By Shep Hyken
Creating customer amazement is a foundational concept I cover in almost every one of my customer service keynote speeches. I’ve always preached that to amaze customers, we must simply be better than average all the time. While I’ve thought a lot about this over the years, lately I have been trying to make it even simpler for people to understand. To do that, you must understand the three ways you can be amazing for your customers, including your internal customers, who are the people you work with.
- Over the Top – This is about delivering an “above and beyond” experience. It is impossible to make every interaction you have with a customer the most incredible experience they have ever had. An “over the top” experience happens on occasion. It falls into your lap. It might be a complaint or problem that gives you the chance to step up and do something special. Or it’s an opportunity to surprise a customer. These happen every once in a while, but not every day.
- A Little Above Average All the Time – I’ve been preaching this for years (actually decades). This puts the concept of customer amazement within the capabilities and reach of everyone in an organization. Simply be a little above average, even if it’s just a tiny bit. Using the customer’s name, calling them back a little quicker than expected, and meeting – and exceeding ever so slightly – other basic expectations make customers appreciate doing business with you. And when the slightly above average experience is consistent and predictable, the customers love you because they can count on the experience happening again next time.
- Meeting Expectations All the Time – This is the addition to my list. In the past, I’ve focused on my second concept, Above Average All the Time. I’m making it even easier. Being even the slightest bit above average is great, but how about just doing what is expected, but here again, all the time? It doesn’t even have to be a little above average as long as it meets their expectations. A simple example of this is returning a call or email. People expect you do so in a reasonable period of time. Do that all the time, and they expect it, appreciate it and keep coming back for more.
Over the Top can happen once in a while, so take advantage of those opportunities when they come. Above Average and Meeting Expectations are about consistency and predictability. If you’ve been following me, you may remember that I emphasize the word always. When your customers use the word always followed by something positive that is expected, you’re operating in the all the time zone, which means your customers will often give you high ratings and sing your praises.
My point is that being amazing isn’t that hard. It’s about paying attention to details. And now I’ve made it even easier. Just do what is expected. When you consistently do what the customer expects, they will say, “They are amazing!” and “I’ll be back!”