Service Elevated! Seven Simple Ways to Elevate Customer Service
By Steve Curtin Founder, Steve Curtin LLC | October 23, 2011
Earlier this year, American Express conducted a survey exploring attitudes and preferences toward customer service. The survey revealed seven in ten Americans (70%) are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
Even so, the same survey indicated that six in ten Americans (60%) believe businesses haven't increased their focus on providing good customer service. Among this group, 26% think companies are actually paying less attention to service.
In my work, I routinely encounter the following paradox: "Why is it that businesses consistently claim to value customers, yet inconsistently deliver exceptional customer service?"
I'll answer that question later but for now consider these three truths about exceptional customer service:
- It involves job essence. Every employee's job is made up of both job function (the duties and tasks associated with a job role) and job essence (an employee's purpose or highest priority which, for employees at most companies, is to create a delighted customer).
- It's voluntary. While obtaining a valid method of payment (a job function) is required, smiling or making eye contact (job essence) is voluntary.
- It's free. While employees are paid to perform job functions, there's no extra charge to smile, make eye contact, or add enthusiasm to their voices.
Most employees in most service organizations are unaware of the above truths simply because no one's mentioned them. Instead, most managers spend time talking about job function, procedures, and operational efficiency while scrutinizing hours to schedule, forecasts, and profit and loss statements.
The result is employees who are blissfully unaware of the subtle opportunities they forfeit daily to demonstrate job essence, elevate the quality of their personal customer service, and make lasting positive impressions on the customers they serve.