Watching and Listening to Customers Can Help You Deliver Exceptional Customer Service


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My definition for delivering “amazing” customer service is to consistently be above average. At a minimum this is just a little above average. That’s what the best companies do. They are consistently above average. Note that word “consistently.” That’s the key. It needs to be all-of-the time to be amazing. The customer has to count on it – know it is going to happen. It becomes the expectation.

Exceptional customer service means you go above and beyond what is expected. You create those “WOW” and “POW” (surprise) moments for your customer.

I recently had the pleasure of staying at the Marriott in Plano, TX. This is a nice hotel that sits at the end of the Legacy Town Center. I was there for a conference and a woman named Alexandria Vanreenen was our sales representative. Alex, as she prefers to be called, was engaging and helpful. As our convention was her “customer,” she seemed to be there from first thing in the morning until our last function in the evening.

This hotel loves to give their guests some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten. And, they taste even better when you microwave them for 18 seconds. Alex noticed I was taking the cookies and microwaving them for my friends. We started talking and I told her the secret was 18 seconds for an individual cookie, or 22 seconds for two or three cookies.

At the final night banquet, just as we were eating dessert, Alex and the chef came out from the kitchen with a plate of cookies. In the middle was a little sign that read: 18 Second Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Now, I’m pretty sure the chef pulled them right out of the oven and brought them over. They were even more delicious, and my friends at the table were completely impressed with Alex, the chef, and of course the hotel. One person commented, “This hotel has the nicest people.” Another said, “The customer service here is very impressive.”

What Alex did wasn’t hard. It was just a little extra effort that made a big impact. She could do this because she engaged and interacted with her customers/guests. More importantly she listened and observed here customers’ comments. And, most important, she acted on what she heard and observed.

Her payoff is simple. She delivered a “WOW” customer service experience to ten guests, who may tell others. And, that’s what any business wants; to do a great job that is appreciated so much by the customers that they tell others. That’s what I’m doing. She had no idea she was doing this for a customer service expert that will include this story in his speech – or write about it in a blog/newsletter that is read by tens of thousands of people.

So, engage with your customers. Pay attention to what they are saying. Take advantage of what you are seeing and hearing and then use what you’ve learned to surprise your customers with amazing and exceptional customer service.

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.


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