Customer service is a game-changer in business today. Name a great a company and you will notice that their customer service is head and shoulders above the rest in their respective industry.
Whether you are selling a product or providing support to someone, you are in the customer service business. But, customer service is not a new idea or a nice to have anymore. It’s a must-have in a competitive business environment. Companies such Ritz Carlton, Amazon, Zappos, Southwest Airlines and Chick-fil-A, were ahead of the curve and revolutionizing the customer service industry forever.
These companies realized that customer service can be a unique value- proposition in the market place. An excellent customer experience translated into a competitive advantage that was tough to duplicate. Providing world-class customer service became hip and sexy with brands such as Apple, Starbucks and Virgin Airlines to put customer service front and center of everything they do.
As a result, over the past several years, customer service became the new currency of how successful companies thrive in a new economy. Companies began to focus on people and creating emotional connections as the way to do business. Instead of cost-cutting and wasting marketing dollars into a new initiative and product, companies began to invest in service training and people skills. A revolution has started- a customer service revolution.
John DiJulius III, who is considered the authority on world-class customer service and is the author of three books on customer experience defines the customer service revolution this way:
“A radical overthrow of conventional business mentality designed to transform what employees and customers experience. This shift produces a culture that permeates into people’s personal lives, at home, and in the community, which in turn provides the business with higher sales, morale, and brand loyalty–making price irrelevant.”
While almost every company has a service-delivery function, only the leading companies are engaged in the current Customer Revolution. These companies are not only passionate about service, but their actions speak louder than words.
So what can companies and leaders do? not only join this revolution but transform their success into a business with higher profits, morale and brand loyalty?
Take a company-wide approach to take care of the customer
Customer service is not a department. It’s a culture, a hands-on approach to day to day behaviors to serve the customer at every touch point. Everyone should be the Customer Chief Officer. Why? Because everyone has a customer. If you leading a division, then your employees are you customers.
Everyone should have the customer’s interest at heart. Some companies have an extra chair in their board rooms. They save a seat to the customer voice. They matter in all of our decisions.
Hire great people, but don’t forget to train them
Often times, service organizations invest a lot of time in the selecting and hiring process. But that’s only half of the equation of world-class customer service. Customer Service training must take place from orientation to on-going development of every staff member.
John DiJulius III says that “The quality of your customer service, and the level of your organization’s customer service, comes down to one thing and one thing only: The Service Aptitude of every employee you have. From the CEO to the account executive, sales clerk, call center, receptionist, or service provider, it’s all about Service Aptitude!!”
You may wonder what a Service Aptitude is. “Service Aptitude: A person’s ability to recognize opportunities to exceed customers’ expectations, regardless of the circumstances.” (John DiJulius III, the Customer Service Revolution)
Have a Noble Cause
World Class Customer Service is not something you do; it is something that is in your heart. It is something that influences every relationship in your life–your customers, employees, family and community. Being a servant leader is our purpose. It is the very purpose of life to create a positive legacy. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, once said, “People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be part of something that they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.”
You can catch the interview with John DiJulius III here: