John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


Utilizing Your Company’s Customer Intelligence

The Fourth Commandment for creating a world-class customer experience is creating Secret Service systems that allow front-line employees to engage and interact with customers. This enables them to personalize the customer’s experience by anticipating their needs and Secret Service Bookdelivering satisfaction.

Secret Service — The ability to obtain Customer Intelligence and utilize that to personalize the customers’ experience and make them say, “How did they do that?” or “How did they know that?”

Customer intelligence is customer data (buying habits, purchasing history, referrals, personal preferences, where they live or work) that fuels secret service.

Many companies leave Secret Service driven by customer intelligence to chance: typically a few long-term employees create relationships with regular customers and this naturally happens. You have a high degree of inconsistency when it is only contingent on long-term employees and regular customers. The best customer service companies train all their employees, even their newest employees, to collect and utilize customer intelligence. A good system with the proper training allows even the newest employees to personally engage and recognize even those occasional customers.

Here’s how it should work: When a customer calls in to place an order, within seconds the call center representative should be able to pull up the database and historical information and be able to personalize the experience, citing things such as, “I know you like your orders to arrive at the beginning of the week,” or “How’s the weather in Portland?” Thus, all your customers feel like they are your only customer. None of these ideas cost anything or hurt the productivity of your front-line people.

Additional “non-negotiable” standards that businesses rarely implement but can be considered ‘low-hanging fruit’ are:

  • Warm-call transfers – The best customer service organizations answer their calls in the following manner.
    • (Receptionist) – “Thank you for calling TBS Enterprise. This is Susan. May I assist you?”
    • (customer) “Can I please speak to James Burns?”
    • (receptionist) – “Certainly, may I tell him who is calling and your company?”
    • (customer) “Bruce Wells, from Wells Supply.”
    • (receptionist) – “My pleasure, Mr. Wells”
    • (James Burns) – “Bruce!!! Great to hear from you, and tell me, how did your son’s soccer team make out at nationals?”
  • How do they take their coffee? As simple as that sounds, that is a perfect example of Secret Service. When making a sales call and you are meeting with the decision maker, (aka – CEO), how impressive is it when you walk in to your 15 minute meeting with his Venti Skinny Carmel Latte?

Altruistic Secret Service

John DiJulius

John DiJulius

My favorite Secret Service is when the customer service that is provided has no apparent hidden agenda, meaning it’s done with no expectation of the act directly benefitting the giver. For example, my accountant, Mike Trabert, from Skoda Minotti & Company, Cleveland, Ohio, out of the blue one day dropped off an autographed picture of Notre Dame football legend, Rudy, personalized to my oldest son, Johnni. I don’t recall telling him, but somehow he remembered that because of his size, that was my son’s nickname when he played youth football.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care

On the lead sales call with a CEO, he mentions to you how his company’s focus this year is improving their customers’ experience. The next day he receives a gift from you: a new copy of What’s The Secret? To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience with a note saying, “I know how important customer service is to your organization and thought you would enjoy this book.”
Don’t you think that would make you stand out from every other business person who’s making pitches, asking for orders, trying for more business and never finding out what is important to him and his business? And you simply send him a gift that has nothing to do with what you do or can do for him, but demonstrates you have genuine concern for helping him hit his business goals. Powerful!

Secret Service creates an emotional bond between customer and company that transcends the product or service. That bond, that feeling, becomes sought after again and again. It requires a personal connection between customer and employee, and often the lowest paid and least appreciated employee is the best source of this bond.

~John DiJulius is the Chief Visionary officer of The DIjulius Group

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