7 Telltale Signs of Legendary Customer Service
Legendary customer service is rare. Likewise, most provide milquetoast service, and only go through the motions to improve. The giant waving inflatables on the roof! Free coffee! Free balloons for the kids that they will pretend to like while you are there! Smiles! Handshakes! Emptiness.
Unfortunately, what follows is:
- rude or discourteous or unknowledgeable employees.
- product that is of noticeably poor quality.
- experience delays in service.
- fixing product quality problems.
- pricing issues.
Customers will remember and share their bad experience or complain to as many people as they can. Consequently, upset customers commonly let their emotions run wild with negative word of mouth advertising. Brain research tells us that a strong emotional response to a situation is what creates a lasting memory. The lack of helpful positive memories or the abundance of outrageous negative memories are huge detriments to any company.
How do you create a positive memorable service experience?
Legendary service is rare and difficult to achieve. We believe it is on par with the examples set by athletes like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Serena Williams, and Lindsey Vonn. Each one is a sports legend who has excelled time and time again in their own competitive sports, providing lasting memories for their fans.
Legendary customer service occurs when a company, through its employees, serves the customer extremely well. As a result, the customers receive a powerful, positive, and emotional reaction that propels them to repeat the experience. This takes a healthy investment of time, effort, and money so a company’s culture creates that consistently.
The payoff is that besides feeling pleased with their purchase, customers become believers in the company and unpaid promoters of the business. Their experiences and behaviors are exhibited in sharp contrast to that of the mind-numb or upset customers. The happy customers write complimentary letters, and tell friends. Furthermore, they share their delight with a company management, and begin to increase their purchases at the business. Their experiences can produce a loyalty that may draw the customers back to buy exclusively from the business for years and even decades.
We know from our research that if a company creates a high-performance atmosphere and continually coaches and trains their employees, this level of committed service is achievable. Unfortunately, this is exactly where too many companies and managers fail. They believe in technology and profits more than in their employees.
Note the characteristics of legendary service providers below. Passionate employees do the first three, and the next four come from loyal customers. All of this creates unsolicited media attention which is a capstone achievement resulting from legendary service.
Providers of Legendary Customer Service…
- Exceed expectations–Their employees love working at the company; they search for ways to delight customers with each daily service encounter.
- Achieve service levels that are better and different than the competition–Happier and passionate employees provide new ideas so the company can innovate and distinguish their service from others.
- “Wow!” the customer consistently–Employees routinely go the extra mile because they want to.
- Become promoters. The positive emotions customers receive when engaging with the employees makes them want to spread the news.
- Share word of mouth advertising. People talk positively and the word spreads beyond a market and industry.
- Keep coming back. Who would not want to buy again?
- Generate viral media attention. As the positive buzz spreads, the media from many sources begins to report the good news.
In the supermarket industry, Wegman’s has figured this out. Wegman’s is consistently the #1 grocer, if not retailer, in America. It is not “just grocery shopping” there, it’s an event. The smell of freshly baked bread fills the air. Customers can take a cooking class to advance their culinary skills or dine at Wegman’s food court while shopping there. A friend recently sent me an email lamenting a host of poor service experiences he has had in a variety of companies. At the end he added, “Well, at least I still have Wegman’s.” Above all, they have established themselves as the gold standard.
As a manufacturing company, Apple is still relatively new to retail, but it certainly is not a rookie. They designed their stores, so customer engagement is outrageously different. All their products are accessible for demo and their employees are the “geniuses” that offer expert advice and involvement. There are no salesclerks that do not care in an Apple store. They demonstrate their superior technology and service capability by checking out customers on the spot, using their phones to collect the customers’ payment and sending a receipt immediately to their email. Most importantly, this allows a nice demonstration of their technology even while they collect your contact information–without offending you at all.
#1 Reason Why Most Companies Fail
In a world where businesses are competing for the same customers while selling products essentially like their competitors, there are few places to make a distinction that allows the customers to win. We all know from personal experience that we will often pay more when we can depend on the business to take real care of us. That is where most companies fail. They do not “buy-in” and do not really care. They invest little in their employees, so their employees do not care. (That’s why employee disengagement is so high.) The employees do not give that personal touch or effort. Certainly, most companies do not understand the benefits of legendary customer service. In the world of commerce, we all tend to worship on the altar of price and technology. Yet, it is most often the rare personal service or assistance we receive that captures our loyalty as customers.
Legendary Customer Service: Pulling It All Together
Exceptional service leads to legendary reputations. The possibility to provide service of this quality is available to almost any company if it believes in its people, is willing to innovate, and really cares about their customers’ experience. The bottom line is uncomplicated: sales and profits soar. Conrad Levinson, author of Guerilla Marketing books, said, “There is extraordinary chemistry that exists in long-term relationships.”
Also, do you want more information on legendary customer service. See this white paper-immediate download: The 5 Cultural Habits of Customer Driven Companies.
In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Micro-learning and career advancement at your fingertips!
Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.