Defining Exceptional Customer Service

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“Well done is better than well said. Every company says that their customers are their #1 priority, but stories show us that many businesses are ready, willing, and able to go the extra mile for each and every one of their customers,” –

Competition and conflict are inherent in nature. All species of plants and animals compete for access to nutrients, water, sunlight, prey, and other means of sustaining life. In the realm of trade and commerce, competition plays a similar role and commercial entities compete for access to capital, customers, and markets. In this context, we may state that exceptional customer service is one of the differentiators (or key competences) that sets one enterprise apart from another. However, the multiplicity of modern industries necessitates plurality in the definition of exceptional customer service. We shall seek to examine some examples of outstanding customer service in the paragraphs below.

Urgency of service represents a key aspect of top-notch customer service. This implies that a brand or business is willing and able to invest its resources to exceed the norms of traditional customer service paradigms. We note that different situations apply to everyday life; the enterprise that rises to serve customers in adverse conditions offers truly exceptional customer service. For instance, inclement weather may create uncertain conditions in remote locations, thereby disrupting normal supply chains and the rhythm of everyday life. A food retailer may choose to respond to emergency communications from such locations and dispatch provisions, thereby serving the population and winning the goodwill of customers. This illuminating instance of exceptional customer service indicates that businesses can rise to the occasion despite the vagaries of uncertain weather. In light of the above, we may state that customer service should be a top priority for business enterprises that seek to retain and expand their customer base.

Customer service must present a unified experience for every customer and every interaction. The very large retail industry presents a lot of scope to create instances of exceptional customer service. A retail industry expert notes, “A brick and mortar retailer looking to create exceptional experiences for their shoppers has to tell their customer the same message from web, to app, to sales floor.” This implies that brands and businesses must practice a modicum of discipline when they set out to create exceptional service experiences for their customers. Retail industry professionals should work and train to imbue best practices into their everyday customer interactions. For instance, shop floor associates should cultivate product knowledge and expertise on the floor layout in order to direct customers to the exact products they seek within a retail location. Product managers must work in the back offices to track the highest selling items of merchandise and refresh the inventory at regular intervals. These actions can facilitate sooth operations and spark instances of exceptional customer service.

Commerce and commercial operators must regard novelty as worthy of celebration. This is significant because human beings tend to seek safety in tried-and-tested products. Such behavior stems from the human predilection for ‘the familiar’ at the expense of blocking ‘the unfamiliar’. This line of behavior applies to customer segments as well. Businesses tend to trust repeat customers and may view new customers with a degree of trepidation. However, brands and businesses that seek to demonstrate exceptional customer service should demolish such behavior and embrace new customers with equal gusto. This is a healthy attitude and leads the way to business expansion, new ideas for product development, and may unlock new markets. For instance, commercial airline service operators must pay equal attention to new fliers and frequent fliers alike. These customer segments represent a lot of disparity in terms of income for these business operators; however, the operators must realize that every paying customer is entitled to exceptional customer service in the interests of preserving brand image and business reputation. Further, a delighted new flier may encourage legions of similar passengers to use the services of said operators. In light of the above, we note that repeat customers and unique customers must be subject to the full attention of a business enterprise.

Corporate titans and business leaders must encourage all tiers of an enterprise to create exceptional customer service. The encouragement from the leadership helps create an emphatic message that resonates with every employee and this crafts a powerful message. The leadership should ideally encourage best practices that operate beyond the pale of incentives and rewards. Corporate leaders must encourage employees to cultivate customer service as a second nature. Therefore, business leaders can drive their teams to creatively achieve higher standards in customer service and “create a wow experience for every customer.” For instance, hospitality enterprises may elect to create high standards of customer service directed at every guest and patron. This idea is driven by the fact that every patron is a potential repeat customer and must be catered to bearing in mind the finest standards of the hospitality industry. The public image and the business reputation of the operator also represents a powerful incentive for the hospitality establishment. However, the exceptional customer service in a hospitality establishment encourages customers to recommend the business to their family and friends. This can translate into spikes in revenue and earnings for said establishment, essentially driven by the idea of offering outstanding customer service.

Personalization is an important aspect that helps businesses to create exceptional customer service. The use of personal information can be tastefully deployed to impress customers and to gain their repeat custom in the future. This tactic is widely used by some commercial operators who “Find ways to thank (their) customers and encourage them to become brand ambassadors for (the) business.” We note that such actions enable a business to intertwine itself in the lives of its customers and create splendid avenues to boost customer engagement. This tactic also enables businesses to gain deep insights into consumer behavior, a critical tool to forecast future trends in the market. That said, we note that personalization can generate a positive sentiment in the minds of customers, thereby enabling a business to gain additional mind share. Happy customers can multiply business earnings while offering priceless inputs to business operators. In addition, personalization appears as brilliant relief in this age of mass production and multiple brands where every business operator seeks to upstage the competition through copy-cat product development techniques.

Creating and operating a presence on social media is a valid technique that promotes exceptional customer service. Business gurus note that social media has evolved into highly sensitive listening ‘posts’ that can provide valuable cues to modern businesses. The efficacy of the medium hinges on the fact that social media creates a direct connection between a brand and its customers. Naturally, brands can react with alacrity should a customer post a negative experience on social media; this affords speedy damage control and a highly visible means of remedying a negative situation. In light of the above, we infer that an intelligent presence on social media presents industry with a cost-efficient means to address every customer.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that enable brands and businesses to create outstanding customer service experiences. These can be used in tandem or in combination to achieve the target of delighting customers consistently.

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