Read "Ignore Your Customers" if you do NOT want your hard-won customers to go away. Because if you ignore them, they surely will go away. Once you have your customers, this book shows you the steps to keep them and thrill them.
Micah Solomon, a world renowned customer service expert, is one of those people who does mystery shopping for large brands. You’ve probably heard of mystery shopping. It’s a method to provide feedback about the customer service experience. A mystery shopper is a qualified individual who goes out, shops (or otherwise experiences a product or service) and reports back along with recommendations.
Solomon does that and a lot more, including consulting with companies to create the systems to deliver world class customer service. His client list is a who’s who of premier brands like Walmart, Microsoft, Suntrust, Virgin Hotels and the Cleveland Clinic.
And now he’s written a book for organizations of all sizes, including smaller ones that are not yet in a position to hire a mystery shopper or a renowned consultant — yet who still want to deliver a top-notch customer service experience. He has a way of getting to the heart of what’s important to customers. He helps you see things through the customer’s eyes.
The Premise Behind Ignore Your Customers (And They’ll Go Away)
Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away) is a practical guide for transforming your customer service approach.
What makes this book unique is that it’s laid out with actionable advice, including what the author calls cheat sheets, i.e., lists of techniques to use. He also includes business book group reading guides, questions and prompts.
In the book he starts out, “I’ll be both your instructor and your cheerleader, helping you avoid the missteps that lead to alienated customers and showing you the positive steps.”
Customer service in the author’s view is more than about feeling good (although connecting emotionally with customers is very important). Rather, he points out the science, logic and dollars and cents behind customer service. He reminds us that treating customers well is good business and the results will drop to the bottom line.
“Customer service is the new marketing. Positive or negative, it’s what determines the public’s impression of your company more than ever before,” Solomon told us in an email interview. Today, customers leave reviews and share opinions online about businesses. And it is easier than ever for potential new customers to find those shared opinions and make a decision about your company before you ever speak with them.
The book shows you how to harness word of mouth from happy customers and do it at scale. As Solomon says in the book, “If you neglect your customers, it’s probably going to hurt you more than it hurts them.”
This is an easy book to read. I met the author last year at a customer service event, and it reads just like how he talks. He uses straight-forward language anyone can understand. He’s easy to talk with and approachable. He sprinkles in real-life anecdotes to keep it interesting. You feel like he’s sitting down with you over a cup of coffee talking. Yet it’s backed with the authority and insights of years of experience.
The Power of Everyday Wow
This is a supremely useful book, and not just for big brands. Small business owners and customer service staff can learn from it.
Most of us who run our own businesses are, above all, practical and tactical. While we appreciate the strategic, we’re always looking for how-to and related advice we can implement quickly. We don’t have months to figure it out on our own.
With this book, you can simply start implementing techniques right away and see results. Solomon told us in the interview, “I wanted to write a complete and easy-to-follow guide to how to provide that extraordinary level of customer service that builds customer engagement and, ultimately, true customer loyalty. The results will flow, faster than you may imagine, straight to the bottom line.”
Solomon advises small businesses to look for opportunities he calls ‘everyday wow.’ “These are small moments that cost nothing or very little, other than attention. In my book, I point to the example of Madison, a Zappos contact center employee, who bonds with an older customer over the shared difficulties of narrow feet and finding comfortable shoes. This cost Zappos exactly zero.”
Another example is a salesperson at Nordstrom he raves about. “She sends us a bag of girl scout cookies every year, which has made my whole family fans of hers. This costs postage and the cost of the cookies — truly a bargain to make a connection like that.”
Solomon suggests a simple technique to help you and your team see things from the customer’s perspective. He says to remember, a customer is at the center of their own universe and you and your company are NOT.
“Keep this in mind and it can lead to other chances to make a connection. If Mrs. Smith calls in and you say, ‘I was just thinking of you! Are you up to 13 cats or are you holding steady at 12?’ this will delight Mrs. Smith, because in her own reality, Mrs. Smith thinks all the time about herself and her cats. So you’ve made an emotional connection by bringing what’s important to her to the fore of the conversation, right off the bat,” he adds.
Why Read This Book
One thing that would be nice is a companion workbook and/or a template that readers could print off and use to develop a customer service action plan. Solomon provides something almost as good. In the book he points out that if you email him, he will send bonus materials including:
- how to do customer service recovery
- 25 innovation prompts
- customer service culture matrix
- keys to building a customer service culture
- all of the book club reading guides/questions/prompts in one place
And you can develop a plan on your own using the book as a guide. Pick out key points, discuss them internally with your team, and turn them into action.
Read Ignore Your Customers if you do NOT want your hard-won customers to go away. Because if you ignore them, they surely will go away. But if you pay attention to them, you’ll attract even more customers through the word of mouth effect.
You also need to track how fast you are responding to inquiries. This will help you see if your customer needs are being addressed quickly.