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The Elusive 8th Simple Way to Raise Customer Service Quality

Back in 2013 I published my first book, Delight Your Customers. The subtitle of that book is 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. I specified to my publisher that the subtitle should read “7 Simple Ways…” rather than “The 7 Simple Ways…” It was clear to me at that time that there were certainly more than seven ways to raise customer service levels.

In the years since, I had yet to identify an eighth way to serve customers that could serve as its own behavioral category. And then, late yesterday, I received a report from a colleague, John Goodman, Vice Chairman of Customer Care Measurement & Consulting (CCMC). It occurred to me, as I read the report summarizing CCMC research and findings, that John and his team had identified an eighth category that I had failed to consider.

Below is a list of the “7 Simple Ways…” outlined in the book. Interestingly, the eighth behavioral category that John labeled is alluded to (and italicized) in three of the seven original categories. Clearly, John is onto something.

  1. Express Genuine Interest
  2. Offer Sincere and Specific Compliments
  3. Share Unique Knowledge
  4. Convey Authentic Enthusiasm
  5. Use Appropriate Humor
  6. Provide Pleasant Surprises
  7. Deliver Service Heroics

Now, some of these categories contain multiple behaviors. For instance, the “Express Genuine Interest” category contains numerous behaviors that reflect exceptional customer service. Oftentimes, I’ll ask groups during presentations to call out (or type in the chat box) a behavior that conveys genuine interest. Responses include ask questions, be observant, anticipate needs, follow up, display a sense of urgency, take initiative, etc. It’s true that each of these unique behaviors does express genuine interest in the customer.

As I’m reading the report, I turned to page 3 where results are shared from a 2021 Customer Delight Study conducted by CCMC which found that transparency raised top box loyalty by 10% and honesty created a 7% increase. The study also compared different types of delight behaviors (such as those listed above) and ranked which “delighters” respondents would pay more for. Based on the survey, 41% of the respondents were willing to spend more with a company after having a transparent interaction.

Honesty also caused a higher number of respondents to increase their willingness to spend (51%) but at a smaller dollar amount averaging an increased willingness to pay of $296. Honesty was also the highest-rated customer delight behavior for increasing positive word of mouth after the interaction, where 84% of respondents were likely to talk about the positive experience with friends and family which potentially could lead to 4.4 new purchases stemming from customer delight.

So, the eighth “Simple Way…” is to exude transparency and honesty.

For now, I will just sit with this knowledge, but the wheels are turning for the next edition of Delight Your Customers, with the draft subtitle: 8 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Thanks, John!

New! Cascade the lessons from Delight Your Customers throughout your department, division, or entire organization. Order the Delight Your Customers Companion Guide by Steve Curtin and Brian O’Neill.
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.
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