So many organizations from Fortune 500 companies to Mom-and-Pop shops hold their customer service up to the microscope and proclaim that THIS is what sets them apart from their competition.
Recently, while working with one of my clients — a healthcare organization about to build a brand new hospital campus — they related what they called their “Tenets of Great Patient Service.” Later that day, after I had challenged him, the CEO came back with his proverbial “tail between his legs.” He showed me a list of over a dozen other healthcare organizations that also touted the virtues of their “service.” Customer service is DEAD! (If not dead, then at least it is obsolete.)
This past weekend, my wife and I went to a new restaurant — one where we had had to make a reservation a month in advance. We arrived for our 7:30 reservation and were seated at 7:30. The food was incredible, our server funny and helpful, the manager was kind and the ambiance was wonderful.
When we were finished, I went outside to the valet stand and handed the young man my ticket. FORTY-FIVE minutes later, my car arrived! When I went out of my way to mention this to the restaurant manager, he simply said, “It really is out of our control because we farm out the valet service to an outside company.”
You see, it was NOT about customer service, it was about the customer EXPERIENCE!
Until we understand that customer service is no longer the bar that distinguishes us from our competition and that we now have to consider the entire experience from the minute our ‘customer’ (internal or external) makes contact with us, then we have no chance of standing out from the crowd. And, the minute we choose to make the leap from customer service (which does lead to satisfied customers) to customer experience (which leads to LOYAL customers), we can change the way we do business in this crazy marketplace.
Our job is to shatter the stereotype of the experience your customer EXPECTS to have with you. The way to do this is twofold:
First, we have to drive this customer experience message down through the organization. You see, most people think that customer service is somebody else’s responsiblity. Some organizations even have a customer service department! But, once your people realize that, no matter how small, their contribution does add to the customer’s experience, they become more engaged at what they do.
Second, we constantly have to ask ourselves, “How managed is the experience that we offer?” The more managed the experience, the more likely we are to create loyal customers who are champions for our organization.
What’s your take on customer service vs. customer experience? Comment below!
Want to learn more about how you can “Color Outside the Lines” and create the ideal customer service experience for your customers? Learn more about Jeff Tobe’s speaking and training services here.