3 big lessons from customer service heroes

By Laurie Brown

I am an NKBA University Instructor and customer service industry veteran with 29 years’ experience. Exceptional customer service has become a must to survive and thrive. With the rise of crowd sourced opinions being the go-to instead of traditional advertising or a pamphlet, businesses have to be even more careful about their reputations. 

Below, I share three lessons from big players synonymous with excellent customer service to apply to your own business. 
 
Lesson from Zappos: View every customer interaction as a chance to build your brand.

From its hassle-free return process to personalized responses to customer complaints, Zappos has created a fiercely loyal customer base through its world-class customer service. And since satisfied customers sing their praises via word of mouth marketing, their budget allocated to marketing is nominal. Disclosure: Zero marketing spend may not be the best practice for many designers, builders, etc.; but harnessing the power of your satisfied customers is, especially when 84% of consumers first and foremost trust recommendations from friends and family, according to a recent Nielsen survey. 

Lesson from Amazon: Strive to be a customer-centric company.

Amazon knows firsthand when everything is aligned—from operations to logistics—to work for the ultimate benefit of customers, in the long run it benefits Amazon, as well. While the design and construction industry can’t always deliver in two days or less like Amazon Prime, we can, however, take a look at our project management and operations to determine how we can better—and in a more timely fashion—meet client needs. Improved efficiency means happier clients, faster job turnaround, and ideally, more work.

Lesson from Uber: Manage expectations through frequent, timely communication.

This on-demand car service champions customer experience through its app, which communicates with users throughout the entire process (examples: surge charge notifications during rush hour or rainy weather, estimated pick-up time, etc.). By maintaining constant communication with your client, everyone stays on the same page when it comes to progress, timeline and budget.

To learn more on how to best service your customers, visit nkba.org/courses to check out NKBA University’s full “Focus on the Customer” course offerings online – many available on-demand 24/7. 

For those attending KBIS 2016 in Las Vegas, I will also be leading an onsite NKBA U course, “Born to Buy – Grow your Kitchen & Bath Business with Multigenerational Clients.” 

Laurie Brown has over two decades of experience as a trainer, coach, facilitator, and speaker, helping her audience improve their communication and customer and employee engagement. In that time she has earned a reputation as a highly engaging, fun and effective professional, whose work gets results for her clients. A key asset that Laurie brings to her work is her range and depth of experience. She has an international clientele, having worked on four continents and numerous countries including the U.K., Bahrain, Germany, Spain, Panama, Japan, Mexico, Australia and Thailand, and throughout the U.S. Laurie has worked with culturally diverse audiences at all corporate levels, and her clients have included Fortune 500 companies, dealerships, and small family-owned businesses. Laurie is passionate about providing engaging facilitation, training and coaching that makes a difference. She is the author of, "The Greet Your Customer Manual," "The Teleprompter Manual," and "Brand-aid."

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