We exceed service expectations.
Each of our values needs to make us somehow distinctive, and it needs to have behaviors that we use internally, as well as with clients and partners.
I had an internal debate on this one. It seems that quality customer service is a basic expectation. Making it a core value was just too easy, because it fits into the category of “permission to play” values.
But the more I thought about it, and observed service in action, I realized that actual quality customer service that exceeds expectations is rare.
In many cases, businesses substitute employee friendliness for actual service. Consider the following examples:
- There’s a major bank where employees seem to be trained to ask people things like “Got any other errands today?” or “Big plans this afternoon?” Those phrases never seem genuine. Once, I asked, “What time do your Ames branches close?” The employee answered, “You can probably find that on our website, or look up the number to call.” I responded, “Isn’t there any way you can find it?” It took a moment, but then it dawned on the employee. “Oh, I have a computer right here. I guess I could look it up.”
I would much rather have responsiveness and answers, rather than chit-chat. One is actually service; the other is friendliness.
- There is a national chain restaurant that I sometimes hit while traveling. They have a steak and veggies option on the menu that I enjoy and it’s usually good. One time, though, the steak was overdone. The server stopped by and asked, “How’s everything tasting!” (Yes, it was an exclamatory and not a question.) “Well,” I said “The steak is way overdone, thanks for asking.” “Ooooooo,” she said, making a sad-face of sympathy. Then she perked up again, “Well, how about those steamed vegetables?” “Those are fine,” I told her. “Well, that’s good then!” And she walked away.
We want to provide exceptional service rather than just personality.
One of the ways we work to differentiate ourselves is to read the way our clients like to communicate, and then match it. Some prefer the phone—we call them. Some love “just the basics” bullet-point emails, so we keep it brief. Others feel left in the dark if they don’t know the backstory, so we fill in the blanks for them. We don’t always nail it, but we definitely make an effort to talk to people the way they talk to us. Matching communication styles is easier when you are face-to-face, but it’s just as important when you’re conversing electronically or over the phone.
Something else we stay on top of—
Returning voice mails and emails the same day whenever possible, and definitely within one business day. This seems basic to me, but we’ve learned that not everyone pushes that hard for quick communication turnaround.
Internal behaviors that we strive for include:
- Be easy to work with and use their systems.
- Read cues and signals.
- Match communication styles.
- Be proactive—anticipate and solve problems.
What our clients can expect:
- We will be easy to work with and use your systems.
- We show up early.
- Requests for information are specific.
- We anticipate questions rather than reacting.
- We read and work with personality styles.
What are your team’s expectations around customer service, and how are they different than your competitors?
Thanks for reading,
This is the fourth post in a 6-part series discussing the importance of having core values and what core values we at Group Dynamic hold to. Follow along as we explore the internal and extrernal impact of personal and corporate core values.
Post #1: What Group Dynamic Values
Post #2: Core Value: We are Accountable, Responsive, and Timely
Post #4: Core Value: We Obsessively Over-Communicate
I always enjoy your presentations, wish we had you in (Kemin Michigan) more often. Thanks!
Thank you, Michael! I always enjoy my time with you in Plymouth. Keep on keeping on…