Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey on Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care

What are your beliefs about customer service—and how are they driving the customer experience in your company?  That’s one of the key questions Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey, coauthors with Ken Blanchard, explore in their book Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care.

Cuff and Halsey share a four-part CARE model to help readers and listeners explore the key concepts.

  1. Committed to Service. “It has to be intentional,” says Cuff. Cuff and Halsey share a story about how they helped Petco Park—the baseball home of the San Diego Padres—develop a service vision.  Working together with 3,500 service providers at the park, they created a shared commitment to creating Major League Memories.
  2. Attentive. “Attentiveness is about noticing others,” says Halsey. “It means being present and others focused—and drawing out what is important to them.”
  3. Responsive. Responsive includes acknowledging feelings. While this is important in all aspects of customer service, it is especially important when things go wrong.  “The key is to be ready and have a plan,” says Cuff.
  4. Empowered. “If you treat your people as valued internal customers, they will take care of your external customers,” says Cuff. “That includes empowering people to make decisions and give feedback,” adds Halsey.

Halsey and Cuff discuss how social media has increased the opportunity for disgruntled customers to share negative stories—which makes it absolutely critical to do your best with every single customer interaction. The authors share stories from their day-to-day interactions to illustrate how important the actions of individual employees are.  “Customers assume their experience with one person is indicative of the entire organization,” say Halsey and Cuff.  “That shows how important every interaction is!”

They also share how rectifying a difficult situation on the spot can turn a negative into a positive.

“If you can resolve a problem on the spot, you can save 95 percent of relationships, says Cuff. “And that usually results in a stronger relationship than existed before.”

Halsey and Cuff encourage listeners to apply the CARE approach in non-profit, government, and small or large business—all kinds of organizations.

“The principles remain the same, says Cuff. “Your products can be replicated; and price is always competitive—the differentiator is going to be the service you deliver to your customers.”

Be sure to listen through to the very end of the session, where Ken Blanchard shares his key takeaways from the interview!


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