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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Simple Truths of Service

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My current account (accounting software) gave us a mug; a stress reliever (clay) and a book entitled “The Simple Truths of Service”. This book was written by Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz. It’s all about customer service.

This book has two main parts: the story of Johnny the bagger (written by Barbara Glanz) and The Simple Truths of Great Service, by Ken Blanchard.

Johnny is a simple bagger from a supermarket in the US. He also has Down syndrome. Barbara Glanz recalls how Johnny was influence by her motivational talk to delight customers in simple ways. Johnny accepted the idea that even though he’s a bagger, he can contribute to the overall profit of the supermarket but delighting his customers. How? Johnny is putting a print-out of “thoughts for the day” in the paper bag that he used.

Since Johnny started doing this, the manager of the store noticed that the lane to Johnny is twice as long as the other’s lanes. The manager later found out that customers are willing to stay a little longer in Johnny’s lane so that they could have his “thoughts for the day”. Customers were delighted by this simple act of Johnny that the manager begun noticing that a lot of customers are shopping more often. In other words, they have increased their customer’s loyalty by this simple act. Johnny became an inspiration for his co-workers, that if Johnny can come up with such an idea to delight customers, certainly, others can do that as well.

The morale of the story is that, we need to be unique in addressing our customer’s needs. We should not only satisfy what they want, but add a little personal touch in it. It should start from everyone in the company. In this age where quality and competitive price of products are just the requirements for business establishments today, certainly, delighting our customers would make a difference.

Ken Blanchard provided us with some tips on how to delight our customers in relation to the story of Johnny the bagger. These tips define what a great service is and these are:

  1. Great service inspires stories – Johnny the bagger’s story is a good example.
  2. Great service uses outside-the-box thinking – You’ll hear this phrase a lot in the call center industry. Always find ways to resolve the issue.
  3. Great service is a choice – We always have a choice whether to give what the customer wants or to exceed that expectation. We should always choose the right one.
  4. Great service starts with a clear vision – To be the best in terms of customer service is the common vision for most companies.
  5. Great service requires that everyone catch the vision – The vision always goes down to this: delight our customers.
  6. Great service surprises people – It would be great if customer’s issue is not only resolve but the way we resolve it, would make us a “stand-out” from the rest of the tech support guys that the customer remembers as by name. Let’s surprise our customers in a positive way. We want to be remembered as the guy who resolves the issue, not the guy who made the customer irate.
  7. Great service begins with anyone – Yup, even if we’re technical support, we should always provide great service. It’s not enough that we resolve our customer’s issue but we should do it in such a way that customer would say “Wow”.
  8. Great service goes the extra mile – This one is another favorite phrase in the customer service department. We often joke about this phrase and refer to it as “extra service”.
  9. Great service brings customers back – Getting customer’s loyalty is the aim of most companies nowadays. You could also see this on most BPO’s mission and vision.
  10. Great service comes from the heart – This may sound really cheesy, but it’s true. It’s not enough that we do our job but we should enjoy it as well.

“The Simple Truths of Service” is indeed a remarkable gift to us who works in the call center industry. I thank my current account for giving such a wonderful gift.

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