02 October 2011

Service Really Is A Differentiator - And Are You REALLY Surprised?

A great post today by Gerry McGovern. I love his posts because they cause me to think about how thing work and what makes things tick.

The really obvious thing to me - and it should be to everyone - is that service matters. Too bad service is such a nebulous concept.

I know many people who hate Ryanair. I like the airline. They fly places I want to go or at least they can fly there. Then their service is consistent. I know just what to expect for my average 100 Euro fare. Yes that is the amount on average I spend with Ryanair. Southwest is also an airline that I like. It gives me a consistency that I appreciate. However they dont fly enough places that I want to fly and therefore I need to rationalize my flying to be on airlines that give me something. So I am a point hound!

I have a very low opinion of service. I dont it expect it and I am rarely disappointed. However every now and then I get surprised by individual personalized service where someone will go that extra mile. I am talking about someone making a difference. There are many hotels who try to force this thought process on their customers via the staff who have not the faintest notion of why they do something. I recall staying at a hotel where they rolled out a corporate credo using a particular word. The word was "surprising". It was AWFUL I challenged a member of staff who( the operator) as to why she had used it 9 times with me and she spilled the beans. Sadly it made everyone uncomfortable. Fortunately within 2 weeks it had been abandoned. 

You cannot force service - you can enable it. And then it must be up to you and your fellow operativess to deliver against it. In online this is really important. Let me give you an example.

I am a member of the Global Entry system - I was an early adopter. This year it will roll out to high level frequent flyers in the elite classes of all US Carriers programs. The service structure is typical government. A system designed by a committee. However I was impressed that the agent at the border recommended - from her own volition what I could do to enhance my experience. That was someone who didnt need to do something going out of their way to help.

So humour me with my rant today. I do see that there are new customer service technologies that are improving the service proposition across the board. However sadly in my experience even in those organizations that adopt them - they are never used properly. What really kills me is that whoever is responsible for these implementations must never walk through their own process. This allows me to indulge in something where  I take a perverse pleasure in breaking systems and processes. It is SO freekin' easy.So what are you doing about


So here is a request. GO and think hard about your service. Then WALK through your website. Call your call centre. And then see what I mean. Be difficult. I would be happy to provide anyone who is interested with some use cases to enable you to do this.

YES I MEAN YOU! Your service sucks and it doesnt have to.Please go and fix it

Thank you for your attention - now you can go back to reading your email and updating Facebook... that was what you were doing wasn't it?


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