In this post we are going to talk about customer service. In this age where the consumer rules, to stay ahead of the competition we need to provide an exceptional value proposition. Truly “WOWING” your customer leads to repeat business and warm referrals.

Building Exceptional Customer Service Skills

In the many award ceremonies I’ve attended for top sales performers, I’ve heard dozens of moving speeches acknowledging the support of leadership, the fulfillment of team collaboration, and the importance of positive morale and company culture. An even more striking common element in these speeches has been the heart and passion in these top performers’ words about their customers.

What really impressed me was that these people were baring their souls about the sheer satisfaction they receive when they exceed customer expectations.

Unifying your organization around the absolute value of WOWING the customer is essential, and as with all other principles we discuss, you must remember that the strategy is only as good as your discipline and rigor in implementing it.

This level of personal fulfillment is t he “holy grail” that awaits people you can successfully lead along the path to unfailingly putting customers first, and never settling for less than the exceptional when it comes to service. It’s up to you to do more than preach the gospel and set the strategy. Ongoing training will be indispensable in achieving the outstanding results you demand.

I would like to share a very compelling story that exemplifies WOWING the customer. I’ve told this story many times, and you may find the retelling meaningful for your people.

Pure Inspiration: The Wedding Story

A German man engaged a financial planner at an Australian bank to discuss the possibility of Australian investments. The meetings over two days went very well, resulting in a $500,000 investment. But that’s far from the end of the story…

Several weeks later, our financial planner, Diane, received a call from this same client, now back in Germany, who told her he wanted to get married. She first laughed and remarked on the suddenness of the proposal. The German gentleman quickly clarified that he and his intended bride wanted to have their wedding in Sydney around Christmas time. His request to Diane was: “Could you possibly arrange a celebrant, have the ceremony overlooking the harbor, and book a quiet restaurant with a harbor view for lunch on the 21st of December?”

What a request! Diane told her client she would make the effort and get back to him, marveling at the improbability of fulfilling all aspects of this request. Her first stroke of success was that, when she phoned for the celebrant, she not only agreed to perform the ceremony but her husband remarked, “If you’re treating customers this well, I’m going to look into bringing my investments back to your bank.” It turned out that the celebrant and her husband were former customers of this particular bank and branch.

Our planner was also successful booking a wedding setting in the beautiful Sydney Botanical Gardens, overlooking the spectacular Opera House and Harbor. But, as she had feared , it appeared impossible to book a quiet, appropriate restaurant for that time of year. Here, I was able to contribute to Diane’s delivery of the “WOW” factor: she spoke to me, and I arranged for the wedding lunch to be held in our corporate dining room, a magnificent setting on the 28th floor overlooking the Harbor, Sydney Harbor Bridge, and Opera House. We topped it all off with a wedding cake made by the bank chef, and the best Australian wine from our cellar.

This couple became loyal bank clients and advocates, investing a further $2 million-plus and referring numerous other clients from Germany to our bank. And the celebrant and her husband returned their more modest investments to the bank as well.

It’s a great practice to record the details of exceptional customer care stories like this one whenever you are fortunate to hear or experience them. Sharing them with your team is uplifting and shows what is possible with initiative and a true customer focus.

Your turn: Do you have an exception customer service story?

by Ken Wright