A recent family trip to Spain has left a remarkable impression on me. It was one of those great ‘family together’ moments which will forever be recalled as ‘one of the best’! Last night I was flicking through my phone pictures, reliving the memories of this totally awe inspiring trip and I caught myself thinking of an experience I had that may be of interest to you.

It was one of the highlights. For months we had been planning and anticipating our trip to The Alhambra, the famous fortress turned palace, adorned with architectural influences from different reigning cultures since AD889. Just amazing! To make sure we gave ourselves every opportunity to truly understand this complex and significant place we booked a tour guide. Enter the amazing Nicolás who delivered an exceptional customer service experience.

Nicolás guided 30 of us from four different countries, and a full range of ages from babes in arms to seniors through the grounds, courts and forts of this incredible site. He humanised its history, highlighting its design, creating an immersive, informative and entertaining experience for all of us.

He had humour and attitude, trotted out fun and engaging facts, anticipated our needs and was honest – warning us of the inevitable up-selling in the gift-shop afterwards.

At the end he asked for an endorsement – and we happily complied! It’s some amazing customer service, don’t you think, if a world away you are still being thought about and recommended!

Great customer service, I realised, is about being guided – by the right person and through the right process; just like my family and the rest of our group were guided around The Alhambra. At the heart of ‘the Nicolás’ approach was knowledge, human understanding and a genuine passion for the place and the important role he played as guide.

At the beginning of the tour, we were confused, knew nothing and felt that inevitable uncertainty when doing something new, just like a customer does! By the end, we walked away elated, confident in our decision and truly grateful for the experience; just the way great customer service makes you feel!

So how did he do it? And what’s this got to do with you?

Well we’re betting that you know that good customer service makes good business sense. In our work, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of customer service. What we’ve learnt though is that all of these can be turned into the great. Every one of your staff members has the potential to be a Nicolás, to be a supportive and informative guide.

Across the nation, to countless customer service groups, we’ve taught our LURE customer service program. Embedded in our program are the four fundamentals of great customer service. I want to share them with you.

Firstly your team, they need to listen – actively. It is the only way to make sure you truly understand your customers’ needs and wants and that they feel safe in expressing them. Guides who actively listen pave the way to great customer service.

Great guides also understand the customer’s behaviour – how well they are coping with their issues and what might be needed to get them to shift their ground so they’re more receptive to potential responses. We use the Four Rooms of Change ®, a compelling and elegant framework about the four frames of mind and associated behaviour humans display during change or transition. And when you’re seeking help you’re either hoping or about to make something change.

Once you’ve got this sorted you can respond well – and fast. Responsive customer service will set you apart. This means being perceptive and accurate in meeting your customers’ needs. It means shepherding them through the confusion to finding what works best.

To be a truly effective guide though, your team members need to enjoy what they are doing. Attitude counts! This makes every interaction they have with customers great for them and great for you. This is where we create Nicolás’s.

Customer service that sells and creates life long loyalty, that feels exciting, for the customer and for the team, is a skill that needs to be learnt and then practised. Our LURE program, built on the bed of these four fundamentals has seen transformative results for private, public and not-for-profit organisations.

If you’re interested in turning your business into a team of Nicolás’s, and achieving excelente servicio get in touch. Gracias. Adios.