The 10 commandments

There are 10 principles that
all world-class customer
service organizations have in common. Those 10 commandments are listed below in the precise sequence necessary for any
organization to provide a world-class customer experience.

Service vision

Every organization that provides superior service has a
strong service vision that creates a clear direction for everyone inside it. This is the underlying purpose of what you bring
to the community and why your
customers buy from you rather
than from a competitor.

You must develop the service
vision before anything else can
take shape. It drives hiring, standards, training and leadership

World-class internal culture

With a vision in place, create
a world-class internal culture
that attracts, hires and retains
only those people who are
capable of upholding the service vision of your organization.

This culture serves as your
organization’s foundation
and allows our service
vision to become a reality.

Nonnegotiable experiential

Any success in achieving
your vision relies on a set of
experiential standards that
allow your service vision to
be of real value to your

You do this by having
standards that everyone
must follow for each stage
of the organization’s customer experience cycle.
The standards result in
employees providing a
consistent, engaging experience
that is unlike most competitors.

Secret service systems

Once you are consistent, you
need to find ways to gather and
utilize customer intelligence to
personalize experiences by
engaging and anticipating customers’ needs.

This can be accomplished by
developing secret service systems that capture information
on the front end and turn it into
easily accessible information
that enables front-line employees to personalize every customer’s experience.


A service vision, standards
and systems are worthless if
you don’t have a way to ensure

Do so by creating a training
program for all new and existing employees that consists of
soft-skill training aimed at
increasing service aptitude and
providing team members with
the knowledge and tools they
need to deliver a world-class
customer experience.

Implementation and execution

This is the area where most
companies fail. Therefore, the
implementation and accountability for the set standards and systems are every manager’s responsibility. Develop a process that
allows the realistic implementation of your new customer service initiatives and systems.

Zero risk

Being able to anticipate your
service defects and having protocols in place to make it right
is the difference between good
and great.

Every employee must understand the common service defects that can arise at each
stage of the customer experience cycle and be trained and
empowered to provide great
service recovery. That way,
when problems happen, your
company is known to be zero
risk to deal with.

Above-and-beyond culture

Create an awareness of the
most common opportunities
where employees can really
deliver heroic service for the
customer. Develop mechanisms
to collect and redistribute above-and-beyond stories that constantly remind your employees
of the power of your service
vision. This can become a tremendous competitive advantage.

Measure your customer’s

Use a scientific method to
measure your customer’s experience and satisfaction. It should
provide benchmarks for performance in each department.

Your goals must be tied to a
specific metric that allows you
to measure how satisfied your
customers are with you, whether
you are keeping your service
brand promise, how effective
service recovery is and how
well you stack up against the

World-class leadership

World-class leadership starts
at the top and provides the passion, inspiration and discipline
necessary for all employees to
deliver every day.

While this is the final commandment, it is the most important. It becomes the driving force
behind being able to consistently deliver the other nine. <<

JOHN R. DIJULIUS III is the author of “Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable
Customer Service” and “What’s The Secret” (due out April 2008). He is also president of The DiJulius
Group, a firm specializing in giving companies a superior competitive advantage by helping them differentiate on delivering an experience and making price irrelevant. Reach him at [email protected].