The 10 commandments Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2008

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 philosophies.

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 standards

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 customer.

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.

Training

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

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 experience

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 competition.

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 john@thedijuliusgroup.com.