Why coriander is the key to excellent customer service.

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Asking staff to provide excellent customer service it's about as useful a direction as asking staff to make you a delicious lunch. The employee who loves coriander and has super kitchen skills is never getting a score of excellent from me. The lunch they put their heart and soul into may be delicious to them, but just one bite and I'm VERY unhappy and I will remember that experience as awful, long after the taste has gone. (If it's not clear, I HATE CORIANDER)

The word 'excellent' is the problem.

Like the word delicious, excellent is open to interpretation. For every employee who believes excellent customer service is completing customer requests quickly and with minimal chit chat, there is another employee who believes that taking the time to talk with customers is just as important as completing the request. Neither of these perceptions is incorrect or correct because...

Deciding if customer service is excellent is not up to you or your team; it's up to each customer.

Is providing excellent customer service to every customer possible?

Not always.  BUT, in the majority of customer interactions the chance of excellent service being how the customer feels is greatly increased when staff have the right attitude, the right training and the right support. 

To help motivate your team to consider the different service expectations of different customers, pose the below question before your next team meeting:

"If you were a customer of our business, what would you consider as excellent service?"

On butchers paper or a whiteboard, write each individual response to the above question.

Words have more power when they are read as well as said. The written word allows time for reflection and makes it easy for the team to see that like their customers, they too may have different ideas of what is excellent service. 

This activity is a great way to remind staff that customers who ask many questions, need you to repeat information, are abrupt and direct or want immediate responses, are not always trying to be difficult; they simply have different needs and expectations.  

There will of course be a smattering of customers who want a level of service that is not possible or practical, but the good news is that most customers are open books.

Most customers will feel they have received excellent service when staff learn how to read them. 

The book you and your team need is mine: "The A-Z of Service Excellence".

You can download the First Chapter for FREE

By Cate Schreck