Attaining and maintaining legendary customer service is similar to learning to ride a bicycle. Once you decide to do it, you need some assistance in getting up on your bicycle and probably a little push the first time or two. This is similar to the stage where the business is implementing new customer service policies and procedures while adding new resources such as training.
There will be one or two falls along the way. But you just need to get back in the seat and try it again as soon as possible. It’s not going to go smoothly; at first you’re tentative and you’re jerking the handlebars too much. You may not be peddling as fast as you can nor do you know how to execute smooth turns.
With practice, you start doing it instinctively. Within a few hours, you’re hopping up on the bike and roaring down the street with your friends. You no longer think about peddling or using the handlebars.
In this stage the business has achieved competency in customer service and its corporate culture has embraced it. Word of mouth is generating more referrals, complaints are down, thereby lowering employee stress and freeing them to focus on other areas. You begin to retain experienced employees longer.
But beware, just as an accomplished bicycle rider can grow overconfident and crash, so can a business. One employee is rude to a customer or a bean counter implements what is perceived to be a cost-cutting initiative and the whole blogosphere/YouTube lights up and you’re a laughingstock.
Think about how much fun you had (or have) riding a bicycle. You may not even remember the fear you faced when you first learned to ride. Perhaps you’ve forgotten the number of times you’ve fallen off and scrapped skin of your knees or arms.
Implementing legendary customer service is just like that. When you first got up on the bike you wasted a lot of energy because you were jerking the handlebars back and forth. This compares to the business implementing new customer service processes that require changing behaviors in employees. But once the behavior is changed, it requires fewer resources on the company’s part. Just as once you learn to ride the bicycle, your fear vanishes and you expend less energy in guiding the bicycle on a straight path.
Be the Lance Armstrong of your industry.