Customer Service – “Guest is God.”
Recently there was a TV show on the very grand Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai. It was one of those documentaries about how they treat their customers and the very high standards they uphold.
Their concierge was asked about what he thought of his own service standards to which he answered, “We dazzle and we delight, they come back, that is most important.” He was then asked how important the guest was to which he replied, “Guest is not guest, guest is God.” That took my breath away, what a fantastic attitude. When you look at that statement in more detail it makes sense really. The client provides money to the hotel, that keeps the staff employed in turn they provide for their families with a roof and food in the same way as, well God provides.
Hotels like this work very hard to make sure their staff provide exemplary service and the cynical out there might argue that when you are paying five star prices you expect nothing less. Fair point. I would say anyone out there who provides any service in exchange for client’s hard earned cash needs to be giving exemplary service.
Often they don’t.
As a trainer who has worked in service, provided service and been a purchaser for an organization not to mention being a demanding consumer, it challenges me as to why this is. I wrote a blog about retail service (you can read that here if you want) and why certain practices irk me. All customers or clients whatever you want to call them deserve the best, it is what will make them come back, and more importantly spread good word of mouth driving more business to the supplier. I like to look at customer service from three perspectives. Customer Expectation, Customer Delivery and Customer Advocacy.
Customer Expectation – Just who do they think they are?
Well they are the reason you are employed and they in no small part contribute to your salary. In essence if you have to ask this question, my advice is get the hell out of Dodge and find another job, no really go, and go now!
Have a look at this message. This sums up what many customers expect. In essence a good product, delivered quickly and at a good price. It claims that you can pick any two, as three is not possible. Amazon does it though. They really do get it right and is one of the many reasons why people use them over and over again.
I am not really being fair though; just think about the huge resources that they have in order to deliver on this. They did start small though as many people do, and it is important to have an understanding of what your client expects when buying products in the sector you operate in. It can be more than the good, cheap and fast message and can incorporate elements such as extra support, packaging, after care, guarantees, ease of purchase, the shopping experience to name a few. So whether you are in a shop, and undertaker, and office sundry supplier or cake maker try to identify what it is that your customers actually expect before embarking on the service delivery journey. Then exceed the expectation.
Customer Delivery – Moving from Ordinary to Extraordinary
Years ago I was taught a message that I still use today about how to exceed customer expectations during delivery of service. You could do it now if you like.
- Take your right hand and extend it up in the air as far as you can.
- Now push it up two inches further.
- Why didn’t you do that in the first place?
You see what makes the difference is really the extra two inches of effort. (Steady now, keep it clean). How many times have you been given exemplary service that really has been defined by a small and simple bit extra? It makes the ordinary, extra- ordinary. You see satisfying a customer is one thing, delighting is another but it is enough?
Take a look at this.
This model shows how customers feel based on their expectations and the resulting service. If your customer has low expectations and gets a poor experience then they are disaffected, you did what they expected. However if they have high expectation and you give the extra two inches of effort that can equate to a great experience creating something much sought after in a competitive market, the devoted customer. The devoted customer has had a fantastic overall experience that can start right when they walk through the door. I teach a method called S.E.A.L.E. yes I know it is a mnemonic but hey they work. It stands for Smile, Eye Contact, Acknowledge, Listen and Engage. You are intelligent people you can work through it yourselves and it no doubt makes perfect common sense. The problem with common sense though is that it isn’t, hence where trainers like me come in to help. The reason I use this is because each stage can also be one of the top reasons why a customer will complain, so by using something like this, it helps to really cement great practice. Of course product and service knowledge, environment, sales skills, negotiation skills and support all make a difference too, but each creates a level of service.
Customer Advocacy – What are your customers saying about you right now?
Well hopefully something wonderful. Advocacy is defined as “the act of pleading or arguing in favour of something, such as a cause, a belief, idea or policy; active support.” Any business should I ideally have a method or strategy in place to help gather great comments and feedback from customers. This feedback can then used in sales literature and testimonials, which in turn create more business. It is part of our consumer culture now, Ebay, Amazon and the like all have feedback sections on their traders, LinkedIn has a recommendation section for members and it makes a huge difference. Yes I know that self-promotion is somewhat vulgar but in a commercial and very competitive world it is essential to a businesses life. I have written a number of blogs on not only customer advocacy but also staff advocacy too, the links are here and here for you.
In essence a customer will tell lots of people about a bad experience but needs to be encouraged to also feedback on a good one. ? It is foolish to think that the old message that a person tells only 15 people of a bad experience with social media playing a massive role in how we purchase and consume it is thousands and potential millions more. Seen any good photos of people’s food in restaurants lately for example. Whenever we spend time with a client, it should always be with an eye on the possibility that will tell someone else about the service they have received. Being conscious of this helps to keep things polished and refined leading to an experience that as that concierge stated dazzled, and delighted, leading them to come back, that is most important.
This blog forms part of a course I deliver in Customer Service Skills. If your business needs some help in this area then why not get in touch, I may well be able to make a big difference. Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07979 537824. Thanks for visiting my site and reading my blog.