For some it is about getting a delivery on time, for other it is about managing expectations, a great service desk or yet another corporate citizenship statement that’s going to say: we respect our customer above our profits. Today for me it is less about the big declarations – that frankly do not humanly engage anyone further than the words – and more about the acts. What is the key to a great customer service?
When you talk about great customer service, most of the followers go down to a conference such as the World Innovation Forum, to listen for the customer service guru at Zappos chief Tony Hsieh talking about the golden rule, the delivery of happiness. From their hiring core values to what it takes to make people happy. Bluntly, this doesn’t give more than compelling and inspiring stuff to me.
But it’s not what taught me the key to great service.
This is a story I read a newspaper recently while going to work, I couldn’t find a link to the digital version, so please apologies if I unwillingly tweak it, I find it particularly inspiring.
A customer had a problem with its food delivery last night, it was all arranged but the person was not in to receive it. He explained to the customer service that his wife was in hospital with an infection caused by her treatment and that he had completely forgotten. The customer service he talked to has arranged for a redelivery at a later date but he could not believe it when the delivery man was at the door … with a large bouquet of flowers for his wife. It could not have timed it better as she has only been home half an hour after being finally discharged. What superb customer service.
Clearly somebody took responsibility, accountability. Somebody took charge of going above and beyond.
Amazingly support such argument is simple, no need for large conference at a fancy place, no need to travel to New York (there is no glamour in business travel), no long powerpoint supported by a clever speech. Just the willingness of an individual to take responsibility.
Our technology industry in particular supports extensive empowerment, but let us face it, we are not a majority. Too much services are driven by measurement and KPIs, dashboard loosing track of the ground etc. Certainly I can envision (and had practised it in the past) the benefit of these tools. However I believe that behaviour outperform over processes.
Today’s challenging business environment calls for training that makes a difference on the bottom line. My believe is in implementing a positive approach to accountability that support employees at every level of the organisation embracing accountable behaviour and attitudes that can shape daily work and the achievement of organisational results. This is an initiative outcome.
You may not be able to rewrite your company’s mission statement, reshape your company culture, or even make decisions about who to hire. But you can decide to take ownership of the next problem that lands in your hands, whether it’s from a customer, or a colleague.
It won’t revolutionise your business. But at the very least, it might encourage other around you striving to achieve great customer service.