Personal Service with a Brilliant Touch

We have often heard that customer service is really common sense. However, brilliant customer service isn’t always common. In fact, as emotional beings, we tend to remember uncommon, unique, and unquestionably exquisite experiences that take our breath away. It is these rare occasions that become locked in our minds. This is how word of mouth spreads like wildfire, and a hidden gem becomes an overnight sensation. The brands that come to mind are Zappos, Pinkberry, and Grand Del Mar Resort. Poor, inconsistent, sloppy service also sends a message that we don’t care about you, and it really doesn’t matter if you return or not. We have enough business to keep us going. That is the attitude that I sense from some organizations that refuse to shift.

Meanwhile, the hungry, aggressive, take-no-prisoners types of businesses are investing in their people first and their product second. In fact, many businesses are looking to Mobile Business Academy to provide learning bursts of knowledge that build their skills.

Recently, I was in the City of Angels - Los Angeles, CA - speaking at a convention and asked a person who worked in the venue a question. He looked me in the eye and said: “I don’t know.” Wow, what an angelic response. It was already bad, but quickly slid downhill when he said, “I am with a third-party company, and that is not our job.” I made a mental note not to use his company in the future.

Across town at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, I had the opposite experience. I was finishing a meeting with a prospective client when I asked the waiter for the bill. He said, “Would you like for me to call valet and have your car brought around?” I looked at him stunned, like a deer in the headlights. Now, that’s personal service with a brilliant touch.

A friend was sharing with me that she had done business with a company and when she called to address disappointment with a service outcome, the person who received the complaint passed the buck like a hot potato. The company representative never took ownership of the problem, and it became a withdrawal from the emotional bank account of my friend. Subsequently, she decided to never deal with this company again because of one individual who was too busy saving their job, protecting their turf, and being a busybody instead of an effective body. Unfortunately for them, my friend has been embraced by the competition who believes whoever hears the problem, owns the problem.

Personal Service with a Brilliant Touch comes down to these five insights:

People – Hire for attitude and teach for success. Teaching doesn’t fix what Human Resources doesn’t catch. Create an employee orientation that plants the microchip in the mind of every employee that represents your brand. When I worked at Disney, it was two days of drinking the Disney Kool-Aid and breathing the pixie dust. I have been gone from the mouse house for almost ten years, and I still have residue of magic in my veins.

Product – What problem is your product or service solving? What solution is your product providing to the end-user? Does everyone who needs to know it, “get it” and constantly hear it on a daily basis? According to Harvard, you have to hear something five to seven times before it sticks.

Process – Do you remember when you were dating your spouse? You did whatever you had to do to capture their attention. If it meant fine dining, vintage wine, long walks in the park, and hours of conversation, you did it. Yes, it was a process, but you knew that there was a payoff in the end. Well, somewhere along the way you stopped doing what caught them the first time. By now, you know where this is leading – whatever you did to catch them, you have to do to keep them.

Price – If you are just selling a product or service, then you are competing on price. However, if you can demonstrate your value-add, then does the price really matter? For instance, I pay on average $11.50 for a burger at Five Guys Burger and Fries, which is a treat four times a year as compared to $6 or $7 at other fast food restaurants. Why? It’s that extra scoop of fries that gets me every time. Don’t tell my doctor about my addiction to french fries. This can be our secret.

Praise – What gets recognized gets repeated! Whenever I frequent Bonefish Grill, which (if I am lucky) is once every six or nine months, I am greeted by Sue, a server who calls me by name. When I receive my check, my waiter has hand-written a little thank you. Wow, what a brilliant touch. What can you do in your business to add a signature touch?

Personal service with a brilliant touch is leaving an imprint on the heart and mind of every customer. Personal service with a brilliant touch is an attitude to exceed expectations and is standard operating procedure. Personal service with a brilliant touch is a way of life instead of the flavor of the month or quarter.

Welcome to the new normal where personal service with a brilliant touch is your point of differentiation.