In this issue:

From the president

It takes a village to build a brand

I really hate it when you

Relationships 101
The Dalai Lama on customer experience

Has he got a book out too?

Well no, but as we begin a new year and begin to set goals or revise old goals, it's a time for reflection and planning — what will 2004 bring?

I looked back at the words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama on the millennium - he was talking about customer experience. Amazing isn't it? Out of his 19 lessons, I've selected 3 to share with you today (lessons #1, #3 and #7). I'm sure you'll see the customer experience connection. You can read the rest of the lessons at: www.poeticexpressions.co.uk

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

    Creating moments of magic for your customers takes effort. It takes planning. And, it requires that you take risks to try new things to constantly delight your customers. What's the reward? Customer loyalty or in Dalai Lama's words...customer love. As you've read many times in our articles, you've got to connect emotionally with your customers. When they love you, they'll continue to buy your products and services and they'll refer their friends to you too. When you give out love, you get it back. The risk is what you do to let your customers know that you care about them.

3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.

    We must respect ourselves before we can show any respect for others...that's a given. When you don't, your lack of self-respect comes across in your voice, the words you choose and in your behaviour. It doesn't inspire confidence in your customers.

    Respect for others can be shown in many ways. We often talk about the value of a smile, a friendly hello, and your undivided attention. Respect for others is about acknowledging other people, listening to them and acknowledging them. It's all about acknowledging your customers as people. It's also about acknowledging your staff as people. And all people need to be and feel cared about. It's human nature.

    It is the third R, however, that is not well practiced today, especially in business. Taking responsibility for your actions. That's what customer experience is all about, taking responsibility for ensuring that the customer's experience is memorable...in a positive way. I'm not suggesting that we take responsibility for the actions of others, but I am saying that when you are the person who takes the call from a customer about an issue...take responsibility for following up. If you delegate the issue to someone else, keep the issue on your "to do" list too and take responsibility for getting back to the customer. Your customer will feel great that you cared enough about them to make sure that their issue was resolved. And, you'll feel great too!

7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

    This sounds so obvious but many people are afraid to admit when they've made a mistake. They don't want to take responsibility for resolving the issue, but it is necessary. Taking immediate steps can save a customer relationship. It can even save your self-respect. There are lessons to be learned in every mistake. It's when you repeat the mistake without learning the lesson that there's truly a problem.

Those are the lessons for today. I do hope that when you set your goals and dreams list for the year that you think about the Dalai Lama and his words on customer experience. Remember most of all, that you always have the power to create moments of magic for your customer - it takes effort, it takes a smile, it takes caring...but it's always worth it in the end.

In this issue, we ask you to think about what it really takes to build a successful brand. And, Ruth-Anne talks about the "top 10" customer service peeves of all time. Finally, we introduce Elizabeth Cockle, a colleague, who shares her thoughts on building and maintaining business relationships.

As always, we love feedback. Click here to let us know what you think of this month's articles.

FREE WEB SEMINAR

Customer Experience:
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by Delighting Your Customers

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
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Click here to register.
It takes a village to build a brand

Your company brand is a set of promises that you make to your customers every single day. So, as long as you've hired an advertising or brand agency to manage your brand for you, everything will be okay and you'll be delivering on those promises, right? Wrong! Successful brands are built by members of your brand community not by CRM systems or leaders with a short-term focus. At the end of the day, it's all about relationships.

Editor's note: This article is so good that we just had to share it with you. You'll need to register to read it but it's well worth the extra few seconds of your time.

I really hate it when you...

Corporate executives agree that customer experience is the next competitive battleground — companies will compete based on the experiences they provide to their customers not on product or price. It's as simple as that. Are you doing all that you can to provide an exceptional experience? Maybe. Maybe not. Take a look at our "top 10" list of customer service peeves. You may be surprised when you see what number one is.

Relationships 101

Building strong relationships is the most important element of providing exceptional customer service. Join our colleague, Elizabeth Cockle, as she explores four key strategies to help you nurture client relationships. They're so good that you may want to start using the strategies right away.

This Month's Poll
Close your eyes for a moment and think about a really bad experience you've had with a company. What did you do after the experience?

Just shrug it off as someone having a bad day
Get upset but then give the company another chance
Take your business to a competitor
Something else


Results

January 2004 - Issue No. 15
Just to be clear is a monthly
e-publication for clients and
colleagues of:
The Customer Experience Company
a division of Carolyn Watt & Associates Inc.
7181 Woodbine Avenue, Suite 234
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 1A7
phone: 905-470-0139 fax: 905-470-2619
Questions or comments?
Contact Ruth-Anne Boyd
at ext. 221 or by email
at raboyd@itsaboutretention.com