After 40 years focused solely on customer service I continue to devote my time and energy to helping businesses create a service culture. The point I try to get across to everyone is: you are in the service business. Most companies think they're in manufacturing or retail. It's a paradigm switch.
Amazon is successful because it understands it's a customer service company that just happens to be the largest Internet-based retailer in the world. Does it pay off to be focused solely on customer service? Amazon's net sales increased 20% in 2014 to $88.99 billion, compared with $74.45 billion in 2013. Answer: Yes, it does... they celebrate excellent customer experiences.
Here are the six steps to creating a service culture. It works every time.
My methods shouldn't shock anyone. It's likely that most successful businesses are doing some of these things already. But I think what establishes a great service culture is the commitment to following through on all six.
Let me share with you the five critical elements necessary for excellent service:
First, you must have speed. Speed allows you to be different in the marketplace. It's not going from 10 hours to 9 hours, it's how do you do it within the next few minutes. How do you take care of customers efficiently while you're serving them?
Second, it's important to empower employees. They have to do whatever they must, on the spot, so the customer walks out of the store, gets off the phone, or steps away from the Internet and think they have gone to heaven.
Third, in whatever service or product you're selling, quality is essential.
Fourth is service. Quality service is highly intangible. If you asked 100 customers to define it there would be 100 different answers.
Finally, I stress the importance of using the customer's name, remembering the customer, and making each customer feel special - every time. Take for instance Apple. I always have a great experience because they combine technology, speed, quality, and service. They dominate because they understand how the service culture works and they always call every customer by name. It's part of their procedure, part of their culture.
After all these years I have not changed my focus. It all starts with customer service.
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