by Jim Meisenheimer
Here are 7 questions I asked Lisa Ford and her responses to them.
1. How do you define customer service?
Customer service is “adding people to the product”. Now in today’s
world that can mean a lot. The reality is customer’s want choice and control
and you have to meet them on their terms.
So you must give them access to you on line, via email, live chat, social media
that is responsive, a real person option via a phone responsive phone system.
Then the service must deliver an experience that is memorable to keep the customer
2. In the retail environment, what are some of the biggest mistakes
Employees who just go through the motions. I call this simply “processing”
the customer and not serving them. Rarely do you see the employee who goes out
of their way to help and anticipate customer’s needs.
Honestly, we are lucky to even get eye contact and a sincere thank you.
Employees need to be responsive, follow up, be concerned when problems arise
and show they value the business.
3. How about in the business to business sector?
In this sector, team members must be communicating across departments so the
customer feels the business “knows” them. That means sales and service
need to be on the same page.
Show you have the customer’s best interest in mind by letting
them know how to best use your products, show you have their back and offer
value added information and build real relationships.
4. Can you provide a few examples of what works in customer service?
Here are a few examples - Zappos sends me an email when a certain brand of
shoe is available in my size. They sign the email with “Love, The Customer
They back this up with great team members who are empowered to serve along
with great products often delivered the next day.
Customers want reliability - do it right the first time and if not then have
an empowered team members who can make it right fast.
Customers want responsiveness to their individual needs and as I said earlier
on their terms.
Customers want to deal with a competent team member and prefer to deal with
one person and not be bounced around. And lastly customers want to know you
are respectful, understand and care about them and their business. Get to know
me and show you know me!
5. How about a few examples of what clearly doesn’t work?
Plenty of things don’t work but the stand outs are no follow up, no easy
access to a live person, team members who do not own the customer’s concern
and see it through to resolution and no indication that you “know”
me from previous interactions.
6. Is first class customer service even possible without training?
No. You must constantly stay focused on service issues. I believe without service
standards then everything is left to chance.
Training is the time to train to your service culture, convey expectations
and deliver the needed skills. Training also needs to be incorporated in small
doses at team meetings.
7. How do you help businesses and organizations achieve a higher level
of customer service?
My presentations help teams at all levels in the organization. When working
with the leadership team, our conversations are around creating the service
culture, hiring the best, training, empowering employees, reward and recognition
to keep the momentum going and the necessary leadership strategies for championing
sustainable customer loyalty.
I also work with service and sales teams. In those sessions we cover ideas
on how customers define quality service, seeing your service from the customer’s
eyes, delivering memorable experiences as well as the skills of listening, words
to use and words to avoid, owning issues and recovering loyalty and handling
difficult customer situations.
My sessions are filled with strategies that can be implemented immediately.
About Lisa Ford
Lisa Ford is a speaker with over 20 years of experience presenting to businesses,
associations and government. She speaks throughout the United States and internationally
on topics of customer service, leadership, team issues and change.
Lisa is best known for her work in the areas of customer service. She is the
author of the videotape series How to Give Exceptional Customer Service, the
#1 selling business tapes in the U.S. for over 3 years.