According to John Tschohl, President and Founder of the Service Quality Institute, there are only a handful of firms that really provide awesome customer service. If this is true, why do most firms feel satisfied with just okay customer service?
I simply do not understand why more companies don’t tip the scales in their favour by copying successful companies or taking a leap of faith by getting into the game with a clear cut pathway to increasing their value and the success of their company and their employees. It all starts and ends with your customer experience.
Exceptional service includes:
• Eliminating stupid rules and policies.
• Mastering empowerment.
• Mastering service recovery.
• Constant training on customer service.
• Remembering and using customer names.
• No IVR. Answer phones with a live person in 1-2 rings.
Management must drive a customer service programme with continuous training for all employees with reinforcement by means of rewards for high-performing service employees and with management standards that are regularly reinforced.
When management is committed to customer service by daily word and deed, the result is a well-established infrastructure that facilitates free communication interchange internally and externally. As essential as strategy, objectives, and support system are a foundation for a service plan, the entire programme would collapse without a corporate culture and training to sustain it. First and foremost for success is a chief executive as committed to customer satisfaction as he or she is to stockholder satisfaction.
I have found that any company that can build a brand around exceptional service will increase its value by at least 25%. Frankly it could be 100-400% or more. Every now and then I run into service leaders that are an example of what I have been preaching for the past 40 some years.
Service leaders that truly understand the power of incredible customer service include:
Amazon: from humble beginnings in Jeff Bezos’ garage in 1995, everything Amazon does is about enhancing the customer experience. Its success is mainly attributed to its approach to its customer. In 2003, I invested R14,395 ($1000) in Amazon and the stock on March 31, 2019 is worth R863,492 ($59,984).
Home Depot: their goal is to provide the highest level of service, the broadest selection of products and the most competitive prices. In 2003, I invested $1000 in Home Depot and the stock on March 31, 2019 is worth R132,077 ($9175).
Costco: the corporate vision statement emphasises customer experience and satisfaction and states that Costco aims to continually provide their members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices. In 2003, I invested $1000 in Costco and the stock on March 31, 2019 is worth R136,669 ($9494).
TD Bank: their published Values Statement stated they are client driven and that they listen to each client and are empowered to deliver solutions that best fit their needs. They aspire to deliver client experiences and interactions they are proud to stand behind. In 2003, I invested $1000 in TD Bank and the stock on March 31, 2019 is worth R61,972 ($4305).
Southwest Airlines: their vision is to become the world’s most loved, most flown and most profitable airline. They exist to connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable and low-cost air travel. In 2003 I invested $1000 in Southwest Airlines and the stock on March 31, 2019 is worth R49,592 ($3,445).
Apple: the company is committed to bringing the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software and services. They provide a high-quality buying experience with knowledgeable salespeople who can convey the value of the company’s products and services and that greatly enhance its ability to attract and retain customers.
From its 1980 initial public offering (IPO), its share price has gained 98,000%. As of May 2017, it was the most valuable company in the world with a market capitalisation worth billions of dollars and billions in cash. Stock prices are up 270% over the last three years and 1030% in past 12 months.
John Tschohl is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant. He is the President and founder of Service Quality Institute with operations in over 40 countries. He is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on service strategy, success, empowerment and customer service.