An Interview with Bill Quiseng: “Taking care of a customer and caring for the customer are not the same thing”
Editor’s note: In today’s customer-driven world, the competition is becoming stiffer every day. The organizations skip a thought of business growth without the exceptional relationships with prospects. So, how to acquire the stunning customer service skills to win the client’s loyalty?
We present you an interview Bill Quiseng, Chief Experience Officer at billquiseng.com and customer service blogger. He guides us through the main aspects of the successful client experience, as well as shares the stories about the hospitality industry. Find out how to create the quality customer relationships and empower your team to reach the desired results.
1. Bill, you have over 30 years of the luxury resort and club management experience. Can you tell us, why did you choose the hospitality industry?
Actually, the hospitality industry chose me. While I was attending graduate school to earn a teacher’s credential, I worked on weekends and during the summer at what was then Marriott’s Great America Theme Park in California. Marriott Hotels came to interview candidates for their management development program. I was very fortunate to be selected as one of only three who were offered an opportunity. I said to myself if I didn’t like it after a year or two, I could always go back to education. I’ve never looked back since.
2. In your blog, you provide the practical insights on how to build the successful relationships with the clients. Could you please name 3 tried and tested practices to implement in the first place?
If you are a manager:
1. Choose the right people. You can teach practically anyone the technical skills to do any customer service job. But without the innate soft skills to be friendly, empathetic and caring, it is doubtful that an individual will be a successful customer service professional. Find those with the soft skills. Teach them the rest.
2. Create in your team a sense of purpose. Mission statements don’t win customers. Passion statements do. Managers have no right to lead others unless they are passionate about what they want to accomplish.
3. Reward and recognize success. When I first joined Marriott, there were only 30 Marriott hotels throughout the world. Today, with the recent Starwood merger, there are over 6000 Marriott branded properties. I am convinced that Marriott’s success is based on the foundational leadership mantra of its founder, J.W. Marriott, “Take care of associates and they'll take care of your customers.” Focus on people over profits.
If you are a customer service professional:
Read the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence Others” by Dale Carnegie, the best customer service and sales book ever written. The 80-year-old examples are dated, but the principles are timeless.
Taking care of a customer and caring for the customer are not the same thing. Know the difference.
Think RELATIONSHIPS or Go Broke.
3. How essential are the client surveys and customer feedback as an element of the customer experience?
The value of client surveys is not in the Overall Satisfaction or Net Promoter score, but in the verbatim customer comments. That’s where the gold is. I am convinced you cannot meet the expectations of your customers if you don’t know what they are. At the same time, you can’t even begin to satisfy customers until you remove all the potential dissatisfiers. So how do you find out what are the customer expectations and which ones are not being met? Just ask. Your customers will let you know.
4. Bill, you are one of the speakers in the Forbes’ article about the social media in customer service. In your opinion, how can social media help the companies create the successful CX environment?
It used to be that when a customer was dissatisfied, he may have simply walked out not even telling the company. He might tell a few of his friends. Not much financial harm in that. But today a dissatisfied customer can tell the world using social media as a megaphone, generating a potentially disastrous impact on a company’s reputation and profitability. The good news is that positive social media can catapult a company into the spotlight like no other public relations or advertising effort could create.
The real key to creating a successful customer experience is to listen to the customer. No matter how great a company is, they still can’t read the minds of their customers. But now, they don’t have to guess what the customer is thinking. Customers today are speaking their minds loud and clear on social media. All a company has to do is listen to what their customers are saying and then act fast on that feedback. Eliminate the dissatisfiers and enhance the positive qualities of your product.
5. Being in the hospitality sector, how popular is the implementation of CRM systems in this type of industry? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the platforms? Do you think CRM solutions can enhance the customer loyalty and retention?
CRM solutions allow any company to deliver a consistent experience for individual guests. Specifically, in the hospitality industry, thousands of employees take care of millions of guests every day. But no customer cares about that statistic. There is only one metric he cares about – one to one. That one guest in front of one employee. That guest is asking this question, “Does this employee care about me?” Whenever we can use technology as a tool to have that guest know we understand his individual preferences, we show we truly care about him as an individual. We are committed to meeting his personal expectations and offering a consistently problem-free and ultimately satisfying experience. When it comes to customer experience, that kind of consistency builds trust. Trust builds loyalty. And loyalty builds your business.
6. “You can’t satisfy the customers with the disengaged employees. Start there first.” Can you be more specific and explain your quote for our readers?
If you don’t care genuinely about your employees, your employees will care even less for your customers. To get your employees to care for your customers, you must first C.A.R.E. for your employees:
Communicate. Make sure every employee understands the mission, values and expectations. Remember that communication is two-way. Your employees know 100% of your customers’ pain points because your customers tell them every day. Ask for that feedback and their insight on how you could do better.
Appreciate. If you want your employees to make it a habit to deliver outstanding customer service, you must make it a habit to thank them when they do.
Recognize. Celebrate customer service success stories.
Empower. Ensure they have the knowledge, tools and equipment to resolve any customer service issues.
7. The pace of innovation continues to evolve, will the companies put more emphasis on the customer experience? How the future client will look like? What actions our readers can take right now to adapt to the changing prospects’ expectations?
The innovations in technology, especially via customer review websites and social media, are raising customer expectations exponentially. Where once that information was accessible only from a desktop, it is now available on their smartphone. Literally at their fingertips, customers can research the price and quality of any product before they purchase. Customers are not only as knowledgeable as your employees are about your product, they know what other customers think of your product, as well as your competitors.
So how do you meet the expectations of a customer who has an easily accessible knowledge database?
Be the customer. Use the same social media tools to listen to what customers are saying. If even one customer says it on social media, know that there are many others who are thinking the same thing. If it is a dissatisfier, work hard and fast to eliminate the pain point. If it is point of satisfaction, ask yourself what could you do to make it just a little bit better. Don’t just search for the comments about your product. Review the comments of your competitors. Are their customers citing an advantage that you need to consider incorporating into your product? You aren’t going to be 100% better than your competition. But you can be 1% better in a hundred ways.
Remember nobody cares about how good you used to be. They only care about how good you are now. And now changes every day. You need to do the same.
We’d like to thank Bill for the valuable answers and practical recommendations. We are sure the suggestions provided in this interview will help our readers to attract more prospects, build positive customer experience, and improve client retention.
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