.

13. Be proactive. If you know there’s a problem, let the customer know before they call you. Any form of proactive communication is always appreciated.

14. Have an abundance mindset. Be generous – and don’t keep score. Zig Ziglar used to say, “You will get all you want in life if you help other people get what they want.”

15. Give customers the gift of your time. An extra few minutes with a customer goes a long way in building a relationship.

16. Give back to your community or contribute to a cause. Besides being a nice thing to do, customers gravitate to companies that “give back.”

17. Have a “helpful” mindset. What can you do to help your customers be more successful?

18. Don’t make excuses when problems arise. Instead, think in terms of explanations. Excuses show weakness. Explanations are reasons that can be followed up with how you plan to fix the problem.

19. Be flexible. Excellent customer service lies in flexibility. Rules should be guidelines.

20. Avoid phrases customers hate, such as, “It’s not my department,” or, “That’s our company policy.” I refer to these as loyalty killers.

21. Train and empower your employees. If you have good people and train them well, let them do their job. Customers love working with empowered employees.

22. Be customer focused. That means that every decision you make keeps the customer in mind. That doesn’t mean every decision will make the customer happy, such as a price increase, but at least you’ve considered the impact or result of your decisions.

23. Express appreciation. Say, “Thank you!” Depending on how your customers like to communicate, it could be in person, on the phone, in an email, a text, or an old-fashioned hand-written note.

As you look at this list, you’ll see nothing complicated. The ideas may seem rather basic. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity. These are precisely the strategies and tactics that will make your customers say, “I’ll be back!”

Again, Happy New Year, and may 2023 be your best year yet – and each year better than the last!

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About LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC (LRPC) Monday Morning Minute is crafted to provide decision-makers with important information about the economy, investments and corporate retirement plans in a format that allows a reader to consume the information in less than 60 seconds. As an independent, objective investment adviser, LRPC has access to many sources of research and shares the best and most relevant information with its readers each week.

About Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC (LRPC) is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based independent, objective Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing investment advisory, fiduciary compliance, employee education, provider management and plan design services to employer retirement plan sponsors. The firm specializes in sustainable investment strategies for retirement plans that incorporate Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) factors and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) elements. LRPC currently has contracts in place to provide consulting services on more than a half billion dollars in plan assets. For more information, please contact Robert C. Lawton at (414) 828-4015 or bob@lawtonrpc.com or visit the firm’s website at https://www.lawtonrpc.com. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser.

Important Disclosures

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance, tax, legal or investment advice. Each plan has unique requirements and you should consult your attorney or tax adviser for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC assure that, by using the information provided, a plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations. Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. The statements in this publication are the opinions and beliefs of the commentator expressed when the commentary was made and are not intended to represent that person’s opinions and beliefs at any other time. The commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC and should not be construed as recommendations or investment advice. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC offers no tax, legal or accounting advice and any advice contained herein is not specific to any individual, entity or retirement plan, but rather general in nature and, therefore, should not be relied upon for specific investment situations. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser and accepts clients outside of Wisconsin based upon applicable state registration regulations and the “de minimus” exception.