Friday, April 23, 2010

Exceptional Service - Exceptional Profit

Exceptional Service Exceptional Profit - The Secrets of Building a Five-star Customer Service Organization is a book by Leonardo Inghiller and Micah Solomon.

When I first picked up the book I was some what skeptical. I am a big believer in customer service I also believe customer service can be over done. What I have found is consumers are frequently driven to the lowest price yet expect five star service to go along with the lowest price. I know this is not the case in all businesses but in many businesses it is the case.

In some cases, superior services clearly does cost more to deliver.

One phrase caught my eye. Keep a firm eye on lily gilding. This comes from a Shakespeare phrase, the "lily gilding" means overdoing something that's already perfect. In customer interactions, it often takes the form of fancying up your offerings beyond what the customers are interested in. Lily gilding has both obvious and hidden costs, including excess features that can make your offering less attractive by complicating it for customers or that imply to customers that they're paying for something they don't need.

As an aside, I often find people who write tend to lily guild.

Value is relative. Customers often judge your value relatively. That is, they judge each interaction with your company against their previous interactions with you-and with your competitors.

To make sure you understand the competitive expectations of your customers, shop the competition-your best competition. Don't let resentment lead you to dismiss a competitor's innovations. Think rationally about whether there is value there that you could make use of for your own customers.

Pricing is part of the value proposition. Not everybody values money the same. If value was all about low pricing, there would be no space for retailers like Nordstrom; everybody would be shopping at Wal-Mart. A reliable equation is "Value=Personal Benefit-Cost and Inconvenience." Therefore, in product and service design, it helps to focus on the personal benefit you provide for customers in return for the price you charge.

A loyal customer is the least price-sensitive customer of all. So think "what can we do to create loyalty".

One great quote was "Don't charge a customer for performing the Heimlich". A touchstone in pricing is that your charges should demonstrate that you care about the customer. Among other things, this means you should never surprise your customers with charges they wouldn't commonly expect. Avoid nickel and diming customers.

4 Comments:

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the review and partial summary of our new book, "Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five Star Customer Service Organization." A couple chapters can be read -- and of course the book can be purchased -- at the following link if your readers are interested. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814415385
Thank you again--Micah Solomon

 
At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trap comes when you sell on price and over promise on your product or service.

Better to under promise and over deliver.

 
At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Alex Revai said...

Judging from the number of customer satisfaction surveys being conducted on a daily basis, few companies seem to realize that a satisfied customer doesn't a Loyal Customer make.

Study after study proves that the goal for most companies should be the building of Customer Loyalty. Satisfaction (just like quality), often is the "cost of entry", not a differentiator.

 
At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach said...

I have spent 20 years advising and delivering training on exceptional service for ++ profits. I love the reference in the comment "be careful of gilding the lily". SO true.

Customer loyalty doesn't necessarily come from the extras that dig into your profits. Create customer loyalty by:
a)Double Understanding - understanding the customer's request and how they like to be treated. People do business with those they "like" and trust.

Here are two posts that relate to this:
http://katenasser.com/best-csr-adapts-to-personality-type-for-a-customer-service/

http://katenasser.com/the-best-csrs-get-inter-cultural-training-canada-usa/


b)Changing ahead of your customers - to keep your customers coming back, remember to learn about their future needs before those needs are present. If you can always anticipate their needs and you treat them well -- they will be loyal.

c)Integrity - stand behind your products and services and "with" your customers.

d)Great service recovery skills. A COO once told me, "Kate we judge vendors based on how they handle their mistakes. Nothing will ever be perfect but we want to make sure they recover fast and well."

I will RT your post on Twitter. The topic of Exceptional Service - Exceptional Profit" is one that many need to reconsider and implement.
Best wishes,
Kate Nasser

 

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