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Let’s assume that whatever you sell, be it a product or service, will do what it is supposed to do. In the process of delivering that product or service, just be nice.  Do what’s right for the customer. That’s all there is to it. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” according to Apple’s first marketing brochure.  Is customer service really that simple? For years the legendary Nordstrom’s employee handbook was a simple piece of paper with just 75 words on it welcoming the new employee. There was only one rule: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Stew Leonard’s Fresh Farm Stores reminds everyone, customers and employees, about the importance of customer service by having their customer service edict carved into a 6,000-pound piece of granite outside each of his stores. There are two clearly- stated rules: Rule 1: The Customer is Always Right!  Rule Two: If the Customer Is Ever Wrong, Reread Rule 1. The Ritz-Carlton Motto is just nine words long: We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. These nine words truly describe how the employees are expected to act and the guests are expected to be treated. My friends at Ace Hardware keep it simple. Their slogan is three words long: The helpful place. And really, it’s just one word that sums up what Ace is all about Helpful.  Do you have one word that can sum up what your business is about? Is it nice, easy, enthusiastic, understanding, etc.? Ace has their word. What’s your word?

Simplicity is just in the concept.

It’s the application that takes more sophistication to support the concept. We have to hire right, properly train, constantly reinforce, recognize greatness, create a customer-focused system, and more. Ah, this is where it can be complicated. Even Stew Leonard’s simple customer service rules are backed up with monthly focus groups where each department manager invites a customer to attend. Customers are encouraged to use a suggestion box, and all suggestions, which average about 100 each day, are typed up by 10:00 a.m. the next day. Store managers either act on or call the customers about every complaint or suggestion. If you start at the beginning, it eases the complication.  Get to the basic root of what your customer service is trying to achieve, and, it’s simple.  Just start with the end in mind. If you have the goal to deliver an experience so great that the customer will return and recommend you, then you’re on the path to success.

Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

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