In the late 1960s, a dyslexic teenager was told by a teacher that he’d “either end up in prison or become a millionaire.” He chose the latter by grinding out a living after he dropped out of school. Instead of getting a traditional education, this young man was hustling for his. He was running a magazine called Student out of a church and selling records by undercutting his competitors. This humble start was just the beginning for Sir Richard Branson.
Since his days slinging records to fellow students, Richard Branson has worked his way to becoming a multi-billionaire and one of the most recognizable businessmen in the world. He has started over 400 companies and serves as the Virgin Group chairman. Branson’s Virgin brand houses hundreds of companies that he has been involved with.
Richard Branson‘s tale is one that’s been told hundreds of times. It’s a story worth fawning over; a rags-to-riches tale that gives many young entrepreneurs hope as they try and build their own flagship brand.
At the core of Richard Branson’s success has been great customer service. Many of his companies are B2C companies, like Virgin America and Virgin Records. Branson recognized the value customer service had when it came to selling to individual consumers.
When discussing customer service, Branson has said, “Simplicity and good customer service will win every time.”
1. Continually Ask Yourself, “Is This How I Would Want to Be Treated if I Were the Customer?”
An endless stream of customer requests may make it seem as if customers are faceless beings with no emotion. It’s easy to put service toward customers on autopilot. But your customers are not faceless beings, they’re real people; it’s important you treat them like that.
By asking yourself “Is this how I would want to be treated if I were the customer?” it keeps your customer human. If you don’t think you’d be pleased with the service, why do you think it’s acceptable for your position? Remind your team of this phrase if you suspect performance is not as personal as it should be.
2. Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver and Deliver Everything Your Promise
When it comes to romantic relationships, honesty is routinely listed as one of the top priorities. Honesty is also valued when it comes to your business/customer relationship.
If your company is making wild promises to customers to make them happy in the short-term, but you’re unable to follow through on them, it will only create a more difficult situation.
Make sure your team is honest with customers, keeping them informed on what can and cannot be done. Disappointing customer service doesn’t just happen because customer support is rude. It can also happen when reps don’t communicate properly and offer false hope.
Being honest and keeping your customers’ expectations realistic, will enable you to have a positive relationship with your customers. If you keep your word and deliver what you’ve promised, your business will do well.
3. It’s All About the Details
Branson encourages entrepreneurs to carry around a notebook at all times. This way, they can jot dot notes whenever they notice a small detail about their business.
Knowing all the details will make a huge impact with customer service.
When customers are contacting customer service, it’s because they have questions and they want answers. They don’t want to wait for long periods or be passed on to the next person.
If you don’t know the details about your company’s business and products, you could be losing business.
Knowing the details about your business can also create a delightful experience for customers. By offering related details about the request, customers will feel be more pleased with your service and more willing to recommend you to their friends.
4. Lead by Listening
As discussed earlier, communication is key to success. Whether it’s communication between you and your team or with a customer, clear communication will make everyone more comfortable. This starts by listening. Leaders listen. Listen not only to your customers, but your team. Strong communication starts at the top.
If employees know you’re listening to them, they’ll be more confident to communicate with you. Listening can help nip small problems in the bud, like a inefficient process, rather than let them fester into larger problems down the line.
Leaders listen. Listen not only to your customers but your team. Strong communication starts at the top. If employees know you’re listening to them, they’ll be more confident to communicate with you. Listening can help nip small problems in the bud, like an inefficient process, rather than let them fester into larger problems down the line.
5. Create Value in the World
Different people find value in different things, depending on who you are and what your situation is. Value doesn’t necessarily mean creating a world-changing business.
People find value in small things like speed of response, accuracy in answers, and empathy towards their problem.
A customer service rep’s sole focus should be to create amazing value for the customer, through their first-rate customer experience. Like I previously mentioned, quick and detailed responses can make the customer walk away feeling good.
Your customer service team is an extremely important part of your team. They can be the difference between poor word of mouth and amazing brand enthusiasts. The latter only occurs when a customer feels like they’ve had a wonderfully valuable experience.
Richard Branson’s legacy will not only live on through his numerous Virgin brands but in the actions of normal, hardworking people. Strengthen your customer success team by listening to these five pieces of advice from Richard Branson and apply the lessons to your customer service experience.