Customers service is not a department or a function. Customer service excellence should be embedded in the culture and behaviours of all people within an organisation, from CEO to reception staff. Research shows that it costs us five times more to win a new customer than it does to keep a current one.
But what is customer service excellence in practice? In today’s competitive market it is becoming more and more difficult to retain customers. Features and benefits of our offering play some role in the competitiveness but connecting with your clients on an emotional level is the key to building long lasting relationship. It is no longer sufficient to introduce a competitive service or product to the market, you have to try to anticipate your customer’s needs and expectations and strive to exceed them every time.
I have chosen some inspirational quotes from Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon, former CEO of SAS Group. Whilst the publication was published in 2001, the key message is valid more then ever: The “moments of truth” (those brief instants in which customers come into contact with your front-line staff) define the image of your company in the eyes of the customer.There are still far too many companies that pride themselves on being customer-oriented, but are in reality product- and process-oriented.
“Last year each of our ten million customers came in contact with approximately five SAS employees, and this contact lasted an average of 15 seconds each time. The SAS is ‘created’ 50 million times a year, 15 seconds at a time. These 50 million ‘moments of truth’ are the moments that ultimately determine whether SAS will succeed or fail as a company. They are the moments when we must prove to our customers that SAS is their best alternative”.
“…running a business is not always a matter of logic and mathematics. It’s just as much a question of understanding the psychological impact that a new and intriguing offer will make on the market”.
“This (business planning based on a sound perception of customers wants and needs) sounds very easy, but for those sitting at the top of the pyramid – and not working on the front-line, in day-to-day contact with the customers – it can be tricky”.
“As I learned more about SAS I was amazed at how many of its policies or procedures catered to the equipment or the employees, even if they inconvenienced the passengers”.
“In stark contrast to the production orientated company, where decisions are motivated by product and technology considerations, the customer orientated company begins with the market, and lets it guide every decision, every investment, every change”.
“Unfortunately most front line employees have been following regulations for so long that few have the courage to try something new”.
“If you indicate by your actions that you are superior even to your customers, then you can hardly call yourself market orientated”.
“Only the customer, and the customer alone, will pay our costs and provide our profits”.
So, come on be honest. Is your customer service winning or losing you business? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org