Going Above and Beyond In Service
We’ve all heard those (possibly) apocryphal stories of incredible customer service, where a (typically lowly) clerk, worker or customer service rep just goes way beyond the call of duty in order to truly delight customers. The “Someone returned tires to Nordstroms and They Don’t Even Sell Them” story, or the “Moved Heaven and Earth to Get a Passenger on a Plane, And Moved Their Luggage Too” story or the “Guy Drives For 2 Hours to Deliver a Forgotten [insert precious item here] to a [insert unhappy child of your choice here]”.
What makes these stories so remarkable, whether they are true or not? It’s because of the individual in question, who went above and beyond, basically stepped out of the “role” of shop-clerk, or airline agent, or deli-guy, and stepped into the role of a human, albeit an overly generous and helpful human.
We applaud these feats of customer service not because the individual in question did a great job because their job was not to refund tires, or find flights or deliver precious items, but to sell products, find seats and make burgers.
But they didn’t stay in their roles – they became human – and in so doing, found the drive to improve another humans life.
It wasn’t their job to do any of those things, but they did it anyway, not because they knew that the recipient of the kindness would be a customer for life, but that they were helping another human being.
Why doesn’t that happen more often?
Well, it’s simple: in our current segregated, corporate world, we are incentivized to do our job, to play our role. When we step out of our role, for good or bad, we are usually penalized.
Wouldn’t it be great if those stories of superhuman customer service were so common that instead of there being so few of them, that the stories of bad customer service were rare?
Of course, I revealed the one simple trick above for exceptional customer service.
It is to simply shed your role, and be human. Step into the customer’s shoes, as a human. Understand what it would be like, as a human, if you were able to help them fulfill whatever they needed in order to make them happy.
The key to exceptional customer service – or any service for that matter – is to be human.
In fact, too often, we hide behind “official language” and “professional patter”, in order to make ourselves sound more intelligent and important than everyone else. We use words like “methodology” and “cadence” when we could be using words like “way” and “timing”.
We try to step away from being human in order to make ourselves looks and feel better when in reality, we all want to be treated as humans and helped as humans.
In short, if you want to provide exceptional customer service, not only should you let your people be human more often, you should incentivize them for that. Be an authentic real person, and not just your role, and you will provide the best customer service you can.