Writing a ‘Knock Your Socks Off’ Service Culture Plan

John TschohlJohn TschohlDecember 27, 20175min

One of the major weaknesses of most organisations is the top management’s lack of a service strategy.

They fail to realise the strategic opportunity of how to use superior service as a vehicle to build market share and dominance.

Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, one of the most powerful retailers in the world, built a service role model. Sam built Walmart on Customer Service.  They are now known for price only, and the value of their company as a service leader has dropped dramatically – they have lost their focus on customer Experience.

When organisations know what is important to their customers and when they realise the shortcomings of their current service, then they are ready to write a Service Plan.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, is officially the world’s richest person as of November 2017.  He built his company to become far and away the most trusted and well-liked brand, more so than its current smart home rivals Apple and Google (this is according to a survey conducted by The Verge in partnership with consulting firm Reticle Research).

Consumers trust Amazon and freely give them personal details on what they purchase and data about their interests. The one thing that is claimed by most customers is that Amazon has the best customer service of any company they have ever dealt with.

Mr Bezos has been responsible for creating over 100,000 new full -time jobs over the past year for the American economy and is on schedule to create more with the new ventures he is working on. Jeff Bezos definitely has a working service plan.

Use these guidelines in making decisions about the features of your own service plan:

1. Under-promise and over-deliver

Set customer expectations at the right level.  As defined by McGraw-Hill, “under promise and over deliver” is a service strategy in which providers strive for excellent customer service and satisfaction by doing more than they say they will for the customer or exceeding customer expectations. Deliver on your promises – don’t make a promise you can’t keep and keep the ones you make.

2. Only the customer knows what he or she wants

  1. Make it easy to do business with your company
  2. Customers want speed of service
  3. Customers want to talk to a real live person
  4. Return phone calls immediately
  5. Always deliver on your promises

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Not all customers who buy the same service or product have the same service needs. Be like Amazon and have a relentless focus on customer service through regular communication, and make sure you can deliver on their individual needs.

4. Continue to drive the plan strategically

Jeff Bezos would say: “Focus on the things that don’t change”. Bezos built Amazon around things he knew would be stable over time, investing heavily in ensuring that Amazon would provide those things and improve its delivery.

Management must drive a customer service program with continuous training for all employees with reinforcement by means of rewards for high-performing service employees, and with management standards that are regularly reinforced.

When management is committed to customer service by daily word and deed, the result is a well-established infrastructure that facilitates free communication interchange internally, and that yields organizational culture.

In my book, Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service, I state that long-term strategy must be developed and then implemented by hardheaded analysis, talented management of people, intense concentration, commitment…and serious spending.

As essential as strategy, objectives, and support systems (infrastructure) are a foundation for a service plan. The entire program probably would wilt like an un-watered lily without (1) a corporate culture to sustain it, and (2) a chief executive who is just as committed to customer satisfaction as he is to stockholder satisfaction.


John Tschohl

John Tschohl

John Tschohl is an international service strategist and speaker. He is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by Time and Entrepreneur magazines as a customer service guru, he has written several books on customer service. He will release shortly the 11th Edition of Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service. The Service Quality Institute has developed more than 26 customer service training programs that have been distributed and presented throughout the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.




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