We live in a world of self-driving cars, viral media, and devices that can respond to voice command from anywhere in your home. In this same world, customer service expectations have evolved as well. As rising generations continue to join the workforce, it is vital to remain consistent in delivering exceptional customer service experiences. Research indicates that the most successful organizations have three things in common.
They Invest in the Skill to Thrill. A colleague of mine worked at Walt Disney World as a Merchantainment Retailer. She spent two days in Disney’s basic training, and an additional day in skill-specific training. She trained for three full days before ever coming into contact with a guest. Do you know what a Merchantainment Retailer is outside of Disney?
Most cashiers don’t receive more than a day of training. I know of cases where organizations put employees at a cash register within an hour of starting their first day. Those who are the best in customer service, understand that the skill to thrill customers almost always needs to be trained.
They Create a Culture of Expected and Respected. Ari Weinzwig, co-founder of the Zingerman’s family of businesses, explains that the culture is the best indicator of the quality of service in any organization. (From Zingerman's Guide to Giving Great Service, p. 22)
“When I hear our staff moaning about the quality of the service they got elsewhere, it tells me that they’ve successfully internalized our service standards.”
Similarly, a recent study by VitalSmarts found that culture has an enormous impact on the quality of service. In their study, they explored what employees did when they witnessed incidents of poor customer service by their peers. What they found was that only seven percent of employees spoke up to or attempted to help a peer struggling with quality service. However, 66 percent cited having an answer or solution but doing nothing.
Quality service isn’t a person problem, it’s a people problem. They Own Their World. The best service organizations are controlling their physical workspace, processes, tools, and technology to be successful in delivering great service. A current example of this is Walmart’s new pickup service that allows shoppers to buy online, park in a designated area at the store, and have purchases delivered right to their vehicle.
One blogger simply stated, “I LOVED the Walmart Grocery Pickup service. LOVED it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” She then urged Costco to get on board with this service.
THE BIG REVEAL
Delivering great customer service experiences is your greatest competitive advantage. The ROI of effective customer service can have 50 times the impact of traditional advertising. Organizations like Disney, Zingerman’s, and even Walmart are benefiting from a customer focus. As they become more effective in delivering positive customer service experiences, they dramatically improve business results and cultivate lasting, loyal client relationships.