Michael Chaffin writes *Star In The Margin, a blog focused on service in the hotel industry. In a brief post titled, Imagine, he makes a point about the importance service plays in the customer experience.
In thinking about what he wrote, I remembered that customer service could be grouped into three levels:
Failure to Meet The Customer’s Needs—This usually results in loss of the customer and the revenue he or she generates for you. It frequently leads to negative word-of-mouth advertising.
Met The Customer’s Needs—The customer has a need and you meet it. The customer is satisfied and may return to you time and time again. However, a competitor can steal the customer away from you.
Exceeds The Customer’s Needs—This is when the customer goes “Wow!” This not only increases the customer’s loyalty to you, it usually generates positive word-of-mouth advertising and turns the customer into an evangelist for you.
If you aspire to the third level, you must first strive for consistency in your service. Then you must search for ways to Wow! the customer. This means focusing on building relationships with them and to do so usually requires capturing data about them through the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
But even if you’re a one-person business, you don’t need CRM resources to wow your customers. Once you identify your customers’ needs, then ask yourself: “How can I consistently exceed them?” Also ask, “How can I stand out from my competition and make what I do truly memorable?”
You want your customer bragging to her co-workers about your service. You want them seeking out Web sites that review your industry and posting positive reviews.
Businesses and individuals who achieve the third level work harder and smarter expending more resources than businesses at the second level. The saying, “Everything You Do Comes Back To You,” certainly applies here.
In 1992 the sign in Bill Clinton’s war room reminded his staff that, “It’s the economy, stupid!”
In 2008, the sign in your business should remind your employees that, “Consistent Service And Delivering The Unexpected Wow Our Customers!”