What do you think of when you hear "Extraordinary Customer Service?" For most business owners or managers, when we hear those three words we immediately think of costly endeavors to win over or win back customers. We envision things such as large-scale construction projects to make our sales floors more "customer friendly," intensive staff training on "Building Customer Relationships," or intricately-designed customer loyalty programs to get our customers to buy repeatedly from us. Given these immediate assumptions about "Extraordinary Customer Service" most of us think, "We're not a huge organization. We can't afford those kinds of undertakings. Extraordinary service basically means "perfection" anyway and that's an impossibility. Why push staff to reach for the impossible? Most of our customers think we're fine the way we are." This thought process ends any further push for Extraordinary Customer Service. We accept our organization's standard of "Ordinary Customer Service" as good enough.
Is that bad?
No. But it's also not helping our employees learn to think about service in a deeper way that will benefit each and every customer. By better servicing our customers, we by default increase their loyalty and often alleviate the need for the more expensive customer enhancements we initially thought of. So how do we provide Extraordinary Customer Service? Look at it for what it really is: "Extraordinary" is simply "Extra Ordinary" Customer Service. Simply do more of the basics when it's appropriate.
Let me share an example: This past Saturday afternoon, while putting air in one of our car's tires, the valve stem broke. My husband changed the tire, but noticed that our spare tire wasn't fitting quite right. So we drove to a nearby tire and muffler repair store to see if they could fix the valve stem. However, it was 3:05PM and they had closed at 3:00PM. The employees were all walking to their cars as was one of the managers. Not really anticipating any help, my husband asked the manager if there might be some chance he could help us. We were 20 miles from home and we didn't want to risk the spare tire not holding tight. Without hesitation, the manager said, "Absolutely." My husband and I looked at each other in shock and thought, “Wow.” Within 15 minutes he had fixed our tire and helped change out the spare. When we tried to pay him, he said "No charge today. We're closed." Then he smiled and walked away. Extraordinary.
What Extra Ordinary Service can your staff provide customers?
Can your staff greet each customer they pass on their way to the break room? Could staff call customers with interim updates on the project status just to ease their minds? What would happen if staff started talking to customers instead of to each other when they were "servicing" customers? What little things can staff do that cause your customers to think "Wow"?
Extraordinary Service isn't just something large organizations can provide. It’s something every organization should provide.
Copyright MMVII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.