Beyond Customer Service

“Your Customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” ~Damon Richards

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We are constantly hearing about how great customer service is critical and perhaps the most important competitive advantage for any business to possess.  When we do hear about ‘phenomenal service’ it is usually linked to large organizations such as “Amazon or Apple”.  One might ask, do we have to be like those organizations to have exceptional customer service?  And most importantly, we hear so often how important customer satisfaction is but how often are we taught the strategies to achieve it?

Let’s be serious, in a production based atmosphere, where a person may forget to take a lunch or even get up to use the bathroom, how often is it that this same person has the time or even the gumption to pick up the newest article on “Exceptional Customer Service” and read it, let alone apply it to their day to day activities? The answer is, “not often enough”.  While training is a key aspect to empowering team members with the skills they need to do a great job; it is also true that retention of that training may be short-lived if it is not also built into the company’s culture.  So we can train our socks off with new hires and prepare them for the “Great Customer Experience” but once they hit the floor, chances are their head will be swimming with daily tasks, new responsibilities and the fear of keeping it all together.

So how then do we create an atmosphere that is customer centric with a goal of exceptional customer care?  The first step is by hiring the right people.  Finding people who already demonstrate the desire to provide a pleasurable experience for the customer and who possess the positive energy to transform a team with an upbeat attitude and an “I can change the world one customer at a time” mentality.  Steve Jobs once said “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do”.   We do not have to achieve what Steve Jobs achieved to change the world.  We can make a difference one person – one customer at a time.  While working in Customer Service, I worked with a broker who called me almost daily to check on her appraisals.  One day she called in for an update and I noticed she was under the weather.  After providing her with her order update I made a point to wish her well before hanging up.  She called a few days later for another update and I simply asked if she was feeling better.  She was astounded by the fact that I not only remembered she had been ill but cared enough to ask how she was doing.  Folks, it does not take much to make a memorable impression.  The Golden Rule is so simple and so true; when we treat others the way we would like to be treated; we are more likely to be treated that way in return.

Yet, it is my opinion that great customer service is within us, and while training and development will provide us skills and strategies to improve upon, it comes down to the “heart” we bring to each day – to each customer – to each experience that truly matters.  The truth is “the customer’s perception is your reality”.  So ask yourself, what do you want your reality to be?  Then go out and create it!

-Susan Stirling – Training Specialist, Team Member Services