Exceptional Service Maybe Hurting Your Business

If a customer has to expend extra energy to have their issue resolved, they are less likely to be loyal. However, if the customer doesn’t have to put too much effort into resolving their issue, they are more likely to be loyal. This according to a 2010 published article in Harvard Business Review titled, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.” 

But, if you have been following me for the past fifteen years–whether through my blogs, newsletters, seminars or webinars–you know I’ve said this already. And I didn’t need to survey 75,000 customers like HBR did. 

I have long said that exceptional customer service is ‘necessary evil’–we have to do it, if we don’t our competition will. But there are three problems with exceptional service that makes it an evil. 

First, exceptional service is easily duplicated by the competition. If I’m your competitor and I hear about or witness a service you are providing, that I’m not, can I copy you? Sure I can. And now copying our competition is easier than ever, all I have to do is go to your website and surf around. And, an unexpected problem from being duplicated is that we are constantly raising our own bar. What are the services you are providing that your competition can easily duplicate? 

 Second, exceptional customer service can be expensive. Too many times companies feel they have to ‘giveaway’ products or services to make the customer whole. In truth, if we handle the issue quickly the customer will return with future business for us. We must remember to address the intellectual needs of the customer by fixing the problem and then their emotional needs by saying we’re sorry.

Third, exceptional service has a perception problem. I may perceive the service you provided for me as excellent but someone else may disagree. Or maybe I define great service as a knowledgeable service provider.  But you think great service is a clean environment. If you focus your energies on one and not the other, someone is going to be disappointed. Try as we may, we can’t ‘reach’ everyone. We are always going to have critics, so why spend time and money on something that has a high percentage of missing the target?

Quality customer service is the avenue to follow when considering where to put your energy to keep the customers you have. If you would like to know the difference, send me an email for a gift of my 25 minute webinar recording giving you the details.

 

Advertisements

“Be of Service”

Here’s a question for you, don’t over think it, it’s not a trick question. What does Harley-Davidson Manufacture? Motorcycles, right? OK, here’s another, this one is the trick question. What does Harley-Davidson sell? Now if your answers may be more like, the open road, bad-boy image, or American style. What does a good realtor sell? To some it may be the American Dream, for others it may be an investment.  What does a good travel agent sell?  For you it may be rest and recreation. For me, when I’m talking with my travel agent, I know I’m going someplace to earn some money.

 

You see, companies that deliver great service, don’t talk about what their product or service is, they talk about what their product or service will do for the customer.  More specifically, they talk about how their product or service will help customers reach their goals or fix their problems; how it will serve. 

 

How your product or service will serve the customer is how you can differentiate yourself from the competition.  If you’re a home builder, and you talk about the homes you build in terms of brick and mortar, you’re going to sound like every home builder.  If you’re a banker, and you talk about your IRA programs as being an investment for the future, you’ll sound like every other banker. Speak in terms of how these things serve, and you find your customers are loyal because they feel you understand them.

 

To the customer, when you speak in terms of being of service, you sound different than your competition.  The average company, the company that delivers poor customer service, will talk about their products as if it is the very thing we’re buying, we’re not.  We’re buying what the product will do for us.  And in this age of commodity and competition, many times the only way the average company can differentiate themselves is by price, a lower price.  When in fact, according to a Harvard study, companies that deliver great service, have a 15 to 20 % cost advantage, they get to charge more.

 

You can use a simple formula to help create your message.  Research (R) the target market; read trade journals, visit their websites, talk the people in the industry.  Uncover issues (I); ask them and yourself questions like, “What needs and goals are my customers trying to meet?”  Or, “How can my product help my customers?”  Then craft your message (M); write it so it directly addresses your customer’s needs. This RIM process will help you to describe quickly, the problem you solve and the goals you help achieve for the customer.

 

All of your communication with customers should center on how you are of service to them.  Emails, brochures, advertisings, signage, all should state how you are of service.  This is not the attitude of, “What’s in it for me?”  It’s the attitude of, “What’s in it for you?”

 

Being of service is the most rewarding of all the “Seven Slight Edges” because it helps to meet our desire to leave a legacy.  When we help our customers to meet their needs and goals they will always remember us and be loyal to us.  And when they return time and time again to do business with us, we will strengthen our legacy, a legacy of service.

The “Slight Edge” of Economics

Companies that deliver great customer service practice the ‘slight edge’ of Economics. When I say economics I mean the skill, and it is a skill that you can learn, of earning more money than you spend.
When we fail to practice good economics we are unable to focus on another ‘slight edge’ Big Picture Thinking. We can’t see our goals because our vision is blocked by the stress that poor economics causes.

The best tool I can recommend to help master the skill of economics is a expense log. For one week out of each quarter of the year, track every penny you spend. You can use a credit or debit card and review the receipts. Or you can get receipts from each transaction. Or, there’s an app for that.
After the week, sit down and evaluate where your money went. Are there some expenses you can cut?
Doing this for one week is the least you can do, I challenge you to do it for a full month. Or, for a full year, like I have for the past 6 years.
We can’t fix it until we are willing to face it. track your expenses and take the time to look at it objectively.
Thank you.
Mark
mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Save some money, put your customers to work.

The airlines make their customers do it, gas stations make their customers do it, some grocery stores make you do it, and even restaurants make you do it.  And by ‘it’ I mean, serve yourself.   Self-service is on the rise in almost every service industry; asking customers to pump their own gas, get your own food at the buffet, or perform any other task employees once did can save your company money.  In the airline industry passengers prefer to use check-in kiosks to check themselves in and choose their own seats rather than deal with an airline employee.  But the trick is to make sure this self-service approach improves the customers’ experience. 

 Quality Customer Service vs. Exceptional Customer Service;

In this 25 minute audio and power point presentation you learn the difference between Quality Customer Service and Exceptional service.  Why Quality service is more cost effective, creates a positive work environment and gives you a better competitive edge.  And we will show you how exceptional service may actually hurt your business because it is the necessary evil.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send qualitymodel@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 Privacy Policy; Your information will not be sold or rented to any third party company and is exclusively for the exchange of content-rich training between you, your company and Gorman Business Consultants.

Time Management Matrix;

In this 45 minute audio and power point presentation you will learn where your time goes.  Pin-point what are your greatest time wasters?  Identify what are the things only you can do.  And what are the things other people can do.   

If you would like this free training tool, click and send timematrix@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Maturity Ladder;

In this 45 minute audio with power point presentation you will learn how to assign tasks to the right person based on their level of maturity.  From there you will be able to give the best feedback to ‘grow them up’ the ladder.  All leading to a positive, mature, work environment.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send maturityladder@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 Mark

mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

612-308-3065

“Switch Your Focus Away From Your Customer”

Companies pushing the ‘exceptional’ customer service mind set are misguided in their focus.  As I have written several times, exceptional service is evil.  It’s evil because it can be easily duplicated by our competition, it can be expensive, and to some of our customers, it won’t even be perceived as exceptional. 

I have also written, over my 24 years of being a customer service expert, that exceptional is necessary.  It’s necessary because it’s in the customers face, it’s something they can touch and see.  Also, if we don’t deliver some exceptional service, our competition will. 

The key to exceptional service is to steer your effort away constantly trying to find newer and better ways to deliver great service, stop wasting your time.  This is what I call the ‘more-ness’ factor.  Our American mind set has led us to always looking for ways to do it more, faster, better.  You can invent the latest and greatest service idea, but if your service provider is in a bad mood because some jerk cut him off on the highway on his way to work, the best ideas will fail.  And, as I feel with exceptional customer service, I think we’ve maxed out, it’s time to stop beating the competition with exceptional service and switch our focus to quality customer service. MORE BELOW

                                                                            Choose one of these three great training tools. 

Quality Customer Service vs. Exceptional Customer Service;

In this 15 minute audio and power point presentation you learn the difference between Quality Customer Service and Exceptional service.  Why Quality service is more cost effective, creates a positive work environment and gives you a better competitive edge.  And we will show you how exceptional service may actually hurt your business because it is the necessary evil.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send qualitymodel@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Privacy Policy; your information will not be sold or rented to any third party company and is exclusively for the exchange of content-rich training between your company and Gorman Business Consultants.

Time Management Matrix;

In this 45 minute audio and power point presentation you will learn where your time goes.  Pin-point what are your greatest time wasters?  Identify what are the things only you can do.  And what are the things other people can do.   

If you would like this free training tool, click and send timematrix@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Maturity Ladder;

In this 45 minute audio with power point presentation you will learn how to assign tasks to the right person based on their level of maturity.  From there you will be able to give the best feedback to ‘grow them up’ the ladder.  All leading to a positive, mature, work environment.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send maturityladder@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 Ultimately, the level of service you provide for your customers will depend on the culture you create for your employees.  Quality service switches your focus from the customer to the employee, helping them to be engaged, and it builds open and honest communication. 

While having well trained managers and supervisors to create this type of candor is important, it is only one step in the process.  First, leadership must make the commitment to quality service.  This isn’t a 180 in how you deliver service now; as I wrote, you need to practice some exceptional service.  And, if you are already delivering exceptional service, the change is actually easier because you don’t have to worry about that aspect.

Next, you have to switch the focus of your frontline team from SOLVING problems to PREVENTING them.

Only through an investment of training into the managers and supervisor and then to the frontline team will you be able to help everyone understand that they can and must help to ‘create a customer’ for the company.

Thank you.

Mark

mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com