I call exceptional service the necessary evil for a few different reasons. First, it’s necessary, we have to do it, if we don’t, our competition will. But there are three problems with exceptional service that makes it evil.
It can be duplicated.
Let me paint a picture for you. If I own an auto repair station, and you own an auto repair shop, and you’re my competition, and you hear part of what I give my customers after doing business with me is a free car wash. Can you start washing the cars of your customers? Sure you can. If I hear you’re filling the gas tanks of your customers before you give the car back, can I start filling gas tanks? Of course I can. That’s a big problem with exceptional service; it can be duplicated.
Now, duplicating our competition is easier than ever, all I have to do is go to your website and look at the services you provide. If I see something you’re doing that I’m not, all I have to do is copy you. All you have to do is come to my auto shop and look around, maybe have a car serviced there and you will know what types of services I’m providing. Then you can decide if you want to duplicate them.
It can be expensive.
Here’s another problem with exceptional service. If I’m filling the gas tanks for my customers or if I’m washing the cars before I return them to my customers, can that be expensive? Of course it can be.
Companies that focus their energy on providing exceptional service to their customers run the risk of violating the ‘slight edge’ of economics. Especially small businesses in these tough economic times, you have to be careful about where your money is going. Providing exceptional service can be expensive.
It has a perception problem.
Another evil to exceptional service is this. Let’s say, after getting my car fixed, I come to you and say, “Hey, I just got my car fixed at that dealership and when they were done, they washed my car for me. Pretty cool, right?” You may say to me, “Well, they should at the prices they charge.”
You see, exceptional service suffers from a problem of perception. What I perceive as exceptional, you may not have the same view. Just because we proclaim to be practicing exceptional service doesn’t mean our customers will perceive it as exceptional.
We have to practice exceptional service, if we don’t, our competition will. But this necessary evil can be easily duplicated, can be expensive and a large percentage of our customers may not perceive what we practice as exceptional.
We need to practice exceptional service but, our commitment should be on QUALITY customer service. And I will share with you what that is in my next writing.
It’s About Quality, Not Exceptional Customer Service
What is quality customer service? How is it different, and better than exceptional service? For all of the reasons why exceptional is evil, quality customer service is good.
Quality service is about Big Picture thinking, looking beyond your current level of service and seeing how good it can be. Exceptional service only looks at the issue that is in their face.
Quality service is about communication. It’s important for the leadership to let the team know their input and feedback is vital for quality service to work. Also, staff has to know and trust that communicating their ideas and suggests to leadership will be considered.
Quality service is companywide and it’s an attitude, not a department. Too many companies think the customer service department is responsible for service and sales is in charge of sales and operations is in charge of operations. Companies that deliver great service know that everyone within the company is responsible for and capable of creating a customer.
Quality service lives in a positive, productive environment. When all employees are focused on the same big picture, encouraged to bring ideas to leadership, and receive praise for serving the customer to the best of their ability, employee absenteeism, tardiness and turnover is greatly reduced.
Quality service is affordable for all companies. Maybe, at the most, you may need to invest in a communication training program for your leaders.
Quality service flies under the radar. While exceptional service are the things, free giveaways, additional services, we do for the customer, quality service is in the offices and cubicles of your company, difficult for our competition to duplicate.
For a free Slide Share presentation on the Quality Custom Service please leave a comment.