Customer-service expert Ron Kaufman has a radical notion that great service shouldn’t be as hard as it seems to be for so many businesses to deliver. “Service is everywhere,” said Kaufman. “But there’s a disconnect between the volume of service we need and the quality of service we are giving and receiving. Businesses have turned a simple concept into a catastrophic cliché. They remain blind to the fact that true service comes not from demands and dashboards, but from a basic desire to take care of other people.”
Here are some of Kaufman’s keys to making exceptional customer service part of your business DNA:
• Start by instilling a service orientation in your business. Unfortunately, when most small businesses hire someone new, the part of new orientation that relates to customer service is often nonexistent. “This is your desk; this is your password; those are your colleagues; these are the tools we use. Welcome to the organization. Now get to work.”
“Service orientation goes far beyond induction,” said Kaufman. “Zappos is an example of one company that really gets this. Its four-week cross-department process is an example of new-hire orientation at its finest – deeply embedding and delivering on the company’s brand and core value, ‘Deliver WOW Through Service.’ Zappos understands that new team members should feel informed, inspired and encouraged to contribute to the culture.”
• Establish an engaging service vision. A clear and engaging service vision will unify and energize everyone in your business to aim high for customer service. It doesn’t matter whether you call this building block your service vision, mission, core value, guiding principle, credo, motto, slogan, saying or tagline. What matters is that your engaging service vision is actually engaging.
• Communicate your service goals. A company’s service communications can be as big and bold as signs in the front of the store proclaiming your commitment to customer satisfaction, or as simple as including employees’ hobbies or passions on their nametags. Service communications are used to educate and inform, to connect people, and to encourage collaboration, motivate, congratulate and inspire.
• Offer service recognition and rewards. Service recognition and rewards are vital building blocks of a service culture. They are a way of saying “thank you,” “job well-done” and “please do it again” all at the same time. Recognition is a human-performance accelerator and one of the fastest ways to encourage repeat service behavior. •