Some businesses have it and some businesses don’t – a passion for customer service is one of the foundations of a truly successful business. It is hard to say where it comes from, or how you maintain and develop your own CSP, but without passion and commitment to customer service everything else just seems to be less appealing in a business.
It’s like standing in a queue for 30 minutes and reading over and over again the sign on the wall that says “We value your business” or “Our customers are the most important part of our business”. Yeah right. It just doesn’t seem true – and often it isn’t. It is a conflict and as customers, we easily see through the charade.
Customer Service Passion is about doing the little things that show that your business is committed. A few examples of CSP that I have come across recently include:
A lady playing scrabble on a commercial flight lost the letter “E” as the plane was landing. As she was getting off the plane, the lady mentioned the lost scrabble tile to the air crew and gave them a business card, hoping that the lost tile would be returned but not really expecting it to happen. In a few days an envelope turned up with the lost tile and nice note from the flight crew. This was a simple gesture but a very strong one, that has made this lady an advocate of the airline for ever.
On a recent visit to a drive in restaurant a customer was kept waiting for what the manager considered too long. To apologise to the customer (who was not perturbed at all), the manager gave the customer the meal for free. An unexpected bonus that will be remembered for a long time, by both the customer and the person that served them.
When I go to my local coffee shop, every once in a while they refuse to take my money, saying that as a regular customer they appreciate my business and this one is on the house. Once again a small touch but one that ensures I will be a long term customer.
I recently did a sales trip to two capital cities. I had to hire a car in each city. I picked the first car up at the airport and it was parked in the wrong spot, it was grubby, there was rubbish in the back, there was one street directory that didn’t cover the area that I had to go and the hire cost was quite expensive by comparison. When I went to pick up hire car number two, which was from a competitor, I was escorted to the car, we inspected it together to make certain that it was clean and in one piece, the attendant gave me a handful of maps and tourist information and he explained what to do if there were any problems with the vehicle. Overall a very good experience. I know who I will be hiring my cars from in future.
Customer Service Passion is a commitment. It has to start at the top of an organisation and work its way through. Everyone needs to made aware of what the business wants to achieve and the level of customer service that is expected. The importance of everyone being involved in the customer service loop cannot be underestimated. I often see companies that offer great products at great prices, a simple and effective ordering system, friendly staff etc., but the person doing the packaging on the warehouse floor destroys every order through lack of attention to the packaging process. Or the delivery truck driver dresses like a slob, smells, constantly has a cigarette hanging out his mouth and has an attitude about where he will deliver to and where he won’t deliver to.
Tom Potter is a legend in the world of Pizza as the founder of Eagle Boys Pizza. Having the pleasure of meeting Tom on numerous occassions I have the utmost respect for his committment to CSP and he maintains that actually working in the front line whenever he can. He serves customers, talks to them, asks for their opinion and most importantly of all he listens to what they have to say.
I think that the board members in most banks, telecommunication carriers, airlines and ideally Government departments should all spend time talking to customers at the coal face. Most decisions regarding customers are made at such a detached and removed level from the people affected that one has to question the logic of this process.
Customer Service Passion can be developed. If you can make your team see the benefits of offering excellent customer service you will start to win them over. Of course, leading by example is the best way to illustrate this point.
Show your staff your Customer Service Passion and they will pick up on it. Soon it will spread through the entire business, becoming second nature. Your customers will definitely notice this change and your business will boom reap the rewards. Give it a go.