It would be interesting to survey every company in the world and find out their main driver for achieving excellence in customer service. Equally, it would be interesting to see if the main driver was actually the main reward that the organisation saw stemming from their customer service efforts. What I find to be most enjoyable about working with organisations and their customer service is the rewards that exist, not only for the organisation, but also the employees and most of all the customers and other stakeholders. I have taken all of these and condensed them into the following four ‘R’ewards of exceptional customer service:
Word spreads fast! Think about some of the organisations around the world that do customer service really well. Who comes to mind — Zappos? Disney? The Ritz Carlton? They are not only recognised as large organisations, they are recognised and known for their customer service. This is for all the right reasons and appreciated by many because of the known effort that goes in to delivering exceptional customer service. There are also increasing numbers of business awards that are including customer service as a category.
If your customer has a great experience with your brand, they will recommend it to others. You can find a variety of statistics online to find out how many happy customers equals new customers. Research from ACI suggests that word of mouth affects purchase behaviour; it has a massive reach, builds trust and influences people. The best way to get someone talking about your organisation for the right reasons is as a result of how they feel. This happens when they develop an emotional connection, not only with your organisation, but the people inside it too.
This is a tricky one. Just because customers keep returning to your organisation doesn’t mean they are totally satisfied. It could be based on convenience or the lack of other competitors available to choose from. However, if organisations know they are delivering exceptional customer service and customers keep returning, it is because this service is consistent. Delivering exceptional service consistently will continue to build or add value to your customer and their relationship with your brand.
You will hear organisations refer to a common purpose, which is an intangible goal or reason for coming to work. Working towards a common purpose or deeper meaning is something employees want out of their jobs. When this happens, your workforce is more productive and engaged. This means the organisation is making the most of the dollars spent on recruitment and training and can, therefore, make more investments in the business to improve the experience for customers. By offering an exceptional experience, customers are also less price-sensitive and will pay a premium for your service, which improves the bottom line, profits or revenue of the organisation.
I have referred to the above four points as rewards and not benefits. Rewards are typically what you get out of something, whereas benefits are usually your advantage from something. Sure, exceptional customer service is an advantage some organisations have over others, but the intent of customer service should be purely emotional, coming from the heart. When we give something, we get something back. Most of all, an organisational focus on customer service demonstrates one more R-word that comes back and that is — results.
Chris Smoje is a customer service speaker, trainer, facilitator and founder of the DIME™ Customer Service approach. Chris works with organisations and their people to develop a common interest and excitement about delivering exceptional customer service results: www.dimecustomerservice.com