How to Provide Extraordinary Customer Service

Learn to Provide Extraordinary Service

What is it that makes customer service extraordinary?

This week is Customer Service Week, a week to remind organizations of the importance of customers and the week to especially celebrate those who provide this service day in and day out.

In honor of Customer Service Week, I want to share a conversation I had with an expert in the field of customer service, Mark Sanborn. Mark is an extraordinary professional speaker, the bestselling author of numerous books on customer service and leadership, and a personal friend. His many books have inspired me and countless others to raise our own performance and deliver exceptional service.

In this brief nine-minute conversation, we talk about:

  • What differentiates extraordinary customer service from average service
  • How good recovery means everything if you miss
  • How to use creativity instead of capital to fix customer service problems
  • The danger of indifference
  • Overcompensating for customer service misses
  • How leaders can develop a customer service culture throughout an organization

 

Customer Service Quotes from Mark Sanborn

Some of my favorite customer service quotes from this interview or from his books:

 

“Don’t sell products or services. Instead, create an experience for your customers.”–Mark Sanborn

 

“Go beyond simply satisfying the customer. Aim to astound.” –Mark Sanborn

 

“The customers who are willing to pay you the least will always demand the most.” –Mark Sanborn

Does Your Organization Have The Right Attitude?

What’s Your Organizational Attitude?

What distinguishes great customer service?

Is your website easy to navigate?

Would customers describe the experience with your organization as amazing?

Some companies are leveraging the power of the Internet in such a powerful way they are increasing market share, earnings, and revenue at an incredible rate. Others are struggling, not fully realizing the potential or understanding what it takes to win with today’s technology.

 

“Net attitude is a state of mind.” –John Patrick

 

It’s All About Attitude

What differentiates winners from losers?

John Patrick’s answer is that it is all about attitude. He says companies with a “net attitude” have an extraordinary advantage over those who don’t.

Having a net attitude “makes constituents happy,” says John Patrick. Because your “website is your brand,” it’s important to make it accessible, easy to use, and focused relentlessly on a positive customer experience.

 

“The prescription starts with a single word, attitude.” –John Patrick

 

Beyond this, John indicates business vocabulary needs to change to adapt to a new mindset.

John believes we are only using about 10-15% of the power of the Internet. The potential represents an extraordinary opportunity ahead.

Money and scale are not enough. It takes the right attitude. And any entrepreneur or company who adopts a net attitude has a sustainable advantage that will propel them to greater success.

 

“Think big, act bold, start simple, and iterate fast.” –John Patrick

 

Copyright John Patrick, Used by Permission Copyright John Patrick, Used by Permission

Embrace Complaints & Hug Your Haters to Keep Your Customers

Hug the Haters

Keep Your Customers

 

Complaints. Do you love them?

Haters. Do you hug them?

If you are angry at a business, what do you do? Take to Twitter? Facebook?

Whether angry, annoyed, or frustrated, ignoring customer concerns is impossible in the social media age.

 

“Haters are not your problem, but ignoring them is.” -Jay Baer

 

When the Customer Hates You

But what do you do when a customer hates you?

Jay Baer shares the eye-opening results of an extensive study on customer service in the social age. Yesterday’s techniques are no longer enough.

Jay is a New York Times best-selling author and the founder of Convince & Convert, a strategy consulting firm helping companies gain and keep more customers. Since 1994, he has advised over 700 companies ranging from Caterpillar to Nike. His latest thought provoking book, Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers is a contrarian and modern view of creating extraordinary customer service.

 

“Customer service is a spectator sport.” -Jay Baer

 

Why Customer Satisfaction Hasn’t Budged in Decades

Hug Your Haters Book CoverYou share a statistic that customer satisfaction hasn’t improved since the 1970’s. After all the books, the seminars, the new programs, nothing has changed. Why not? What are companies missing?

Customer service has historically played out in private. So even though companies have always said they emphasized it (nobody says “we deliver shoddy customer service” even when they do) they haven’t truly HAD to emphasize it. And doing it well is complex and somewhat expensive in the short term. So nothing has ever really changed. But now, customer service is becoming a spectator sport, and the truths of good vs. bad customer service are out in the open and impacting buying decisions.

 

80% of businesses believe they deliver superior service, but just 8% of customers agree.

 

Let’s say you are about to deal with a customer complaint. How do you get in the right mindset?

Don’t take it personally. Remember that the customer is using THEIR time to try to tell you how to make your company better. And remember that you don’t know what the customer has been through. And then embrace that answering a complaint increases customer advocacy, every time.

 

A 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits 25 to 85%.

 

Social media has given on-stage haters a platform like never before. Businesses were not prepared. What’s the first piece of Jay Baer advice you usually give a business?

This may be a paradox, but our advice at Convince & Convert to companies looking to improve their social media customer service is to first make sure their offstage customer service is outstanding. If you’re not great at phone and email, all you’re going to do is push people from those channels to social media and back again. Be a great walker before you run!

Copyright Jay Baer, Used by Permission Copyright Jay Baer, Used by Permission

5 Obstacles to Great Customer Service

7 Corporate Strategy Myths That Are Limiting Your Potential

Strategy Myths

7 Corporate Strategy Myths

Dr. Chuck Bamford’s new book, The Strategy Mindset, is a practical guide for creating a corporate strategy. Having read more books on strategy than I can remember, I particularly like this one. As I read the book, there were times I found myself arguing with the author. At other times, I was nodding. Still at other times, I found myself with immediately actionable ideas to improve the process at my own organization. And that’s why I enjoyed the read so much.

I think the most controversial part of his book is likely the myths section, where he takes apart existing myths of corporate strategy.

 

“Strategy is about making decisions that will impact the company in the future.” -Chuck Bamford

 

1. People Are Not A Competitive Advantage

Let’s talk about the myths.

First, you say that people are not a competitive advantage. You argue that almost all employees are interchangeable. Good employees are just “table stakes.” Is it not possible to have employees who, on average, are better than the competition?

It flies in the face of so many beliefs that it is just hard to accept. Employees are VERY important as the way that business delivers to customers. However, the moment that you actually believe that your employees are smarter than your competitors’ is the moment that your competitors will start beating you in the market. You have the same (or relatively the same) collection of amazing employees, capable employees, and poor employees as your competitors. All the HR processes in the world today have not changed that dynamic in companies. The employees that you have working in your company are a combination of luck (the biggest factor), HR practices, networking, and did I mention luck!

Bamford CoverI’m not trying to be divisive here, but most of your customers do not generally care (or if they care at all, it is slight) who takes care of their business needs as long as the needs are taken care of. This does not apply to every employee in a company, just most. At every company I have ever worked with or for, there is a contingent of “franchise” employees. Those are employees who, if they left the company, would impact the success of that company quite substantially. We all know who these folks are, and if executives are smart, they take care of these employees to ensure that they stay with the organization. These “franchise” employees are not just the customer-facing employees; they reside throughout an organization.

 

“Employees are not your competitive advantage.” -Chuck Bamford

 

2. SWOT is NOT Strategy

Second, you are not a fan of the SWOT. What’s wrong with the way most organizations use it?

SWOT is the single biggest impediment to doing real strategy that exists, and it exists because certain big consulting firms continue to use it with their clients, and it makes clients “feel good” without really having to do strategy.

SWOT was an attempt to bring some structure to the topic, and as a conceptual approach, it is still fairly robust. Unfortunately, many authors, academics, and practitioners decided that SWOT was an analysis tool and a means for a company to develop its strategy. SWOT is NOT strategy, and it is not an analysis tool.

Anyone can create a SWOT. It is grounded in your own biases and view of the world. In the end, a SWOT is simply the opinion of the person or group filling it out.

 

“SWOT is the single biggest impediment to doing real strategy.” -Chuck Bamford

101 Customer Service Quotes To Better Your Business

Very classy way to display the high standarts of your services the customer can expect of Yours.

Customer First

Every business wants to develop a stellar reputation. Over time, that positive sentiment not only earns repeat business, but also eventually earns trust. Customer service is vitally important to establish and grow that trust. Every interaction with you or your brand offers the incredible opportunity to build a relationship and fortify your position.

In the social media age, your business reputation can catapult you to a beloved partner or sink you to nothing in almost no time flat.

Here are a collection of customer service quotes all designed to remind us of the importance of the customer.

 

“Make the customer’s problem your problem.” –Shep Hyken

 

“If you want customers to know they matter to you, show it by being interested in what matters to them.” –Scott McKain

 

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” –Zig Ziglar

 

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” –Henry Ford

 

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” –Walt Disney

 

“To understand the man, you must first walk a mile in his moccasins.” –North American Indian Proverb

 

“The purpose of a business is to create a customer who creates customers.” –Shiu Singh

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” –Charles Darwin

 

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” –Jeff Bezos

 

“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” –Sam Walton

 

“The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” –Valeria Maltoni

 

“There is a spiritual aspect to our lives—when we give we receive—when a business does something good for somebody, that somebody feels good about them!” –Ben Cohen

 

“A brand is defined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by the employees.” –Shep Hyken

 

“Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction, you must improve.” –Horst Schulz

 

“Complaints often contain the seeds for growth.” –Skip Prichard

 

“Choose to deliver amazing service to your customers. You’ll stand out because they don’t get it anywhere else.” –Kevin Stirtz

 

“People expect good service but few are willing to give it.” –Robert Gately


“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” –Warren Buffett

 

“Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.” –Sally Gronow

 

“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” –Nelson Boswell

 

“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” –Ross Perot

 

“Always do more than is required of you.” –George Patton

 

“Customers will want to talk to you if they believe you can solve their problems.” –Jeffery Gitomer

 

“The result of a business is a satisfied customer.” –Peter Drucker

 

“The most successful organizations are the ones that make it easier to do business with them.” –Scott McKain

 

“Customer service represents the heart of a brand in the hearts of its customers.” –Kate Nasser

 

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” –Zig Ziglar

 

“Inconsistent customer service is worse than bad customer service.” –Martin Baird

 

“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.” –J.C. Penney

 

“When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” –Robert Half