Exceptional customer service is customer-focused

August 23, 2013

Promoter Color copyThis post is the seventh and final in a series that has fully explored the definition of customer service offered in an earlier post.

Too often, customer service is viewed as a department, a designated employee’s job role or, someone else’s responsibility. Because of this limited view of customer service, many employees are content to simply execute a series of mandatory job functions until the end of their shifts—blissfully unaware of the myriad opportunities forfeited to make lasting positive impressions on their customers.

To expand on this narrow definition of customer service, I’d like to submit my own definition for consideration: Customer service is a voluntary act that demonstrates a genuine desire to satisfy, if not delight, a customer.

The seventh element contained in this definition that we’ll explore further is that exceptional customer service is customer-focused.

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, said, “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” And he was right. However, I would like to expand on his observation by adding, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer who keeps creating more customers.”

The consulting firm Bain & Company refers to these customers as promoters. Promoters are customers who are less price-sensitive, have higher repurchase rates, and are responsible for 80-90 percent of the positive word-of-mouth about a company or brand. Companies with the highest percentage of promoters, according to Bain & Company research, typically grew revenues at more than twice the rate of their competitors.

So the key, then, is to increase the percentage of your customers who are promoters. This starts by developing a customer-focused service culture that attracts and retains loyal customers. And while every company’s service culture is unique, one aspect that is constant among world-class customer service providers is this: They understand that without customers, there is no business.

And knowing this truth about exceptional customer service provides the final piece to an elusive 7-piece puzzle that, when assembled, provides employees with a very clear image of what exceptional customer service is and what’s required of them to consistently deliver it.

Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.

Watch the 90-second book trailer.

Illustration by Aaron McKissen.

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  • Donna

    Love your definition of customer service! Thanks for the article!

  • http://stevecurtin.com Steve Curtin

    Donna, thank you. Thanks too for taking the time to read and comment!

  • Liz Murphy

    I was first exposed to you on a search for AllState Insurance. Your “customer service” approach is gimmicky & insincere. Not all, but discerning customers can see that! People who provide good customer service do so because they genuinely care! You can’t teach that, the fact that you try, in conjunction with your BS (couldn’t find an appropriate synonym) shows you have no idea what you are talking about! A cantankerous old hag can’t work at “chain restaurant” & approach tables saying”hello, my name is Helga. Welcome to — Have you ever been to —? Ill be your tour guide” sounds stupid on paper & even more ridiculous coming out of an unhappy employee. Luckily for you, people are stupid- you have a shot selling this- unfortunately, you’ll probably bankrupt small business owners.

  • http://stevecurtin.com Steve Curtin

    Liz, I’m sorry you feel that way. I reread the post and wouldn’t change a thing.

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