#1 Posted: 21 Dec 2011 08:16
Your secret weapon is customer service. Wait! It's not a secret anymore. Just about every company I do business with claims they deliver customer service. My experience as I look back over just the last year is that for many companies it is their goal, yet not their reality.
Think about it. No business says, "Come do business with us, and we'll treat you like dirt. We've got a great product, but don't count on us for customer service. We don't have great people. We hire the worst. We don't answer the call promptly. We don't return calls quickly. (And my favorite anti-customer service mantra...) We're not happy until you're not happy." No business has that kind of a brand promise. No. They promise the opposite.
Here is the problem. It's execution. The intentions are there, but the ability to deliver falls short. It takes getting the right people with the right mindset to deliver what is not only promised, but what the customer expects.
And, speaking of what the customer expects, their demands are higher than ever. The reason is that they are educated. They see and hear advertising that promises good service. These ads depict people smiling and feeling good. Our customers want some of that! Companies promote it in their brand promise. Some deliver, but some do not.
It's the ones that don't that make it easier for the ones that do. The ones that don't aren't doing it on purpose. They just don't have the system in place. And the customer service system needs a plan, the right people (hired), the right culture and a leadership team that sets the tone and the example.
It's not that all companies that don't deliver are bad. No, most of them are not bad. But, they are just average. Creating customer amazement isn't that hard. You don't have to "Wow!" the customer all of the time. You simply have to be better than average — all of the time. Tom Friedman's new book "That Used To Be Us" sums it up in a simple statement: Average is over.