The Impeccable Service Provider.
I am just rounding up on a presentation. The presentation is for an upcoming seminar for a partner on time management. The idea is to help their team scale up their employees and organizational effectiveness. The training slide is a 4- module time management training session and I included service delivery as a whole module for the program. I defined what service was as I perceived service delivery. I decided to include "impeccable service delivery" as one of the sub-topics but I got stuck when I was about to complete the module.
I asked myself this important question "At what point does a service becomes impeccable?". I could have “googled” it up (Google is an impeccable service provider trust me and is synonymous with finding any information that you need) but decided to do a little thinking and research on my own. I stumbled on one article “Why Did Big Ideas Die” in Forbes magazine by Steve Denning. This helped me answer my earlier question as it was just what I needed to put me back on track.
Having worked in the financial industry for more than a decade, I have had first-hand experiences with service failure and in some cases been involved in service recovery activities. Delivering impeccable service is a tough call and this is mostly achieved when there is a seamless integration of all units in the service delivery cycle. Leaving service delivery alone to the customer-facing team can polarize your staff and turn them into antagonists rather than a well-oiled machine of the synchronous symphony. The only way to deliver impeccable service is to ensure that everyone thinks about the customer irrespective of their job function.
But then, the truth of the matter is that involving every member of your team to think about the customer is a no-brainer. The reality is that this is rarely practiced. Most employees would rather prefer to work at the back office and not bother about interacting with the customer. When all hands are on deck, it is most likely that the service offered will be above satisfactory. That is what I term Impeccable Service Delivery. For a service to become impeccable, it has to be able to reach a higher level of satisfaction and appreciation. An impeccable service provider is one that determines the kind of feeling and experience you want your customer to achieve and live it. This means that you need to set your expectations. I believe that’s where the word standard came from. An impeccable service provider creates a foolproof process for achieving that desire. An impeccable service provider creates a desire to want to give more.
About 10 years ago, one of my customers gave me a FlyTouch tablet PC as my wedding gift and I am forever grateful for that. Immediately I had the opportunity, I drove down to my service provider to find out the best internet plan for my new toy. I already had a laptop, a CDMA phone that had internet compatibility with my laptop, and a blackberry phone. I wanted to have a cost cost-effective seamless internet access across all these devices as against having separate internet plans for all my devices. I was not using a single telecommunications service and the cost of entry for personal internet users is still way high on this side of the world.
As I got to the service provider’s office, the customer service officer I met for inquiries referred me to a product officer who happened to have his plate full as he was besieged by a series of complaints and requests from customers. I immediately joined the queue hoping to get my problem solved. The product officer from mere observation was not in the best of moods because there were two ladies practically on his head who needed answers to their issues and were not ready to leave unless he provided the answers to their plight. I watched with some keen interest. I wanted to weigh the service standard with what obtained in my organization. The product officer had a straight face and was determined not to laugh or make some joke with anybody or anything that passed. He was just trying to scare his customers away with his attitude.
I honestly feel that HR officers must insist that all employees attend customer service and sales training before recruiting them. You cannot make friends if you are not friendly. You cannot solve a problem that you’ve refused to listen to. Listening to your customers will help you understand and better meet their needs. Most of the time, front liners kill businesses, not the products. Anyway, I am not writing as a consumer rights protection advocate but really who shouldn’t? Customers are the reason businesses exist. No customer no business, no profits, and the business eventually folds up.
Here are tips to move you closer to becoming an impeccable service provider.
- Desire to envision success: Success is not only attained in the effective completion of a process but also in the rewards you have received from such process. When you think about the result i.e., picturing the smiles on the face of your customers, it will push you to move towards that goal.
- Treat rejections and attitudes as catalysts for customer satisfaction: You are what you accept. We all have our issues, and it will interest you to know that every day will pop up new issues, so learn how to deal with that fact. When your customers give you an attitude, just look beyond them. Most times it’s the product and not the person that the customers attack. The truth is that the customer either needs a service or has just come to complain about a service failure. You have to be humble enough to understand that as a service provider. I believe that is why we have the R&D department. Products are not perfect and so also are people. The people in the R&D department know that there are better ways of doing things. So when a customer comes with a complaint, just know that your R&D crew has to start working again.
- Think outside the box: This is an overused cliché. Learn how to give more than you have promised. There is power in brainstorming. No matter the challenges, understand that there can always be a way out. Creativity and innovation are critical drivers of the human race.
- Plan your work and work your plan: There will always be competition, roadblocks, and setbacks on your journey to success. Learn how to go on without necessarily bowing to distractions. Persistence pays and persistence brings perfection. Practice what you want to achieve all of the time. People will analyze you, but it depends on you to either let that weigh you down or affect you. Keep moving on. Seek to know more: There is no end to learning and we learn every day. Someone once mentioned that wisdom is knowing that you know nothing. It saves you a whole lot of trouble and thinking.
As I got back to my car, I wondered how many people this good-looking but bad-natured product officer would have torn into pieces with his service style. I am sure most of the people he has had encounters with will not love to come to his table anymore for inquiries and other issues. In the short run, he would be glad customers are not bothering him but in the long term, he might just end up being laid off or kill the business. It all depends on you to determine whether he is an impeccable service provider. See you on top of your riches.