I have shared with you in a past post how vacations can be a great time to experience, enjoy and evaluate customer service and how we can use those experiences to grow our own business.  The basic message was that if you offer an “experience” to a client, they are less likely to “shop you” for price or perceive you as a commodity.  This week, I want to share with you what I see as the two parts of any customer service experience:

The first is the “WHAT” of customer service.  The “what” is the actual service we provide, whether it be loans, real estate, rental cars or food service.  If you are a restaurant, you serve food.  To have anyone even come in the doors a first time, you better be able to make and serve food.  If you are a mortgage company, you better be able to package and fund a loan.  The “what” is basically the bare minimum of customer service.    You must be able to do the task that people are coming to you to get.

The second part of customer service is the “HOW”.  The “how” is exactly that: “how” do you go about doing your “what”?  The “how” is the experience you provide and the added actions you take while you are doing your “what”.  The “how” is where you distinguish yourself from the rest.  Your “how” creates the story for your clients that they will share with others.   Make sure that story is a positive one.

A basic example of this I experienced poolside while on vacation.  I wanted a cocktail while I basked in the sun by the pool.  The drink would be the “what.”   I ordered my drink and it was delivered.  It was a perfectly fine drink.  My “what” was satisfied.  However, as a paying customer at a nice resort, I was disappointed in the “how.”  I had to wait to locate a server.  I then had to ask for a menu.  The server seemed annoyed I was “bothering” them.  I then had to wait again for the server to come back to order.  I then waited again while my drink was made and delivered back again.  The server almost threw the drink at me, then off they went without a word.  So all in all my story would be that I had a poor customer service experience.

Now change the scenario to the next day at a different resort.  I ordered the same drink poolside.  The drink tasted exactly how it did the previous day.  So the “what” was the same.  However this time, I was greeted by name as I entered the pool area.  I was politely asked if I needed anything and handed a menu by a very friendly server who had a big smile and told me their name.  I ordered my drink and it was almost immediately brought back with a side of peanuts.  The server then said, “please let me know if you need anything else.  I’ll be back to check on you shortly.”   Which customer service experience do you think was better?

The bottom line is people will use your service if they indeed have a need.  People have to eat.  And if your “what” is that great, you may not need a “how.”  However, in a world where we are often perceived as all the same, to truly be successful, you not only need to have a great “what,”  but you need to know “how” to deliver it.


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