Imagine having to put together a list of your company’s values. What are a few things that differentiate your company and services? In fact, get out a piece of paper. Write down five different areas in which your company strives for excellence.
Got them? Great! Take a look at your list. Is customer service one of your top five?
If it is, you’re not alone. A study by Bain & Company found that 80% of companies believe they deliver a “superior experience” for their customers. Unfortunately, the same study revealed only 8% of those companies’ customers would say the same thing about the companies. Why the disconnect?
What Makes Customer Service Excellent?
Here’s why many companies overestimate how great their customer service is: they aren’t talking about the same thing customers are talking about when they say “customer service.”
Many companies pay lip service to the idea of excellent customer service. But their customer service consists of things like making sure a package arrives at the promised time. They answer their phones promptly to help customers. Their prices are fair and their phone operators are pleasant. If you walk into their building, the front desk staff smiles at you.
But that’s not what today’s customers consider good customer service. That’s the bare minimum. That’s expected.
Aim to Surprise Your Customers
Want to have great customer service? Surprise your customer.
Get them to say, “wow.” When something negative happens that isn’t your company’s fault, be generous and fix it. When someone posts a complaint on Twitter about your brand, refund his or her purchase—even if they didn’t try to bring it to your attention.
Good customer service isn’t about the basics—it’s going above and beyond and making your customer surprised. It’s making the customer feel right even when they aren’t—and when you don’t really need to.
Good customer service isn’t just a smile. You should aim to surprise the most irate customer with your generosity.
And pretty soon, the irate customers dwindle, and you’re left with satisfied customers—customers who trust you, and don’t feel like they need to complain. Customers who tell their friends about the cool thing you did to help them even though you didn’t need to.
Good customer service is about surprising your customers every day. If you’re aiming for excellence, aim to surprise.