Customer & Service excellence


How does one build and maintain Service Excellence into their organisations? I wondered after a series of unfortunate customer service experiences from significant brands, please see my previous posts.

Service Excellence has to be part of the DNA of the organisation, the leadership team and everyone within the organisation. But first of all what is Service Excellence?

Service Excellence is when you exceed the expectations of customers, your existing or potential new customers! You meet the customer’s needs, wants and expectations. It is when you make someone feel like they received more than they expected when you went above and beyond what is the norm, or what the usual level of service is today. So given its pretty low these days, if you go above the norm then you are winning. That little bit of extra effort, makes the customer feel important. That is what may cause the customer return, or give a good review or tell a friend/s.

What is that extra little effort I wondered? So I think it includes to be;

  • Friendly
  • Kind
  • Thoughtful
  • Helpful
  • Be willing to help, listen and understand

And much more, it’s all that positive stuff we sometimes experience once in a while.

I was at a hotel recently, as I travel a lot for work. It was a pretty upmarket hotel, beautiful architecture, rooms well thought out, efficient space and simple design. I went to their restaurant/bar as I flew in late. Wow, just wow, the staff walked around as if “it was a privilege for you to be in their restaurant” they were just too cool for school, full of attitude and the worst customer service ever. It’s not the first time for me there either. But every time it’s the same. I don’t usually tip here because I seat myself, I place my order at the counter because if you waited for the staff, well let’s just say you’d be waiting a very long time. I pay for the order immediately that I have placed. I take my beverage with me and wait for the food. So I probably should tip myself?

So what are the skills or traits required for excellent customer service?

Our previous article on good customer service titled “Are you being served?” Highlighted some skills that are important to delivering good customer service from;

  1. Communication skills,
  2. Active listening,
  3. Information processing skills,
  4. Paying attention,
  5. Listening to tonal queues,
  6. Emotional responses and;
  7. Treating customers and staff with respect

So what is Service Excellence then? Well, it’s all of the seven items listed above and more. Here are some critical capabilities that makeup Service Excellence;

  • Crystal Clear Communications; ensuring the use of ambiguous words are not used, responses are never vague. You need to convey exactly what you mean, dancing around any issues is not helpful. Use clear, concise language and very your customer has understood too.
  • Adaptable attitude; because everyone is different and at times, we all change every so often. Because of a bad day at work, or you’ve received bad news. Everyone customer is different and unique; we need to be agile and adaptable to their needs especially our returning/repeat customers.
  • Knowledge; well-trained staff that have access to information, good training that equips them to do the job well. Data, information, training, experience, coaching and mentoring = knowledgeable staff. If your team know answers and can help your customers, you end up with happy customers. All they want is help, some questions answered or responses such as “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you” and find out and get back to them!
  • Soft skills: this is a must for service excellence as interpersonal skills are so crucial for service excellence. These are just some of those; Communication skills, Empathy, patience, assertiveness, listening skills, work ethic, teamwork, decision making, motivation, flexibility, influencing and much more.
  • Competencies; are qualities that are desirable to organisations, but show your capability, potential and current performance. SFIAv6 is matrix based and often use for competency assessment, what skills do we have within the organisation per person. Competencies that are useful for Service excellence are; behavioural competencies mentioned above in soft skills.
  • Core competencies: once again used by employers to determine your suitability to an organisation. Core Competencies range from People Management, Performance Management, Coaching & Mentoring, Team Building, Personal Development, leadership and more.

How do you work towards developing service excellence apart from the above? Check back with us for our next article. Have a great week! And as they say…..