Often, what surprises me is that so many people seem to be surprised when they encounter good customer service. People call or email me to rave about the service they received from a particular store, restaurant or other business. Sometimes I understand their surprise — stories of truly over-the-top customer service stories occasionally cross my desk. But most of the examples I hear about are simply instances of the good, solid customer service that people or companies should offer on a regular basis. It is simply companies doing the right thing — making sure that the customer is happy, correcting a problem, being attentive to customer's needs, etc. It is not necessarily "spectacular," but it is more than expected, and even just a little more can make a difference.
The surprising part, as I've said, is that people seem amazed to be receiving this level of customer service. Of course, there are some truly outstanding, "WOW" moments of service that go above and beyond what should be expected. And people who receive such service are right to be surprised, and to want to share the experience. But most of the stories I hear I would simply classify as people doing their jobs the way they should. They have the right attitude, are polite, helpful and attentive to the customer and provide quality service. They are not over the top, but are consistently a little better than average. To me, it just makes sense.
Amazing customer service — by my definition, consistently better than average — should be the norm! It should be expected, not come as a surprise. There is really no excuse today for businesses to offer anything less. There is so much information about the benefits of ensuring good customer service, as well as help to train employees how to do it right. There are training programs, books, videos, articles, the list goes on and on ... and no reason for anyone to ignore this necessary element of good business practice. It should be expected, and customers should be surprised when they don't receive amazing service.
So why are people still calling and emailing stories of good customer service?
Unfortunately, service that is better than average is still not the norm. While most customer service is not terrible, it is still just satisfactory or average, which is why the level of service that should be expected stands out as something more. These days, average isn't good enough. Train yourself and your employees to do a little bit more, and do it regularly. The customer may be surprised, and will definitely be happier.