This post is the second in a series that will fully explore the definition of customer service offered in an earlier blog post.
Too often, customer service is viewed as a department, a designated employee's job role or, someone else's responsibility. Because of this limited view of customer service, many employees are content to simply execute a series of mandatory job functions until the end of their shifts-blissfully unaware of the myriad opportunities forfeited to make lasting positive impressions on their customers.
To expand on this narrow definition of customer service, I'd like to submit my own definition for consideration: Customer service is a voluntary act that demonstrates a genuine desire to satisfy, if not delight, a customer.
The second element contained in this definition that we'll explore further is the active quality of exceptional customer service.
Service is a verb. As such, it requires action. Without initiative, one's readiness and ability to initiate action, there is no exceptional customer service.
It's the difference between a retail clerk who, after completing a transaction, offers the ubiquitous industry farewell, "Your receipt's in the bag" compared to an engaged clerk who notices (verb) the customer's well-mannered children and offers (verb) a sincere and specific compliment about their behavior.
Both noticing the children's behavior and choosing to compliment it require the clerk to be an active participant in an exchange rather than a passive observer of a transaction. It requires that the clerk view service as a verb, exercise initiative in the moment of choice, and take deliberate action to create a lasting positive impression.
And knowing this truth about exceptional customer service provides the second piece to an elusive 7-piece puzzle that, when assembled, provides employees with a very clear image of what exceptional customer service is and what's required of them to consistently deliver it.
About the author
Steve has 20 years of experience between hotel operations, sales and marketing, training and development, and customer service roles working for Marriott International, one of the premiere customer-focused companies in the world.