What Is The Secret of Amazing Customer Service?
Would you believe attitude?
By Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE, Best Selling Author
I was recently invited to meet with a group of 12 executives to talk about customer service. I decided that for this more intimate group setting I would take an interactive approach, a dialogue with the audience rather than a speech or presentation. For one exercise, I divided the executives into two groups. One group was to discuss the best customer service experiences they had ever had, and the other group was to discuss the worst. The two groups were instructed to choose one experience to share – the best of the best and the worst of the worst – when we came back together after 10 minutes.
As it happens, both of the examples they shared came from restaurant experiences. The best customer service story was about a server who went above and beyond when a diner requested a specific beverage, but the restaurant didn’t serve that brand. The server called his wife and asked her to go purchase the drink at the grocery store and bring it to the restaurant. The guest was surprised and delighted, not only to get her drink of choice, but also with the server’s extra effort to take care of her.
The restaurant server in the other example made no effort at all to engage with the guests. He was just going through the motions, and begrudgingly at that. He didn’t seem to care that the guests had to wait. When the meals were finally served, one was not right, but he still showed no sense of urgency in getting it corrected. By the time the plate arrived again, the other diners in the party were finished with their meals. And it was still wrong. No effort was made to rectify the situation with perhaps the offer of dessert for the guest or not charging for the meal. He offered no sincere apology. The person who shared the story was too frustrated to even argue about paying for the meal; he just wanted to leave.
After hearing these stories, I pointed out that they had something in common. It was not that they both happened in restaurants, and it was not that both examples involved servers. It all came down to one word, and it didn’t take long before everyone realized that it was attitude.
In the example of good service, the server had a whatever-it-takes attitude. He was pleasant and cheerful and wanted to do whatever he could to make the guests happy. Even though there was a problem with one of the meals in the example of bad service, that wasn’t the real issue. A meal can be corrected, but the server’s attitude of apathy and disengagement with no sense of urgency are what made it a bad experience.
When it comes to attitude, we have a choice. Someone who chooses to have a good attitude can provide good service in good times and bad. But choose to have a bad attitude and your customer with have a bad experience every time.
Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. Copyright © MMXVI Shep Hyken
How Customer Service Drives Sales: A Conversation with Patricia Fripp & Shep Hyken
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