How to Deliver Consistently Superior Customer Service
A little history…
2003: 10 slides – 8 pages
2006: “Consistently superior customer service is better that outrageously great service every now and then.”
2006: Merrill Lynch, Verizon, Abbott Labs, GE, Mayo Clinic, Bank of America, State Farm…
2007: 43 slides – 40 pages
Game plan for this session:
We’ll go until about 4:45 PM -- frequent breaks
I will not waste your time
Tons to cover --- 90% is in the book
Need your active participation, questions and contributions.
Push yourself hard, this should be a challenging program.
The Goal of this class:
I read more than 40 books (8,600 pages) on customer service, downloaded everything I could find on the net, and read over every major research study I could get my hands on.
In the next few hours I am going to give you a crash course on all of the top ideas about how to build and sustain an organization that delivers consistently superior customer service.
Much of it will be redundant, but the idea is to expose you to the best-of-the-best in customer service and let you look for the clear and unmistakable pattern.
Some Thoughts on Customer Service…
Current Service Levels
The Web has Changed Everything
Historical Competitive Advantages
Difficult to Establish and Sustain
Very Difficult to Copy
Creates an Unfair Advantage
Builds Unrealistic Loyalty
Destroys Commodity Sales
External AND Internal
Read pages 2 & 3
Answer question on page 3
10 Ground Rules for Great Service
1. YOU are the company
2. Remember your own experiences
3. Let them think you have all the time in the world
Cherish the customer who complains
- They think complaining won’t do any good
- Complaining can be difficult
- People feel awkward or pushy
5. Take first-person responsibility
10 Ground Rules for Great Service
6. Find out how you are doing
7. Make sure happy ending really happen
8. What have you done for me… today?
9. Every interaction ends with a “Thank You”
- Show up on time
- Do what you say you will do
- Finish what you start
- Say “Please” and “Thank You”
10. Superior customer service doesn’t just happen
Next to your product itself, excellence in customer service is the single most important factor in determining the future success or failure of your company and no matter what your company does, you are in the business of providing superior customer service ( internal and external ) . Let’s get right to the point…
A few good quotes…
“ We are not in the coffee business serving people… we are in the people business serving coffee.” Howard Schultz, CEO – Starbucks
“ We took our eye off the ball and it damn near put us out of business. We forgot that the customer pays ALL the bills. We are here to serve them, help them, support them. Not keeping that at the front of our minds almost cost us everything.” Lou Gerstner, CEO - IBM
“ I see us as being in the art business. We are here to give people a wonderful experience. We deliver art, entertainment and mobile sculpture, which, coincidently, also happens to provide transportation.” Bob Lutz, CEO – General Motors
“ The very future of our company hinges on our ability to understand and serve our customers better than any other firm. It is all about customer service, the products are actually secondary.” Jeff Immelt, CEO - GE
Let’s look at your market: The bad news…
Difficult to differentiate
Highly informed consumers
Exceedingly high expectations
Cost of acquisition of a targeted customer is high
Cost to satisfy is higher
Cost to replace is 5x higher
Good News: Value of a delighted customer… priceless!
To have an effective Customer Relations program, these three statements MUST be true for your organization:
Customer satisfaction is a philosophy and a commitment by top management.
Customer satisfaction is an attitude and atmosphere that prevails throughout the entire organization.
Customer satisfaction is a program of ACTION within the organization.
The Five Levels of Customer Service
I don’t really care
Why try harder
Good enough is good enough
Wow – you guys are awesome
Level 1: I Don’t Really Care
May or may not understand the value of customer service.
If they do any training at all, it is sporadic and done internally by untrained and unqualified managers.
Will remain in business only so long as the percentage of first time customers remains very high.
Growth, if any, will be minimal.
Without consistent new product introduction and massive advertising dollars spent (not to mention employee turnover) this company will eventually lose market share and experience decreased profits.
Level 2: Why Try Harder?
Views customer service as important and halfheartedly attempts to create the perception that they are service oriented and customer friendly.
Must also largely rely on first-time business but will experience some repeat customers due to price or location.
Customer loyalty is not being established and the value of the long-term customer is not being realized.
Growth is minimal with employee turnover high and little opportunity for advancement.
This company tries but just doesn't get it.
Level 3: Good Enough is Good Enough
Understands the importance of customer service and knows that rendering quality service will create sales opportunities.
In various ways they advertise they "have" customer service and view good service as value added for the customer.
A greater emphasis is placed on turning first time business into return business.
Sales increases are often up and down and unexplainable however year end profits show a pattern of growth.
Market share is respectable however dramatic increases in market share and sales can be achieved when a greater emphasis is placed on employee/management programs, training and when a team environment is established and maintained.
Level 4: That is Really Nice
Does a whole lot right and at the same time is constantly seeking ways in which they can do better.
Establishes high standards, achievable goals and objectives and develops useful means of communication between management and employees which have a direct positive effect on the customer.
They have a consistent positive pattern of growth and are considered to be a good company to work for and do business with.
Senior management is involved and a high priority is given to quality training and development for managers and front-line employees.
An environment that allows for a feeling of achievement, enjoyment, growth and earned recognition is created and nurtured.
Level 5: Wow – You Guys are Awesome
This is the successful company of the future which realizes they are only as good as their employees.
Management is obsessed with listening to and communicating with employees and customers and brings them into the loop.
Management strongly believes that if they are going to ask their employees to create a superior and pleasant experience for their customers, the management team must create this same superior and pleasant experience for the employee.
They understand that employee loyalty, teamwork and customer service are essential for continued growth and are relentless in their efforts.
I can’t stand you I accept you I prefer you I trust you 8 Level Access Experience Price Product Service 1 & 2 Consumer rejects the Company (Losing market share) 3 Consumer Accepts the Company (On par with competition) 4 Consumer Prefers the Company (Differentiated) 5 Consumer Seeks Out the Company (Dominant) Block my way, hassle me, keep me waiting, make it difficult to do business with you. Make it easy for me to do business with you — fast and efficient. Make the interaction easy and convenient for me. Give me a solution ; help me out in a bind, be my hero . Dehumanize me; disrespect me, ignore my needs, treat me poorly. Respect me; treat me like a human being, listen to my needs Care about me and my needs, take care of me, show genuine concern. Establish intimacy with me by doing something no one else can. Treat me special. Be inconsistent, unclear, or misleading in your pricing. Keep the prices honest ; don’t jack them up or offer big savings when there are none. Be fair and consistent in your pricing. I am not necessarily after only the lowest price. Be my trusted advisor ; I will let you make my purchases for me. Offer me poor quality, services I cannot use and make me wait for them. Be credible in your product and service offerings. Be dependable in your selection and in-stock position, so I can rely on you when I am in a bind. Inspire me with an assortment of great products and services I did not even know about. Give me a reason to tell everyone I know to… stay away from your company! Accommodate me; bend over backward sometimes to show me you care. Educate me when I encounter a product or situation I don’t understand. Customize the product or service especially for me. Give me a “Wow” experience. How your CUSTOMER sees the five levels...
Look carefully at the chart on page 8
Circle the levels you honestly believe your organization is operating at right now
Read pages 9 and 10
Answers the two questions at the bottom of page 10
Do the workshop on page 12 11 … and Tolerate Nothing Less Here is how to score it… Financial Performance Quality P/S & Customer Relationship Employee Satisfaction Empowerment High Standards Long-term Orientation Enthusiasm, Commitment, Respect Training & Development Fair Compensation CR=104.12 CR= .404 CR=.334 CR=.277 CR=.275 CR=.249 CR=.280 Coaching CR=.285 CR=.371 CR=.365 CR=.191 CR=.247
Workshop on page 12
10 = Agree Strongly
7 = Agree Somewhat
5 = Not Sure
3 = Disagree Somewhat
1 = Disagree Strongly
We will use this 10-point scale for all of the workshops today
What does your score mean?
9-10 = Excellent
7-8 = Good
5-6 = Concern
3-4 = Caution
1-2 = Emergency
On all of the audits throughout the session today, please put a star next to any score of 5 or lower.
Time for a 15 minute break?
Customer Satisfaction drives Customer Loyalty… and Customer Loyalty drives Profitability A 5% increase in loyalty among your best customers… Can produce a profit increase of 25% – 85% I hate you I don’t care about you I love you 13 100% 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 Extremely Dissatisfied Somewhat Dissatisfied Slightly Dissatisfied Satisfied Very Satisfied Zone of Defection Zone of Indifference Zone of Affection Loyalty Customer Satisfaction Terrorist Evangelist
How do the Best Companies Deliver Superior Customer Service?
From a study of more than 3,000 companies — narrowed down to the top 101 companies that profit from customer care — here are the top five factors that were the fundament tactics used to build and manage extraordinary levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
They listen to, understand, and respond (often in unique and creative ways) to the evolving needs and constantly shifting expectations of their customers. (VOC) 14 Extreme Customer Focus
They establish a clear vision of what superior service is, communicate that vision to employees at all levels, and ensure that service quality is personally and positively important to everyone in the organization. 14 Shared Customer Service Credo
They establish concrete standards of service quality and regularly measure themselves against those standards, not uncommonly guarding against the “acceptable error” mindset by establishing as their goal 100% customer satisfaction performance. 14 Clear Standards + Accountability
They hire the best people, train them carefully and extensively so they have the knowledge and skills to achieve the service standards, then empower them to work on behalf of the customers, whether inside or outside the organization. 14 Customer Focused Employees
They recognize and reward service accomplishments, sometimes individually, sometimes as a group effort, in particular celebrating the success of employees who go “one step beyond” for their customers. 14 Reward and Celebrate Success… Deal decisively with mediocrity
Extreme Customer Focus
Shared Customer Service Credo
Clear Standards + Accountability
Customer Focused Employees
Reward & Celebrate Service Success
Fundamental Customer Expectations
Reliability : The ability to provide what was promised, on time, dependably and accurately. (Honesty)
Assurance : The knowledge and courtesy of employees, and their ability to convey trust and confidence. (Competence)
Empathy : The degree of caring and individual attention provided to customers. (Concern)
Responsiveness : The willingness to help customers and provide prompt service. (Attitude)
Tangibles : The physical facilities and equipment, and appearance of the personnel. (Professionalism)
OPUD vs. UPOD
Understanding the Customer-driven Company
Create a customer-focused Vision
Flood the organization with VOC
Become an expert on delivering superior customer service
Turn your employees into customer service champions
Destroy any barriers to superior service performance
Measure, measure, measure
Walk the talk
The Service 500 7,000 leading companies… down to the top 500 in America Score each factor on a scale of 1-10 1 = this does not describe us at all 3 = we do this very rarely 5 = we do this sometimes 7 = We do this quite often 10 = we do this all time, this describes us perfectly 13 Pages 16-17
Do you treat different customers differently?
Not every customer is the same
Some customers demand unique services
Some customers are worth delivering those services to them.
Some customers would be much better as your competitor’s customer!
Read Page 19: The Service Edge
The key to service consistency: MEASUREMENT
Begin with your clear service strategy
Measure frequently (once a month… once a quarter?)
Ask open-ended questions
Collect quantitative and qualitative data
Benchmark your findings
Make the results visible
Make the results employee friendly
Make sure they are believable
Make sure the results are used
Top Customer Experience Practices From a global research study of the “Best Practices” of the top service companies in the world 21 Workshop page 21 1 = Strongly Disagree 3 = Somewhat Disagree 5 = Not Sure 7 = Somewhat Agree 10 = Strongly Agree
Carefully read the case studies on pages 22-25
Jump to the back of the workbook and read the HBR article
Go back and look through the entire book for key points.
Look back over all of your scores for patterns. Do all of the high scores and low score seem to be in the same areas?
Complete the workshop on pages 26 - 28.
Be brutally honest.
Put in lots of detail. Be VERY specific. Give realistic and actionable suggestions. Take this very seriously.
This should take you at least 30 minutes.
john @ johnspence.com
There are also some excellent short articles and my recommended reading list on my blog – which you will see right on the home page.