Timely Useful Relevant accessible

A Simple T.U.R.N. to Better Customer Service


“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” – Donald Porter, VP of British Airways

E.L.A.A. = Everybody loves an acronym.

How about a “turn”? or T.U.R.N.

As I was thinking about my experience in customer service, the feedback I’ve shared and the conversations I’ve had around customer experience, I’ve noticed that it can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be.

  • Building relationships
  • Listening to concerns
  • Addressing issues
  • Helping where we can.
  • Being available
  • Being human.
  • Guiding repeat purchases

Yeah, you really could go on. And these all have sub-headings as well. But simple is always better. Whether in government, business or non-profit, it doesn’t matter…it’s about that customer.

The goal should be to T.U.R.N. to the customer. To be Timely, Useful, Relevant and Nearby. Hey, we do love our acronyms…

  • Be Timely – Your customers want a reply, information or even someone to talk to as soon as possible. Regardless of how busy you may be, response time is critical in showing you care about what they want and what they have to say or share. Do you have to have an answer right away? No. But timely also includes just acknowledging the issue or question.
  • Be Useful – Is the advice/product/service/content applicable to the customer’s situation or resolve something? Being useful is one of the most effective ways of building trust and relationships with customers. They’ll know they can come back to you as a trusted resource while you provide them something they actually want. (Jay Baer kinda has a thing about Youtility)
  • Be Relevant – Does the information you are sharing matter to the people you are talking to? Understanding your audience and their situation will only better help you to solve their problem, or at least better get where they’re coming from while you listen. Yep, listening is pretty key.
  • Be Nearby (aka accessible…”nearby” is better for the acronym) – social media, and much more Google, are where people are looking for answers or to address their concerns. On social, you need to engage where your public wants to be engaged. Online, make sure your information is easy to find and that your contact information is readily available. Don’t hide. Your customers hate that.

You can certainly go down the rabbit hole trying to please your customers, but the really effective strategy is in establishing a basic, “human” customer-centric philosophy. All the best ones are simple:

Stan Phelps‘s The Goldfish Rule  “give customers unexpected extras.”

Marsha Collier‘s “fish where the fish are.” (From her Virtual Hold interview)

Ted Coine‘s Leadership + Culture + Service = Profits (Switch and Shift Blog)

Now, remember to take that T.U.R.N….

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