(Okay, ignore that silly picture of me. I’m apparently reflecting the same WOWed face of a statue of a famous Greek philosopher.)
Instead, let’s talk about WOWing customers…
Do you serve your customers? Do you WOW them?
You might THINK you do but you probably don’t.
Nope. Even YOU.
Customer Service: The Misunderstood Deliverable
Customer service is such a weird thing: customers want to be served, businesses want to serve them, businesses know that good customer service helps to cement the relationship…
… and yet, businesses fail to understand the depth to which customer service needs to occur.
The result is: businesses think they’re giving good customer service (when really they’re not), customers barely feel served so they go somewhere else.
Customer service is the misunderstood deliverable. Many businesses believe they give good customer service but very very very very few actually do.
What Is “Good” Customer Service?
Businesses often tout their “good” (or “great” or whatever) customer service as a point of pride or a core value. They plaster their good-customer-service claims everywhere.
But when the customer engages with the business, they experience something entirely different.
That’s because the business and the customer measure “good” very differently.
If you’re a business owner, think about what you consider to be “good” customer service. For a lot of businesses it includes things like:
- We greet you as soon as you walk in the store
- Our staff are friendly, polite, and helpful
- We make sure you are served with what you want and need
- We have fair prices and good value; we’re not ripping people off
- We happily refund purchases if they don’t work
I suspect that some business owners are reading this list and nodding in agreement and thinking: “yes, that’s exactly the kind of good customer service that we give! And we’re proud of it!”
Well here’s where things fall apart: You might think that is good customer service…
… your customers view that as the absolutely minimum baseline for what they can expect in any and every store they do business with.
(Yes, even your competitors probably deliver this, even if you don’t think they do.)
So, what stores are measuring as “good”, customers are expecting as the absolute bare minimum.
Let’s use a different example to highlight the disparity: Imagine a romantic relationship between two people.
The one person in the relationship believes that they are good in the relationship because…
- They call
- They go out on dates with the other person
- They don’t smell
- They remember the other person’s birthday
Person one is proud that they are a good partner. Problem is, the other person in relationship knows that there are a million fish in the sea who also have those qualities. Those aren’t “good” qualities, they’re the minimum baseline upon which the first person needs to do better if they want the relationship to last.
So, What Really Is Good Customer Service?
Good customer service is service that rises above the baseline. It builds on the minimum standard but goes further.
- It’s not just greeting the person when they walk in the store but connecting with them later as well with a thank you call that doesn’t try to sell them anything
- It’s not just a staff that are friendly, polite, and helpful; it’s a staff who very clearly go out of their way to drop everything and make the customer the sole focus of their attention (hire someone else to answer the ringing phones), and who become so friendly with the customer that the customer asks for them by name when they come back
- It’s not just serving customers with what they want and need; it’s finding ways to add value beyond that, recommending additional products and services, giving away free information to support the use of the product, and following-up about the purchase months later
- It’s not just having fair prices and good value; it’s about surprising them with much, much, much, much more than they were ever expecting
- It’s not just a refund policy, it’s a guarantee with teeth
- It’s not just knowing the customer’s name but using it regularly, along with their family’s names
… and that’s just scratching the surface.
Stop thinking of your customer service as “good”. Customers are getting the same amount of service from your competitors, so there’s no loyalty created. Instead, aim to SHOCK your customers with customer service that leaves them speechless and near to tears with your generosity and value.
(Does that sound like “too much”? Good! Now we’re finally getting close to what “good customer service” really is.)
(Edit: you know what’s funny? I stumbled across an old blog post I wrote back in 2015, with almost an identical name—Too Many Businesses Say They WOW Their Customers But Few Actually Do. haha! I’ve been thinking about for a while!)