Service Excellence? What IS it?

I saw something on an electronic billboard somewhere in the heart of Singapore that went something like “…he still apologized for being 15 minutes late even though I had keyed in the wrong pickup address…” This was being touted as an example of Service Excellence! Now, I’ve never undergone any “Service Excellence” credentialing, so what I have to say here is not what you might have been led to expect.

Service excellence is NOT about “wow-ing” your customers no matter what. It is NOT about the customer is always right. It is NOT about “Going the Extra Mile for Service” or GEMS as it is known here in Singapore. These ideas have only driven up expectations of services and goods the wrong way, and caused prices to race for the bottom. Buyers need to be trained correctly so that they do not end up with unsustainable appetites for whatever is passed off as “Service Excellence”. So what IS Service Excellence, really? Simple. It’s basically “Do What You Said You Would Do”.

If you provide services, do your clients HAVE to use your services or are your services making their businesses better? Do they have no choice but to use you because that’s a legal requirement? Do you give the the bare-bones minimum or do you help them operate better and therefore make THEIR customers more successful? If you provide goods, are your goods good? Does your warranty mean anything, or do your customers have to endure mental gymnastics and confusing after-sales service procedures that you probably designed so as to ensure that no complaints make it through the first grumpy employee? Do you rectify problems that will restore the relationship and confidence in you, or do you try to “upsell” ad nauseum? DO what you SAID you would do!

By the way, Service Excellence is NOT Service Recovery. Service Recovery is what happens when your goods and services have FAILED to Do what YOU said you would do.

Is that simple enough for you? You don’t need to attend any “Service Excellence” courses to provide really great service. Remember – just Do what YOU said you would do!

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