Customer Service Has to Be Everyone’s Business

Any single person in your company can make a positive or negative impression on a customer. And today, thanks to social media, that one impression can be multiplied, exponentially, within hours.

“Think of Yelp or TripAdvisor,” says Kathy Cuff, coauthor of Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care. “You can go online and read hundreds of experiences other people have had with individual employees at thousands of restaurants, resorts, and other companies. What does this mean to you? It means that one customer’s good or bad experience with one of your employees can become front page news for other prospective customers at precisely the time they are considering buying a product or service from your company.

“Today’s customer has a big megaphone in that small mobile device and isn’t afraid to use it. Here’s an example: I was on a flight recently that was delayed because of weather. Finally, at midnight, the flight was canceled. As the airline was trying to rebook all of us, a young man behind me logged into Twitter and started tweeting about how frustrated he was with the airline and how horrible they were.

“I got on standby for the first flight out in the morning because I had mileage status with that airline, but the young man was rerouted on a later flight and wouldn’t get to his destination until 24 hours later. I settled into a chair to take a nap until morning.

“When I got in line for my flight, I was surprised to see this man at the gate. I asked him what had happened and he said, ‘I’m on this flight—my tweets did it.’ So apparently as a result of the man’s incessant negative tweeting about his experience, the airline put him on the same flight I was on.”

Any experience a customer has with one employee suddenly can become accessible across the entire mobile platform, says Cuff. This means that now more than ever, every employee has to be responsible for customer service—and that can only happen if you build service into the culture of your company.

“The best companies exhibit a service mindset throughout the entire organization. It’s not just a frosting of friendly people on the front lines,” explains Cuff. It’s baked into the entire organization.

According to Cuff, organizations need to train employees from two perspectives—the role of the leader and the role of the frontline service provider. Leaders need to know their role in the service vision. In Cuff’s experience, leaders are the glue that holds the service vision together, day in and day out.

“Management makes sure that the culture of the organization is in place and that it supports great service. I want leaders and managers to think of their direct reports as their most important customer. That’s who they should be focusing on and serving. Leaders need to ask frontline employees, ‘What can I do to help you better serve our customers?

Cuff explains that employees look to their leaders as role models when it comes to service. When employees feel valued by the organization, as represented by their leaders, they, in turn, operate from that same mindset when interacting with customers. The organization’s service culture needs to be instilled at every level.

“It’s great when an organization has good people dealing with external customers on the front lines. The problem arises when those people need help and are not supported by their coworkers or managers. Colleagues don’t return phone calls or are short with each other, or managers are unresponsive.

“If you want a true customer focused organization, start internally. You can’t just have a few people out there serving the customer. Today’s customers interact with all aspects of your organization and you need to be strong at all levels. Directly or indirectly, everyone needs to be serving someone.”

“The key is to care,” says Cuff. She and her coauthors, Ken Blanchard and Vicki Halsey, feel so strongly about the concept that it became the subtitle of their book. Caring builds relationships inside the organization and with customers.

“You want your customers to know that you care about them. We use an I CARE acronym to share the importance of creating a culture of caring that you can extend to your customers.

“Don’t we all want to work with a company we see as a partner and a friend—with employees we enjoy interacting and spending time with? Internally and externally, we want to work with organizations that meet our needs, help us grow and develop, and with people whom we respect and like. That’s how to build strong, loyal customer connections that keep people coming back. When you show someone you care, they care back. And you create strong relationships that lead to success.”


Would like to learn more about creating a customer service culture in your organization? Then join us for a free webinar!

Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 5:00 p.m. UK Time / 4:00 p.m. GMT

Running a successful organization depends on many things, but one thing all companies depend on is customers. Customers fuel business—so it is imperative that everyone recognizes and knows how to deliver great customer service.

In this webinar, Kathy Cuff, coauthor of the new book Legendary Service: The Key is to Care, will show you how to create a work environment where employees want to deliver great service. You’ll learn the keys to creating a Legendary Service work environment where you can:

  • Create a culture of service throughout the organization
  • Establish strong leadership and company practices that support the front line
  • Help all employees feel like customers in their own organization
  • Understand the difference between service and services
  • Make an action plan to increase sales through service

Do you want to be known for service that is average, or service that is legendary? Equip your organization—and the people in it—with the understanding, knowledge, and skills to deliver service that keeps customers coming back and recommending you to others.

Don't miss this opportunity.

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