In today’s global marketplace where many companies offer similar products for comparable or lower prices, great organizations know the competitive edge is gained or sacrificed through customer service. In a class I taught at San Diego State University, I gave my students a homework assignment. They had to conduct business with ten companies, and then rate the level of service they received as outstanding, good, fair, or poor. Out of 300 service encounters, approximately 18 percent of the companies were rated ‘outstanding’ and had truly mastered the service concept. Luckily, companies are starting to pay more attention to the customer service experience.
Those that have built a reputation for great service, know one thing – competitive customer service is caring customer service. Does your organization have a culture that cares? Answer the following five questions to assess your “Care Quotient.”
Do your employees take initiative to anticipate, respond and exceed your customers’ expectations? In a culture that cares, employees know what a customer wants almost before the customer does. Employees that care initiate action to offer suggestions, solve problems, and implement solutions that exceed customer expectations every time.
Is your team committed to focusing on your customers’ needs? A committed culture is one in which employees keep the customer at the center of their focus, ensuring that all decisions and actions are in the best interest of the customer. A committed employee will do whatever it takes to deliver on a commitment to a customer.
Do your employees take pride in being accountable to your customers? Do they ascribe to the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “If it is to be, it is up to me”? Accountable employees take action to make everything right for the customer, even if it is outside their job description or specific duties.
Are your employees creative in their approach to opportunities customers place before them? Do your employees use all the resources available to them? Do your team members provide customers with options to solve their service needs? Resourceful employees know when and where to turn for help and consider many options in serving customers. A resourceful employee always has a back-up plan to ensure success.
Do your team members expect to exceed customer expectations? A caring customer service culture delivers more than the customer expects every time. Employees that care go out of their way to delight customers and leave them with a memorable experience. Memorable experiences build customer loyalty.
How would you rate the level of internal or external service your team provides to customers? If “I CARE” is your team’s motto, you will have the competitive advantage in your marketplace, allowing you to retain loyal customers, as well as select the markets you chose to do business with in the future.