Excellent Service From the Inside Out
- QUINT STUDER
Excellent service doesn’t happen by accident. Service excellence is deeply rooted in the culture and values of organizations that outperform their competitors. Chances are, your organization isn’t the only service provider for your customers. There is likely a competitor they could choose instead. It’s not enough to just provide good service, customers want a reason to come back. They want service that goes above and beyond what is expected. When organizations prioritize service excellence as a core value, they ensure it’s infused in everything they do.
PEOPLE COME FIRST
The foundation of service excellence begins before customers ever contact the organization. To consistently provide service that goes above and beyond customer expectations, organizations should define what they stand for and how they want to interact with those they serve and with each other. Excellent service can mean something different depending on who you ask. That’s why it’s important to specifically define what it means for your organization.
Your standards will not only support excellent service, they can also become a guide for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring processes. Without the right people in your organization, it can be hard to deliver exceptional service. An employee who is aligned to the organization’s mission and values is more likely to be an owner. Owners believe in the business and actively promote the organization. Owners do whatever it takes to go above and beyond to make the customer’s experience one they will rave about.
Employees have choices, too. It’s not enough to hire the right people and expect them to provide an excellent customer experience. Employees crave regular one on one conversations with their leaders and reward and recognition for living out the organization’s standards. When leaders take time to meet employee needs, the customers will reap the rewards. Engaged employees help shape the personality of your organization and in turn, generate engaged, loyal customers.
The right people, values, and standards work together to build a culture around service that exceeds customer expectations.
4 STEPS TO AN EXCELLENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Hire the Right People
Incorporate the organization’s values and standards of service excellence into the recruiting process. Use the standards to craft job descriptions and behavioral interview questions. Involve your current employees in the interviewing process. Ask new employees to agree to live the standards when they are hired.
Onboard for 1 Year
New employees need a trusted team member or mentor to support their first year on the job. As individuals join your team, assign them a dedicated partner. This relationship helps the new employee navigate the company culture and processes to ensure success. A dedicated mentor also increases the likelihood you will retain the new hire.
Reward & Recognize Success
Recognition is proven to increase morale, engagement, productivity, sales, profitability, and improved customer service, to name just a few of the many benefits. When employees hear a peer or leader recognizing a coworker, they learn what right looks like. Rewarding and recognizing the behavior and actions that are most important to your organization’s success positively reinforces the performance you want to have continued. Make it a habit to look for behaviors and performance that deserves to be rewarded.
Set Customer Expectations
Information builds trust, reduces anxiety, and increases customer satisfaction. Consider using the AIDET® framework to introduce information, explain the process, and set customer expectations. Drawing from your previous experiences with customers, anticipate what problems and obstacles they may face and proactively create a plan to overcome them. Use customer feedback surveys to identify what customers want and need. Think like a customer and create memorable customer experiences that people will rave about.