What do You Know about Your Business?
A few weeks ago, I stood at an airline check-in counter attempting to check a bag. Attempting is the keyword, as the gate agent was trying to charge me for the aforementioned bag. As a high-level frequent flier, I knew that there was no charge for my bag. The gate agent, however, did not. Twenty frustrating minutes and two additional gate agents later – my bag was checked with no charge.
How many times do customers stand in frustration and waste their time knowing MORE about your company and its policies than the company’s employees?
It’s probably far more times than any business leader would like. Your most frequent clients get to know your business – with each interaction they build knowledge about your policies. Chances are – these are also your most loyal and profitable clients. It’s critical to keep them happy and energized about your brand.
What To Do When Clients’ Knowledge Surpasses That Of Your Staff
It comes down to how you train your staff to approach customers and empower them to respond. These days too many companies are black and white. Employees are taught to adhere to and regurgitate policy – instead of listening to the client. Customers are shut down with a NO before being able to share their thoughts. The result? High client turnover, increasing client acquisition costs and shrinking profits
A simple change of approach can make a huge difference in your customer’s experience. Instead of telling customers your policy, train your staff to first LISTEN to the client and then empower them to find a workable solution.
Turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one by following the ALTUS “ASK” Approach:
- Acknowledge. When a client approaches an employee with differing information, train the staff member to first acknowledge the customer’s point of view. The customer will feel heard and feel like they are working in partnership with your staff – and not in combat.
- Share. Ask the client to share what his/her experience has been in the past. Does that experience match the current circumstance? What is the client’s understanding of your policy? Where is the breakdown?
- Keep. Keep a two-way dialogue with the client and find a solution together. If the client is correct, thank them for pointing out the discrepancy. If policies have changed, share that information with the client and apologize for the inconvenience.
If the airline gate agent was cooperate instead of argumentative, would I still be annoyed with the airline? Not a chance.
Create a meaningful client experiences by empowering your staff to have conversations with your clients and leverage your customer’s knowledge about your company. The impact? Your customers will feel acknowledged, heard and most importantly valued.