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Outstanding Customer Service From Catastrophe
Author: Eric Camulli
Friday, November 6, 2015

How can your business get a reputation for outstanding customer service? First, things need to go terribly wrong. In fact, you have to screw up pretty badly, make a few awful mistakes and as a result, have some really upset customers. With all this said, it truly begs the question…do you really want a reputation for outstanding customer service?

The Right Attitude
There's a reason why great service is so hard to find. It's because very few companies have the right attitude about the aforementioned customer service troubles. Most leadership teams, or even small business owners who are passionate about their craft, view customer service as a cost center and a necessary evil. However, outstanding customer service is born out of business catastrophe and when disaster strikes, you should be viewing it as a tremendous business building opportunity. 
 
To illustrate this in the extreme, think of firemen and EMT workers who run toward danger to save people while others run away. These individuals possess amazing courage, grittiness and a special kind of empathy for others. In fact, passionate customer service professionals share similar traits. Their attitude is to willingly field angry phone calls and emails from customers because they care deeply about helping them. Put simply, great customer service representatives gladly do some of the most difficult and important work there is to do in business and they do it because in their hearts they are called to it.  
 
Mistakes happen and customers know this. But what allows your company to develop a reputation for outstanding customer service is how you respond to the customer uproar. Customers want to forgive, and they will, based upon your positive attitude, sacrifice and fair minded approach.  

When you go above and beyond to show how much your business cares, even take a financial hit for it, your customers will recognize your sacrifice and reward you with their long term loyalty. They will tell stories about how you rose to the occasion, accepted responsibility and did not cringe from the spotlight. In turn, your heroic actions strengthen your brand and this attracts new customers who want to do business with a company, like yours, that demonstrates how much it cares.

Everyone Can Have Great Customer Service
Outstanding customer service can separate you from your competitors, but only if you have the right team with the right attitude and policies. While the natural reaction is to express dread and disgust at situations that have negatively impacted customers, you must quickly move past these emotions and on to hope and optimism about serving and solving issues. Instead of hiding from mistakes, view them as opportunities to strengthen your relationships with your customers through the honesty and integrity you exhibit. The trust you build as a result will translate into loyal, lifelong customers.

The Right Policies
Finding the right people with the right attitude is only half of the equation, however. Your business must also have the right policies in place, along with guiding principles for dealing with difficult customer service situations. Without this framework, your customer service delivery will be disjointed and inconsistent. Your staff, no matter how talented, will grow frustrated because they are not empowered to serve and assist within responsible limits.  

This responsibility is taken very seriously and herein lies the art of amazing customer service. Great customer service teams are accountable for striking a balance between delivering exceptional service and executing company policy, using the context of every situation to devise creative customer service solutions and make intelligent customer service decisions.



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