Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Does Great Customer Service Still Matter? | Sustainable Business ...

bullseye700x300Switch and Shift is dedicated to sharing one undeniable business principle: in our uber-connected, modern world, the human side of business is not just ?nice? or ?the right thing to do?.

Even more than either of those considerations, a relentless focus on people ? inside the company and out ? is absolutely essential to a business?s survival. For our February blog series, we invited some of the world?s most admired customer service experts to share their insights on this point from a customer-facing perspective.

Amazing customer service is an area that has been near and dear to me since childhood; something I shared in my first book, Five-Star Customer Service. In Chapter One of that book, I share the story of my kinda-sorta ancestor, George Boldt, the first general manager and eventual owner of the Waldorf Astoria hotel. George?s starting salary (in 1892!) was $1 million a year. Boldt?s unrelenting passion for serving his customers led his employer to tell him, ?I would gladly have paid you more.? As you can imagine, Boldt?s story left an impression on my young mind.

When running my first company, I was determined not to lose a single client to our competitors. So my staff and I spoiled them rotten ? so rotten they?d be ruined for the competition. It worked, and we thrived.

Over the years, I have counseled thousands of business leaders on the business case for top-rate service. I?ve also made some remarkable friends along the way ? other experts and business leaders who get it, and who are talented at sharing their perspectives with others.

Does great customer service still matter in the Twenty-Teens? Will it get your company where you want it to go, profit-wise? I?m all about real-world examples. Here are just a few.

When you think, ?Does service matter???

  • Think Nordstrom, which uses the differentiator of phenomenal service to command a high price point. Discounts are rare at this extraordinary retailer: Nordstom doesn?t need gimmicks to inspire its shoppers.
  • Think Chick Fil-A, which uses jaw-dropping service to dominate the fast food market wherever a new franchise is launched.
  • Think Rackspace, whose customers refer to the company as ?fanatically customer obsessed?. Rackspace wins tightly-contested B2B sales battles this way every day of the week, all year long.

You could do worse than to emulate these three market leaders. But there are more ? so many more. Come back each day over the next two weeks, as extraordinary thinkers in the realm of five-star service share their perspective with you, our community.


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