The quality of a company’s customer service affects its reputation as well as its bottom line. Customer service done well raises an organization’s image in the public eye and attracts new revenue. Customer service done poorly does the opposite.
When an organization delivers with such excellence and consistency that its service reputation becomes a competitive edge, that’s Legendary Service. It starts with leaders serving their people at the highest level, so that people on the front line can in turn serve their customers at the highest level.
We call these types of leaders service champions, because they create passion and momentum in others to better serve their customers. These champions follow up their inspiring words with actions, creating systems and processes that support their belief that service is vitally important.
Creating a culture of service requires a focus on four basic elements. In our book, Legendary Service: The Key is to CARE, Kathy Cuff, Vicki Halsey and I describe this as a CARE model, which is fitting, because great customer service hits people at an emotional level and creates a connection.
- C is Committed to customers: Creating an environment that focuses on serving customers—both internal and external—at the highest level.
- A is Attentiveness: Listening in a way that allows you to know your customers and their preferences.
- R is Responsiveness: Demonstrating a genuine willingness to serve others by paying attention to and acting on their needs.
- E is Empowerment: Sharing information and tools to help people meet customer needs or exceed customer expectations.
With a caring mindset in place, you can turn that mindset into action. In our book, Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service, Sheldon Bowles and I share three steps for turning your customers into raving fans—people who are so blown away by their service experience that they brag about you to others.
Decide what you want your customer experience to be. If you want Legendary Service, you don’t just announce it. You must plan for it. You must decide what you want to do. What kind of experience do you want your customers to have as they interact with every aspect of your organization? Understanding what your customers really want helps you determine what you should offer them.
Discover what your customers want. After you decide what you want to have happen, it’s important to discover any suggestions your customers may have that will improve their experience with your organization. What would make their experience with you better? Ask them!
Deliver your ideal customer service experience. Now you must help people deliver the ideal customer service experience, plus a little bit more.
When leaders empower and train people to deliver Legendary Service, customers become raving fans—leading to reputable, profitable, high performing organizations. I hope this helps as you look for ways to continue serving your people and your customers. For more ideas on how to create an organization where service is the norm, be sure to check out the 60-page summary of Leading at a Higher Level we’ve posted on our website. It’s available for free, courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies.