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Can we stop talking about exceeding customer expectations please? Please?

I can’t figure out why a business would want to aim for going beyond if it can’t even make it to a minimum service delivery threshold.

Many businesses fall prey to the temptation to adopt and spew buzz words and phrases without studying the implications of the declarations.

A good idea would be to ask “are we there yet?” and wait for the answer before adopting buzzy words, wholesale.

The businesses that are really serious about delivering amazing customer experiences, go about doing so in a quietly systematic way. They shout when they’re there!!

Delivering an amazing customer experience is the highest order of existence for a business. It is the gift that is given to the customer in exchange for being selected as the recipient of the customer’s largesse.

It doesn’t matter if the largesse comes in the form of one dollar or one thousand dollars.

How do businesses become amazing?

Do their growing fortune levels prompt their leaders to drive the businesses to be special, or is it that amazing leaders with superb vision, push businesses with low level potential, to levels of amazement?

The jury may be out on this one, but I believe that amazing businesses would have been driven to their level of amazement by amazing leaders.

This, of course, begs the question of whether there is a dearth of amazing leaders, given that so few businesses deliver superb customer experiences.

My answer to this delicate question would be yes, amazing leaders are not frequently occurring.

Building a business that is a monument to amazing service is no easy feat.

Let’s take a look at some of the drivers.

“Values-In-Action” is one driver. That’s when values cease to become mere adornments on the walls and become the rules of engagement in the employee community.

In amazing businesses, employees display the values of team working, respect, empathy, fair play and pulling one’s weight when interacting with each other. Gossip is not tolerated and throwing one’s colleague under the bus is unthinkable.

Team members have graduated to being team mates and feel comfortable raising the thorny issues with each other.

Meaningful work is another driver. Today’s employee is not like the employee of yesteryear.

Repetitive work is mind numbing and does not challenge the modern day employee to deliver his or her best work.

A growing practice in forward-thinking businesses, lies in their effort to recognise the diversity of human nature and human interests.

These businesses have made inclusion and diversity priority values, with representation at the C-suite level to ensure that there is a voice at the highest level of influence.

Timeliness is one of my favourite drivers, so I’ll spend a little extra time on this one.

Whenever I come across an amazing business, I make a small bet with myself, even before I investigate, that the culture revolves around the practice of immediacy and urgency, a combination that influences winning with customers.

This duet, when they work in tandem, enables a business to meet its customers’ expectations of responsiveness and promise keeping.

As a Caribbean Service Evangelist, I interact quite a bit with a wide range of businesses. One of the first tell-tale signs that I use as a marker for predicting the level of service quality with any business, is, believe it or not, the way in which that business interacts with time.

Another big marker for me is if meetings start on time and if those meetings are managed effectively.

With businesses, I have found an unmistakeable correlation between their respect for time on an everyday basis, their prevailing sense of urgency and their success with customer experience.

Now, you know that in the Caribbean, our relationship with time is, at best, spotty. So when I interact with a business where time is respected,

I feel blessed and I smile whenever I think of going to a meeting at that location.

Quick question. What would it take for your business to begin all meetings on time and to sustain this as a standard practice?

Pandemic or no pandemic, amazing businesses outcompete their competitors in the areas of customer empathy and customer engagement, consistently.

Whilst many businesses focus their strategies around sales, advertising and promotions, amazing businesses focus their efforts on nurturing the practices of extra care, extra goodwill and extra urgency, (three inflection points that have come in handy during the pandemic, by the way).

Amazing businesses start with a genuine obsession with the question “how can we remove all barriers to delivering an amazing experience for our customers?”

This sets the stage for the crafting of an experience that shows customers just how much the business cares.

Complaints are eliminated, wait time is minimised, customers are educated, transactions are personalised and needs are anticipated at every step along the customer journey.

What all of this means in customer experience “speak”, is that thoughtfulness for customer happiness is on show….and so is the humanity of the business.