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Amazing Customer Service Shouldn’t Be a Surprise

On a regular basis I receive emails and phone calls from people raving about the customer service they received from a restaurant, a store, a vendor, etc.  While some of the stories these people share with me are “over the top” or WOW customer service stories, most of them are just good solid examples of […]

On a regular basis I receive emails and phone calls from people raving about the customer service they received from a restaurant, a store, a vendor, etc.  While some of the stories these people share with me are “over the top” or WOW customer service stories, most of them are just good solid examples of people or companies simply doing the right thing.  Sometimes it is about how someone fixed a problem or resolved a complaint.  Other times it is about a particular employee that stands out by doing what they should be doing.  They just do it well.  Not necessarily spectacularly well.  But obviously just a little better than expected – a little better than average.

To me, more amazing than these stories is that the fine people sharing them are actually surprised to receive this level of customer service.  Don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes people will receive over-the-top customer service.  They will be “wowed” by their experience and can’t wait to share it with others.  That’s a nice surprise.  But most of the stories, as mentioned above, are just about people being a little better than average.  That shouldn’t be a surprise, but apparently, it is.  The service providers in these stories are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.  To me, the stories are common sense.  They are about someone just having the right attitude.  The “stars” in these stories are attentive, polite, proactive, and nice. Again, just doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Amazing customer service shouldn’t be a surprise. It should be the norm! With all of the information, data, statistics and more that are available, what company wouldn’t want to deliver excellent customer service? And with all that is available to help train people (articles, books, training programs and much more), why aren’t all employees properly trained. To me, customer service is the price of admission. It’s the table stakes to enter the game.  It should be the norm, not the exception. What should amaze people is when they don’t get great service.

So, why are these people making such a big deal about customer service?

Most customer service isn’t over the top, but it’s not terrible either.  Most companies don’t provide bad customer service.  Unfortunately, most companies aren’t much better than satisfactory or average.  That’s what makes anything better than average stand out.  Satisfactory or average isn’t good enough anymore.  People want and expect more.   So why not give them more – just a little more.  Just be consistently above average, even just a little.  That’s all it takes to surprise the customer.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

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