As business people and entrepreneurs, we all spruik service – it’s at the heart of what we do, how we build our brand, how we attract customers. But is the service at your company ‘exceptional’? Does it make you stand out from the crowd? Or is exceptional service a basic obligation of anyone in business?
First things first
Exceptional service is the basic right of every customer, the basic demand of every business owner, the basic expectation of anyone who interacts with your company. But it’s far from basic. Add staff with a range of experience levels, daily challenges from customers or suppliers, pressures of meeting budgets, deadlines and KPIs, and service can fall right down the list of priorities. Here’s our top tips on ways to bring it back.
haven’s Tips for Exceptional Service
- Map your customer’s journey
You might ‘know’ it in your head or have a gut feel for your customer’s journey, but have you ever mapped it yourself? Have you ever driven to your business with ‘customer’ eyes, sat in Reception or wandered through your store, called your company and been put on hold, observed purchase transactions and problems, asked someone objective to navigate your website or engaged socially with your brand? You might miss the dusty Reception area, the slightly-out-of-tune hold music, the gaps in web navigation that make it hard for your customers to find what they are searching for. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer regularly and map their journey from ‘potential’ to ‘repeat’ clientele to ensure you’re providing opportunities for exceptional service at every step.
- Spruik your values
Develop your core values, communicate them to staff, post them publicly (website, in-store etc), and be prepared for honest feedback. If your team don’t know that eye contact, greeting customers by name or remembering regulars’ orders is a major priority for you, it won’t be a priority for them.
- Hire and fire on service
Be prepared to hire and fire based on your core values and service expectations. Ask your front office staff how job candidates interacted with them – did they greet them, smile, act professionally? Or did they dismiss them as ‘admin staff’? Expect candidates to demonstrate examples of exceptional service at interview – and be explicit in your expectations upfront.
Check out aspirational brands for their service model. Zappos in the U.S. is renowned for its proactive service, team culture and innovative customer relationship nurturing. They live their values in every facet of the organisation – from social media to ordering to warehousing, supplier arrangements and follow-up. Zappos’ ten values, which were developed collaboratively with staff, are underpinned by No. 1: Deliver WOW through service.