Last year I revealed that the DIME™ approach extended beyond four words and included the ‘dime’ coin from the United States of America as a metaphor, as a way to create excitement and inspiration to deliver exceptional customer service. However, I wanted to demonstrate that whilst a metaphor is used to convey a message, it does need to have substance behind it. One of the biggest lessons when it comes to customer service is to ensure not only a compelling message, but also a message that is indicative of what staff members need to do and should not do. Evoking all senses based on the value, size, phrasing, imagery and association the following post contains some key takeaways from each against the DIME™ approach.
1. Value: Small change makes a big difference
It is the things that don’t have much value to us who work in the business constantly that mean a lot more to our customers. This includes:
- Developing service standards about the way we visually present, vocally sound and verbally deliver to our customers;
- Being more aware of the opportunities that exist to leave a positive memory for a customer;
- Recognising each customer as a unique individual; and
- Looking at the way we deliver our service by focusing on the detail, being consistent, showing that we are credible and, most importantly, that we care about our customers.
2. Size: It’s the little things that matter
Did you know the US dime is smaller than the Australian 5-cent coin? Before considering a massive organisational restructure, which will most likely fail if the little things within the business aren’t being done right, you could start off by:
- Celebrating customer service successes amongst team members;
- Ramping up internal communication by having a customer service meeting or briefing;
- Not just focusing on making staff work quicker, but ensuring that accuracy and reliability levels are equally as high, and that for the customer it remains easy to access your product or service;
- Being aware of the physical and virtual environment. If every team member can pick up a piece of rubbish as they move about the business, think about the overall change on a large scale that will be seen by the customer.
3. Phrasing: Don’t be a ‘dime a dozen’
Customer service is a dime a dozen. Very few organisations are able to stand out like Disney and The Ritz-Carlton based on their customer service. Here are some things you could do to ensure your organisation stands out:
- Does the organisation have an inspirational common purpose service statement?
- Is the atmosphere conducive to exceptional customer service throughout the organisation?
- Is the customer service differentiated from the rest of the industry and competitors? In other words, how does it compare to the stereotype?
- Is creativity embraced for customer service solutions across all levels of the organisation or just the marketing department?
4. Imagery: Symbols of an olive branch, torch and oak branch
Respectively, these symbols traditionally represent peace, hope and endurance. All three are very powerful images that articulate exceptional customer service. Using these images as a guide it is important to ensure:
- Customer service is relentlessly led by example in the pursuit of perfection or at least illusion of perfection to the customer (endurance);
- There is greater flexibility with customers as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. This would considerably reduce the need to focus on conflict management (peace);
- Developing an emotional connection with customers, not just overall, but considering their emotions at each stage of their journey (peace);
- Empowering all staff members to be able to make a difference to customers and take ownership (hope).
5. Association: Service is like a diamond
A diamond can sometimes be referred to in short as a dime. The first thing we associate with the diamond is the high optical dispersion which reflects light in spectral colours. The diamond’s properties are also associated with their ability to withstand pressure and crushing. So holistically, the solidarity and perception of your organisation can be improved by:
- Ensuring employing people with a heart for service is picked up as the first priority during recruitment;
- Giving dedicated customer service training that is not diluted amongst other things that will lose impact;
- Using technology as a way to support customer interactions and not just as a way to reduce personnel expenditure;
- Keeping customer service in line with the overall brand messaging — that your staff project themselves as customer service professionals in every light.
You may ask, though, how American currency helps those in Australia. There is method in that as well. We all attend conferences or presentations and receive handouts that either get filed forever or end up in the bin. A dime is different as people simply do not intentionally throw money away, but can’t spend it here. You would be surprised about the places this coin will be left. Many of whom I speak with leave it on their desk, or in the cup holders in their car. Therefore it remains as a constant reminder about all of the above for them to deliver exceptional customer service.
I finally touched on the value of the dime as being worth 10 cents in the United States. The number 10 is another interesting number as it is generally used to describe a perfect score (i.e. 10 out of 10). I hope that this blog has further defined some of the practical aspects that can be done within the organisation so that your service reaches 10 out of 10, or in this case, DIME™ Customer Service!
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