There are two main elements to a service strategy: core service and the service experience.
Core service is the basic product or service you provide the market; your dial tone so to speak. Without your core service, you don’t have a business. Clean hotel rooms, accurate financial advice, working stereo systems, and 24X7 cable service are all examples of core service. Interestingly, customers expect your core service to work every time, and when it does they give you a ‘C’ on your service report card. Customer loyalty is unaffected; it neither goes up nor down.
The source of customer loyalty is the service experience; dazzling a customer will get you an ‘A’ on your service report card and they will keep coming back and tell everyone else how wonderful you are.
The objective, then, is to deliver your core service seamlessly and consistently and to dazzle and amaze the customer when you do it.
How does an organization create dazzling experiences?
- Hire human being lovers. Can you dazzle a customer if your front liners have a fundamental dislike for humans? Of course not. Creating memorable experiences for customers requires employees who want to serve; they want to take care of people.
Look at your recruitment programs. Do they explicitly look for this attribute?
- Recover: fix it and do the unexpected. Service mistakes happen in any organization; what is critical, however, is what you do when they occur. The amazing thing is that customers are more loyal after a successful service recovery than if the mistake never happened at all! How to recover?
Fix the mistake as quickly as you can and then blow them away by surprising them with something they do not expect.
- Kill ‘dumb rules’. Do you have policies that don’t make sense to customers? The rules, policies, and procedures that aggravate them royally? Seek them out, – ask your frontline, then modify or get rid of them so they are not a source of aggravation anymore. Policy creation should be driven from the customer’s perspective, not internal staff groups who are constantly in the control mode.
- Bend the rules; empower the frontline to ‘say yes’. You can’t dazzle customers if your frontline is enforcing rules all the time. Allow them a bit of flexibility to bend the rules when it makes sense to do what the customer wants and delight them in the process.
Organizations that build their culture around these 4 attributes are loved by their customers. And then they win. Because if you consistently provide dazzling customer service you will stand out from the crowd!