Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary
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Great customer service is rare. In fact, one survey found that while 80 percent of companies described themselves as delivering "superior" service, consumers estimated the number at a mere 8 percent. The problem, according to service expert Steve Curtin, is actually quite simple. When asked what their work entails, most employees list the duties and tasks associated with their position. Very few refer to the true essence of their job, which should be their highest priority--to create delighted customers who will be less price sensitive, have higher repurchase rates, and enthusiastically recommend the company or brand to others. Without this customer focus, all that exists is a transaction--and transactional service does not make a lasting positive impression or inspire loyalty. In "Delight Your Customers," Curtin reveals three elements common to all exceptional service experiences. He also makes a compelling case that attention needs to shift from monitoring service activities to modeling, recognizing, and reinforcing the behaviors that actually create happy customers, such as expressing genuine interest, offering sincere compliments, sharing unique knowledge, conveying authentic enthusiasm, providing pleasant surprises, and delivering service heroics when needed. Illustrated with real-world stories and examples, this refreshing guide helps readers everywhere take their customer service from ordinary to extraordinary.
Using names, remembering preferences, and soliciting feedback are all conventional ways to compliment customers by reinforcing their importance. But some of the most memorable ways—as modeled by realtor Ginger Wilson (discussed earlier in this chapter)—are the least conventional. Years ago, the executive team of a Marriott hotel in Denver was making a sales presentation to a group of executives from United Airlines. Marriott was competing with a number of local hotels for a significant number of
mention of any attention to job essence. Job essence reflects employees’ motivation (why they do it). Employees are typically less clear about this dimension of their job roles, mainly because they are focused on job function. What motivates employees individually—their unique purpose or vision for their lives—is beyond the scope of this book (although the most effective leaders do engage their employees to glean insight into what motivates each of them as individuals). For our purposes, we are
call center environment, for instance, if employees observe their supervisor neglecting to smile into the phone and add enthusiasm to his voice during customer calls, then they too may view these behaviors as optional. Even worse, the supervisor now loses credibility with the staff, which devalues any future conversations pertaining to customer service. Great service starts with great leadership. If you are in a leadership role, it is essential that you model the customer service standards and
simple and concrete. Similar to the Zappos example, every shopping center employee can understand and remember it. A lack of clarity of purpose exists whenever employees know what to do and how to do it, but do not know why they are doing it. Most often, this is the case. When I ask five employees with the same job title what they do and how they do it, 80 percent of the responses are similar. This is no surprise since these employees are simply describing their job functions. However, when I
money. If a hotel guest is granted early access to or late departure from her room, the hotel has provided a pleasant surprise that costs nothing. Similarly, if a gate agent chooses to upgrade a passenger to an available economy-plus seat with more legroom, there is no hard cost to the airline, but a lasting positive impression has been made on the customer. At Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, there is no additional cost for housekeepers to creatively reposition stuffed animals or Disney character