How do you know if you are delivering a customer service experience that really matters to your consumers? Before you can even ask this question, you need to have a clear understanding of the difference between your “core service” and your “service experience.”
I recently finished a great book by Roy Osing called, “BE DiFFERENT or be dead” (amazon affiliate link). In the book, Roy discusses a major issue that many businesses seem to miss the mark on. It’s one that is easily overlooked – the difference between delivering on your customers’ expectations and wowing them with amazing service experiences.
I loved Roy’s approach to this and I will let you dive into section four of his book to learn more; however, I’d like to summarize this concept in a slightly different way. Consider that we set a customer service thermometer for your business. Zero is the low end. The midway point on our thermometer reads 50 degrees. The high end reads 100 degrees.
Your customers have a set of expectations about your business. All of them relate to the core of your business. These expectations revolve around the nature of your business. For example, if you are a delivery service, they expect their packages to arrive safely on time. Or, if you run a restaurant, your customers expect quality food that is serviced in a timely manner by pleasant servers. This is your core.
As a business, you have to deliver on your core in a consistent manner. But here’s the problem – this is what your customers expect. Don’t deliver and they will walk away. Deliver on them and they might like you a little more, but they won’t be loyal to you. Delivering on expectations will only get your customer service thermometer up to about 50 degrees. Turning up the temperature on your thermometer requires that you exceed your customers’ expectations.
In order to light a fire under your customer service thermometer, you must deliver your core service with a service experience that wows your customer. Not only should you develop a plan for exceeding guest expectations, you should also sit down with your team and figure out how to wow them when things go wrong (another subject that Roy discusses in his book). These experiences should vary; they must be tailored to the individual customer and they must matter to her or make a difference in her life.
Roy’s principle is simple:
- Meeting expectations = satisfaction
- Exceeding expectations = loyalty
If you only meet expectations, you risk becoming average. If you do both, you will earn the trust and loyalty of your guests and will have a winning, long-term customer service strategy.
How I am Applying Roy’s Insights
Roy’s idea of “core service” and “service experience” are spot on and I have already used his ideas when discussing the difference between customer satisfaction and loyalty with the retailers I have worked with over the last several weeks. Looking at customer service (or as Roy puts it “serving customers”) from this perspective helps shed new light on what a business must do in order to drive loyalty.
I am also trying to look at my own career and future business opportunities from this perspective. I have often thought about opening my own business and I feel like Roy’s book and remarkable ideas would genuinely help me do this the right way and would seriously reduce the learning curve for me as a business owner.
Thanks for reading my posts this week. I would love to hear your thoughts on this series of posts. Did you enjoy the book review, the interview with Roy, and the subsequent follow up? What could I be doing better? Where there issues you would have like to have seen me address in the review or interview?