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Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have built an ice cream empire by connecting to and caring for their customers.

There is a spiritual aspect to our lives – when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!”

–Ben Cohen, Ben & Jerry’s

If you ask people on the street what their favorite companies are, you’ll likely get a wide range of answers.  Some will name a local yoga studio, and some will mention the department store Nordstrom.

One thing, however, is certain; each company mentioned provides an exceptional customer experience.  Companies that value and invest in their customers always follow a few simple rules.

What does caring have to do with it?

Carl, 47, runs a small toy company.  He recalls when an irate customer called because her child’s birthday present didn’t work.  Instead of merely processing the replacement, he expressed some empathy for his customer,

I understand that your gift arrived broken and I can tell how disappointed you are by this.  I will be sure to have a replacement sent out right away so that Jacob can enjoy his special gift.”

By approaching a customer in this manner, the problem can be resolved more easily and the customer will leave the experience feeling both heard and valued. You never want a customer leaving an interaction feeling more frustrated than when it started, and showing empathy is the key to avoiding this common pitfall.

Who is responsible?

When a customer has a problem, he needs someone to take ownership for his poor experience.  A simple statement can slow down even the angriest of tirades, allowing the conversation to proceed productively.  Robert, who works at a midsize computing firm, had a case where a customer had been expecting a replacement part for several weeks.  Instead of simply ordering the part, he said,

I am so sorry that we’ve failed to deliver on our promises.  I understand why you feel this is unacceptable as I would be unhappy as well. I will work with you to resolve this to your satisfaction and ensure you have a good experience in the future.”

By becoming the face of the company and accepting responsibility for the oversight, Robert was able to mend the relationship with the customer rather than merely fixing the problem.

Do the unexpected

When Karen, who works for a regional telephony provider, had a customer that was upset about being treated rudely (and on his birthday no less!), she resolved the situation by providing him with a nominal credit, and then went the extra mile by mailing him a company card to commemorate his special day.  By presenting him with an immediate solution along with an experience with personality, Karen’s customer was reminded that he was interacting with a company made up of real people.

Beloved companies solve customer-service issues by granting customer-service representatives the authority and freedom to use creativity in problem solving.  A customer never wants to hear, “We cannot do that.” or, “It’s not within my authority, let me transfer you.”  By granting  representatives the authority to swiftly meet  a customer’s needs, the customer’s experience will be simple, efficient, and vastly improved compared to your market rivals.

By following these three simple steps, your representatives will be able to truly serve your customers and turn customer-service problems into opportunities to forge better, stronger relationships.  Follow the ethos of Ben & Jerry’s and your happy customers will become your strongest and best sales force.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]