The Problem With Excellent Customer Service


The Problem With Excellent Customer Service

Asking staff to provide excellent customer service is about as useful a direction as asking staff to make you a delicious lunch.

The employee who loves coriander and has amazing kitchen skills is never getting a score of excellent from me. The lunch they put their heart and soul into may be delicious to them, but just one bite and I’m very unhappy, and I will remember that experience as awful, long after the taste has gone. (If it’s not clear, I hate coriander!)

The word ‘excellent’ is the problem.

Like the word delicious, excellent is wide open to interpretation. For every employee who believes excellent customer service is completing customer requests quickly and with minimal chit-chat, there is another employee who believes that taking the time to talk with customers is just as important as completing the request. Neither of these perceptions is incorrect or correct because:

Deeming customer service as excellent is not up to you or your team; it’s up to the customer.

Is providing excellent customer service to every customer possible?

Not always. But, in most customer interactions, the chance of excellent service, being how the customer feels, is greatly increased when staff have the right attitude, the right training and the right support.

To help motivate your team to consider the different service expectations of different customers, pose the below question before your next team meeting:

  • “If you were a customer of our business, what would you consider as excellent service?”

On butchers’ paper or a whiteboard, write each individual response to the question. Words have more power when they are read as well as said. The written word allows time for reflection and makes it easy for the team to see that like their customers, they too have different ideas of what is excellent when it comes to customer service.

This activity is a great way to remind staff that:

Customers who ask many questions, need you to repeat information, are abrupt or want immediate responses or who change their minds and can’t seem to decide, are rarely trying to be difficult; they simply have different needs and expectations that require satisfying before they will be ready to purchase.  

There will, of course, be a smattering of customers who want a level of service that is not possible or practical, but the good news is, most customers are open books, and they will feel they have received excellent service when staff learn how to read them.

If you would like to know more about customer service, the book you and your team need to read, is my book, The A-Z of Service Excellence. Plus, the first chapter of this book is available to download for free. I welcome you to get in touch in the comments below.

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