Customer Service Might Not Be Perfect, but It Can Be Excellent


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Amazing Service

Perfect customer service is a goal. It’s not reality. It may be attainable sometimes, but there will always, at some point, be a mistake, a problem or a complaint from the customer. This is why perfect is not ever going to happen every time.

However, excellent customer service is reality. It’s what happens during the pursuit of perfection. If the goal is perfection, then along the way, excellence will take place.

You might consider this to be a little customer service motivation. I started thinking about this idea when I heard my friend and colleague, Art Holst, speak at an event last week. Art is a former NFL referee and talked about his friend, NFL star quarterback Bart Starr, who is known for the following quote:

“I don’t think it makes sense to strive for perfection. Perfection is not attainable. I believe totally in striving for excellence, and I think there is a great deal of difference between the two. Although we strive for excellence, we set sensible goals because one of the most frustrating things in the world is to set our goals so high that we have no chance of reaching them.”

In doing a little research about Bart Starr’s quote, I came across another one by Edwin Bliss, who is the author of “Getting Things Done.” He said:

The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.

I get it. Perfection is not reality, but the goal of perfection is. If you consistently put forth your best effort, positively and quickly react to anything that might go wrong, you are on the path to excellence.

Sometimes the customer service you deliver seems perfect. And, it may very well be… that time. But, there is always a chance something can go wrong, and that is where excellence comes into play. Even when there is a problem, a complaint or mistake, it is the effort to turn that negative into a positive that creates an excellent customer experience. And an excellent recovery may even create a higher level of customer confidence than if the problem had never happened.

Thinking back, I’ve heard people say that a company has great customer service – even amazing service. But, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone say, “They have perfect customer service.”

Perfect customer service is a goal. However, excellence is reality, and is always worth pursuing.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


  1. Great thoughts! Perfect service is utopia even setting it as a goal. That is because your goal must SMART , note that S mean specific and A is achievable. You can never measure nor attain perfection. It it frustrating to set it a goal abinitio


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