Customer service gives you the competitive edge. It's that simple. If what you sell is the same as what your competitor sells, customer service can tip the scale in your favor. For the right level of customer service, some customers will drive further, wait longer and even be willing to spend more money to get a better level of service.
The companies that deliver a higher level of customer service are... amazing. Hang with me just a bit longer to understand what makes these companies amazing, and how you can and should be able to deliver that same level of customer service.
First, we must define customer amazement. Amazing customer service isn't an over-the-top WOW level of service. Here is the real secret. Amazing customer service is just a little better than average. That in itself isn't amazing. What makes it amazing is when it is a little better than average — all of the time. It's the consistency that makes the difference. It's the consistency that creates confidence. It's the consistency that drives customer loyalty.
And, a little bit better than average is within the grasp of everyone and every company. Sure, there will be some people and companies that that have opportunities to WOW the customer with over-the-top service, but that is impossible to do every time. When you study the best companies, what you will find is that they are simply better than average, all of the time.
Typically, over-the-top customer service is a once-in-a-while incident. Something has to happen that causes the employees to fix a problem, react to a situation or take advantage of an unusual occurrence. However, the best companies don't wait for that incident to happen. They look at all of the typical «touch points» that a customer has within their organization, and they find ways to bump up the experience just a notch above average. Their goal is to «operationalize» it and make it normal.
So how does this happen? The right system is in place, but that is nothing without the right people. Owners, executives and managers have their part in all of this, however, when it comes to great customer service, it doesn't matter what your title is. Everyone is a leader. Everyone has a role in delivering great service. Everyone can become the role model that others look up to and want to emulate. Customer service is not a department. It's a philosophy. It's everyone's job!
So, here is the bottom line. If a company wants to be known for being amazing, then employees must be focused on the simplistic idea of being better than average, all of the time. It takes focus and a constant attention to detail. It is a mindset that is put into practice every day.