Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

Above and Beyond Customer Service

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Wouldn’t you like all of your customers to say this?

“They have the best customer service.  They go above and beyond.”

In just the last week I’ve heard four completely unrelated people talk about the “above and beyond” experiences they received from people they did business with.

What is going above and beyond?  I asked around and the answers were generally the same.  Most of the people said that it was when a company delivered an over-the-top WOW level customer service experience.

Well, my definition is a little different.  I’ve written about this before, but it is worth repeating and emphasizing.  A company that goes above and beyond cannot always create the WOW level experience.  The reason is because it is usually isolated to solving a customer’s problem or dilemma, sometimes even a complaint.  These are typically isolated incidents that don’t happen over and over again.  I applaud the companies that deliver in the face of a problem or confrontation.  But here is where I take issue.

Let’s take an average company.  I emphasize the word average because that is what most companies are.  They deliver an average experience.  Even if the company is good at handling the problems, the rest of the time they are average.  Assuming that not every customer has a problem, and I’m willing to wager that most customers don’t have problems, then that means most customers doing business with that company experience average customer service.

My definition of above and beyond is when the company is just a little above average, all of the time.  That’s what the best companies do.  As a result, they deliver beyond their customers’ expectations.  That’s because most of their customers experience average at other places they do business.  And I want to emphasize that it happens all of the time.  That’s what truly makes the difference.

When you are above average and there is problem or confrontation, then you step the customer service up to take care of the customer.  The result is a loyal customer who says, “They are an amazing company to do business with.  And once in a while, when I have a problem, they really take great care of me.  I can count on them.”

Your customers may not use those exact words, but that is what you want them to be thinking.  Anything less probably qualifies as just average.  Just be consistently better than average and your customers will do more than think of you as going above and beyond.  They will think of you as AMAZING!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times  bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)

 

 
  1. It is quite rare to create hero moments in the field of customer service. But companies should always grab every opportunity if there is because these hero moments are usually what customers like to share and talk about. And if they share your brand to friends, it’s already a kind of free marketing.

  2. Isn’t the WOW customer service becoming quite the buzzword nowadays? When almost every company promises to provide WOW from customer service gurus, champions, heroes, ninjas and whatnot, I think we start to see it as something average at best.

    The consistency of being better then average you’ve mentioned is the most important in my opinion. After all, even hundreds of amazing testimonials won’t matter much if the company fails to provide solutions reliably for all its customers.

    • Hello Jacob – Spot on. The point is what many companies promise is different that what they deliver. The ones that actually do deliver have an incredible edge. And, the once in a while WOW experiences are important, but the consistency of above average is what makes satisfied customers loyal customers.

  3. Shep this has really sunk in for me lately and I think it had to do with my recent cab driver experience. There is so much average and below average customer service and experience out there that consistently a little above average will stand out. It’s really cool to think about how we can achieve this at our company. Thanks!

    Jeremy

  4. Jeremy – Always love when you stop by and comment. I’m sure you are achieving well above average (consistently) at your company. Thanks again for stopping by!

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