What Lord Nelson can Provide you in Touch Point Customer Service

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What Lord Nelson can Provide you in Touch Point Customer Service

By John Stanley Customer Service, we’ve probably all attended courses on the subject. I for one have tutored hundreds of them over the years, but in customer service we still often miss the point and fail to impress the customer. Let me give you two examples from my experiences recently in hotels. I stayed at �The Nelson Hotel� in Norwich recently, I had not been to Norwich for a number of years and was looking forward to doing a bit of exploring after I had finished my conference presentation. The check in procedure went smoothly and efficiently. The receptionist could have been on a customer workshop and come out of it with flying colours. All went well until I asked her �Why is the hotel called The Nelson?� Her response was �I have no idea.� It was only at the end of my stay in town that I discovered that Horatis Nelson was born in the village of Burnham Thorpe near to Norwich and spent his early life in the city. If I had found that out earlier, my exploration of the city would have been a lot more enlightening. The receptionist missed one of the critical touch points in the customer journey. I also recently presented at a conference in Dubai. To get there I had to pack my suitcase, carry it to my car, drive it to the airport, carry it to the check in and go through a similar exercise to get to the entrance of the hotel. When I got to the door a concierge rushed up grabbed my suitcase, wheeled it 15 metres to the receptionist and waited in silence for a tip. Having managed my suitcase on a journey half way around the world, I was peeved that a silent concierge expected a tip for wheeling it the last 15 metres. In my world the concierge may have been on a customer service workshop, but had to been told about human touch points. Do it with Attitude I was therefore pleased to read in the June 11th 2007 edition of Time Magazine I am not the only customer missing the human touch points. Andrew Cosslett is the CEO of the Inter Continental Hotel Group, a company whose head office is based in Windsor in the UK. In his travels he seems to have had the same frustrations as me when he hits the road. He is training his concierge team and other hotel team members in the key human touch points in customer service in the hotel industry. The concierge no longer grabs your bag and walks silently to the reception desk. The hotel team are being trained to be more approachable and to understand the customers needs and wants. Instead of rushing to grab the bag, the concierge approaches the customer, askes how their journey was, how long they will be staying at the hotel and what is the reason for coming to town and at the same time they may help you with your suitcase. An increase in human touch points will increase tips as well as improve the customer experience. What are the Human Touch Points in Your Business? The old traditional touch points are being replaced by technology in many businesses. The bank teller has been replaced with the ATM, the airline check in team replaced by self check in procedures, and librarian checkout facilitators with self scanners. Organisations need to reaccess where are the key human touch points and how do you develop them. As Seth Godin mentions in his latest book �All Marketers are Liars� a key to building the touch point is that you tell stories that the customer believes. Customer service training still needs to cover the basics, but it needs to go a lot further to ensure the customer remembers the experience and wants to come back to build on that experience. What does this mean in practice? Hotel receptionists and concierge need a workshop in local history and need to visit the sites so they can really relate to and excite the customer. Farmers Market retailers need to know the folklore and stories related to the produce they sell. Garden centre retail members need to be able to be fashion consultants and advise on colour, form and texture as well as know the origins and stories connected to plants. Hardware retailers need to be able to tell stories based on the history and origins of tools they sell. Florists need to be abel to provide information on the origins of flowers as well as how to extend the vase life. The key is, yes, we need to train our teams in the basics of customer service, but technology is allowing time to free them up to be more effective in the Human Touch Points. Part of building these touch points is being the best story tellers in town. Perhaps your next customer service training workshop should include visits to the local history sites in your town. John Stanley is an internationally recognised conference speaker and retail consultant with over 25 years experience in 18 countries. He has authored several successful marketing and retail books including the best seller Just About Everything a Retail Manager Needs to Know. John’s retail experience covers hands-on retailing in supermarkets, hardware stores, garden centres, farmers markets and drug stores. For more information John Stanley and his services visit his website www.johnstanley.cc