Delivering amazing customer service requires everyone in an organization to step up and be a leader. After all, customer service shouldn't just be a department for successful companies, it's a philosophy.
Shep Hyken, customer experience expert, speaker, author, and one of our most popular Zen Masters was recently named the top social customer service pro on Twitter. Shep returned in August for another great webinar, and this time he shared seven practical tools that you can put into practice today to transform your organization into a seriously customer-focused operation that will amaze every customer every time.
To get ready for the event, we talked to Shep about some of the ways every company can benefit from improving their customer service.
You are a customer service expert with years of experience: what mistake does it shock you to see companies continually make, year after year?
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is that they view the customer's purchase as a transaction versus an interaction. There is more than a subtle difference here. A transaction has an ending. The concept of the interaction is that it is part of something much larger. It is part of a longer term relationship. Think strategically and long term, versus short term and tactically.
Your book, The Amazement Revolution, makes the claim that customer service isn't just a department but a philosophy that includes every person in the company. How can employees who don't usually interact with customers contribute to improving customer service?
Everyone has a customer, be it an external customer, someone who pays you money for your goods and services, or an internal customer, someone you work with. If you are not dealing directly with a customer, you are dealing with and supporting someone who is. If you don't do your job well and support them properly, they can't do their job to support the customer. Note that sometimes there are two or three people in a chain that supports the customer.
We often hear about the benefits that improving customer service can have on things like the bottom line and customer loyalty, are there any other benefits to be had?
A truly customer focused company is a better place to work. The reason is that in order to be truly customer focused, the company must also be internally focused and take care of their employees. Take a look at the surveys that rank the best customer service companies. It is not a coincidence that these companies also rank as the best places to work. Another major benefit is that the customer who loves you because of customer service talks about you to their colleagues and friends. That's word of mouth marketing and that is the best kind of marketing you can get.
In your upcoming webinar you will be discussing why Businessweek named Ace Hardware one of the top ten service brands in America. What are some of the basic factors that companies like Ace Hardware have that help them provide great customer service? Or is it different for every company?
Great service is just table stakes. Without it you might as well just send your customers to the competition. So here are a few ideas:
- The truly great companies add a signature to their version of customer service. For example, Ace Hardware's tag lineand their brand promise is that they are the most helpful hardware stores on the planet. They really don't want to be known as the nicest stores. They want to be known as helpful. By the way, part of helpful is nice.
- Great companies hire the right people. They hire people that fit the personality, mission, and vision of the company.
- Once the right people are hired, they are trained and then empowered to do the job they were hired to do. Training and empowerment are key to the customer focused organization.
- The best companies have clarity of promise and vision. Ace promises helpful. The Ritz Carlton has a credo: We're ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. Pretty simple and clear. Every employee gets it. Every customer gets it. And when they experience the brand promise, they like it.
Watch the recording of our Zen Master webinar with Shep Hyken: 7 Tools for Amazing Every Customer Every Time