Well, my favourite explanation captures the whole picture – it’s about how a company behaves toward their customers, from beginning to end of a customer relationship.
Over the years I've worked in a variety of customer facing roles - from counter and phone sales, business development, to IT service desk operator and support manager, in a variety of industries. In each and every role the focus has always been on customer service - it's always been the point of difference. We often hear from Australian businesses, large and small, that customers are their ‘Number One’ focus – yet customers often need to tolerate poor quality call centres and non-responsive helpdesks.
It really isn’t enough to simply say ‘Customers are Number One’, we must DEMONSTRATE in every action that customers are key and deliver service that not only meets their needs, but strives to ‘WOW!’
Note I say ‘strives’. It is an aspiration: some days we smash it, and some days it can take longer to get the job done - we are human. Yet it's ‘strives’ that makes the difference: when we miss the mark and don’t wow the customer, we take note of the lessons learned, incorporate it into our process and we keep moving forward. There was an example in one of our training handbooks (“Raving Fans!” Blanchard And Bowles) that said you can't clean all the windows of the house to perfection until you learn how to clean the first one (it also talks a great golf game - have a read)
How do we try to Wow our clients and customers? It all starts with our values, from last to first:
5. BE THE VISIONARY NOT THE FOLLOWER - it's not so much ‘Think outside the box’, but it’s the words of the Rev. Alan Males ‘Dare to be different’. Being different is good, it’ll take you down the road less travelled to new and exciting vistas - allowing new ideas to be trialled without the fear of failure.
4. TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT - we are working with people first and foremost, and technology is only a bridge to solving a business need. So we must act with honesty, integrity and empathy: say what we will do, do what we said, and understand that our client is a person who needs understanding as well as assistance with technology.
3. ACT WITH URGENCY – ‘Time is money’ however we're not only dealing with our time, but more importantly we are in our client's time and their priorities. Through the service desk process we seek to understand their business priorities and reflect those in both SLA and action.
2. OPERATE WITH EXCELLENCE - our goal is to ‘Be THE professional’ not only to use relevant best practices, but to kindle a spirit of continuous improvement where we can keep raising the bar on how and what we deliver.
1. WOW THE CUSTOMER - if we get the previous four points in alignment internally, and with our client's needs and expectations, then our quality of people, spirit and service will ‘Wow!’