Customer Service Is Head & Shoulders Above When You’ve Got Their Back!

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Thousands of company leaders around the world ask: Does customer service truly differentiate a company — head and shoulders — above the competition? Do customers return to companies because of customer service?

These leaders raise the issue from a financial perspective.

Well, there are many companies out there — from Ritz Carlton, Chick Fil-A, Zappos and Nordstroms, to lesser known mid-size companies that have thrived for decades — that prove the answer to the question is a clear “yes”.

Yet despite volumes of research-based statistics and financial proof, the question persists. When leaders who have seen the numbers ask me this question, my answer is:

“Customer service differentiates you head & shoulders above the competition when you’ve got the customer’s back!”

Let’s look at this phenomenon both in the business-to-business (B2B) world and the business-to- consumer (B2C) world.

B2B

You are a CEO or you own a company. You are looking for a supplier or distributor for a very important strategic aspect of the business.  Whom do you choose?

  1. One w/ great  financials and market position.
  2. One w/ proven track record of service in the industry ?
  3.  One who has #1 & #2 AND   understands your business and  shows you they will “have your back”.

“The issue for you is trust that your best interest is also in their best interest!”

This is the true definition of customer service.  Customer service is not a department. It’s not a team of agents or sales reps. It’s not a low level function of handling problems and exceptions.

Customer service is a relationship of trust that exists in every aspect of business interaction.

Trust differentiates your company head and shoulders above the other companies when you show the customers you “have their back”.

B2C

In the everyday consumer world, the customer asks the same key question: Will my best interest be in their best interest?  Will this company — whoever they are — put my needs first and succeed through meeting my needs?

The more important the product/service is to the customer, the greater the influence customer service has on the decision.

How does a customer define importance? Is it just the price? Everyone connects high customer service expectations with high cost products and services (e.g. Ritz Carlton, Nordstrom etc.)

It goes far beyond that. It also includes:

  • The emotional impact on the customer
    Does it ease my stress? Help my family? Lift me out of a rut?
  • The disruptive effect on life
    Will it positively or negatively affect my day? My plans? My life? Will I have to attack to get what I need and want?
  •  The customer’s identity
    Does it fit with who I am? Does it  support I want to be seen, and what I want the world to know about me
  • The risk of the decision to avoid buyer’s remorse
    Regardless of the price, can I trust that this is the right decision? I don’t want to feel the burden of regret.
  • The desire to celebrate and feel happy
    If I want to feel happy, will the company take me down with their selfish narcissism.

Customer service — the relationship of trust shown in every interaction — puts your company head and shoulders about the competition when you show the customer you have their back.

Listen, understand, engage, connect, and deliver. Throw away the robotic scripts and get personal.  That’s when you will see customer service contribute to your bottom line.

 

©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. This post was written specifically for the SwitchandShift blog. If you wish to repost or republish this, please email info@katenasser.com and thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

 

Want more? The customer service series continues here: Your Decisions Reveal Who You Are and What You Value 

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, inspires leaders and teams in large & mid-size corporations to the heights of service and performance. Her special focus for 20+ years in keynotes, workshops, and consulting has been turning interaction obstacles into supreme success. Kate's latest DVD -- Customer Service USA: Regional Differences That Make a Difference -- shows you how to have your customer's back! Kate invites you to join the people skills chat on Twitter (#peopleskills) every Sunday 10am ET/3pm GMT and click on the icons above to connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn. Kate has a B.S. in Mathematics and a Masters in Org. Psychology.

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  • Solomon Abate

    Kate,
    Thanks for sharing this. I will definitely use this perspective in my recent three-day CS local training for CEOs of mid-level companies here in my native country, Ethiopia. Of course I will acknowledge every bit of the idea.

    Thanks again.

    Solomon

  • https://twitter.com/PeopleMetrics Janessa Lantz

    In our research we’ve found that the top three drivers of client engagement are all emotional: consistency, extra effort, and trust (http://www.peoplemetrics.com/blog/three-key-elements-of-an-engaging-client-experience/). Or, to put it more succinctly, clients want to know that you “have their back” :) Great post.

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  • http://katenasser.com Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

    Dear Solomon,
    I am so pleased you found this valuable. That’s music to my ears! And I am grateful for the honor you pay me for the attribution.

    If you are inclined to let me know their response to this type of thinking, I would love to hear your feedback. If you have any additional questions that you need/want to ask privately, you are welcome to email me.

    Many thanks,
    Kate

  • http://katenasser.com Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

    Hi Janessa,
    So pleased to find that the research confirms the everyday experience. & Your words are a great way to illuminate “have their back”.

    Many thanks for your addition to this post!
    Kate

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