John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

X Commandments for Providing a World-Class Customer Experience

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From years of studying and working with world-class customer service organizations, I have found that there are principles they all have in common that differentiate them from other organizations and elevate them to a different customer service level. These commandments of world-class service are irrefutable. There are not nine or eleven, there are ten. They do not change, or become obsolete. Just as important as the commandments themselves, is the order of the commandments, here, referred to as the Chain of Commandments. The commandments are arranged in the precise sequence necessary for an organization to provide a world-class customer experience. It is impossible for an organization to reach its optimum level of service attitude and customer satisfaction without proficiently executing each commandment.

I. Service Vision: A clear purpose of why the business exists.

First and foremost every organization that provides superior service has a strong Service Vision that creates a clear direction for everyone in that business—the true underlying purpose of what an organization brings to the community and why your customers buy from you that they ­couldn’t get elsewhere (Chapter 5).

You must start with a Service Vision before anything else can take shape in your organization. The Service Vision drives hiring, standards, training, leadership philosophies, and so on. Without the Service Vision, you are like a pilot without a flight plan. How will you know where you are headed?

II. Creating a World-Class Internal Culture: Attract, hire, and retain only the people who have the Service DNA.

Creating a world-class internal culture that only attracts, hires, and retains the people who are capable of upholding the Service Vision of the organization (Chapter 6).

Building your culture using your Service Vision to guide you will make or break the success of the following eight commandments.

III. Nonnegotiable Experiential Standards: Experience standards everyone must follow.

Have nonnegotiable experience standards for each stage of the organization’s customer experience cycle. These experiential standards allow employees to provide a consistent engaging experience that is unlike the majority of competitors. Employees must consistently execute each of these standards (Chapter 7).

Your Service Vision is clear and you are adding the people that truly share in that vision; now you have to create experiential standards that will allow that Service Vision to be of value to your customer.

IV. Secret Service Systems: Utilizing Customer intelligence to personalize their experience and engage and anticipate their needs.

Create Secret Service systems that easily enable front-line employees to personalize the customer’s experience by engaging them and anticipating and delivering on their needs (Chapter 8).

Having great standards is not enough, you now need to systemize those standards in order for them to be realistically delivered on a consistent basis.

V. Training to Provide a World-Class Customer Experience: Systems and processes that remove variation and provide a consistent customer experience.

Create an incredible training program for all new and existing employees consisting of soft-skill training that increases their service aptitude, giving them the knowledge and tools to provide a world-class customer experience (Chapter 9).

You have turned standards into systems, but who knows about them? It is critical to ensure every new employee gets trained on these standardized systems, otherwise the next generation of employees will dilute your Service Vision.

VI. Implementation and Execution: How to go from ideas on a paper to being consistently executed.

A solid process that allows the realistic implementation of the customer service initiatives and systems that are executed consistently by front-line employees (Chapter 10).

Without execution, systems in manuals are nothing more than ideas on paper. This is where most companies fail, the execution of these systems. The implementation and accountability for these standards and systems are every manager’s responsibility.

VII. Zero Risk: Anticipating your service defects and having protocols in place to make it right.

All employees must have full awareness of the potential common service defects that can arise at each stage of the customer experience cycle and be trained and empowered to provide great service recovery when defects arise, so your company is known to be zero risk to deal with (Chapter 11).

Everyone’s service aptitude appears strong when things are going smoothly, an employee’s or company’s true service aptitude is revealed when things don’t go as planned and service defects arise.

VIII. Creating an Above-and-Beyond Culture: Constant awareness and branding of how to be a hero.

Create an awareness of the most common opportunities where employees can really deliver heroic service for the customer that creates an above-and-beyond culture (Chapter 12).

Are your employees empowered and inspired to exceed customer expectations? Do you have mechanisms in place to collect and re-
distribute above-and-beyond stories to constantly remind your
employees of the Service Vision?

IX. Measuring Your Customer’s Experience: What gets measured gets managed.

Use a scientific method to measure your customer’s experience and satisfaction, providing benchmarks for performance in each location/
department (Chapter 13).

Your goals must be measurable, tied to a specific metric that lets you measure: how satisfied your customers are with you, who is clearly doing it, who is inconsistent, are you keeping your Service Brand Promise to your customers, how effective your service recovery is, and how do you stack up against your competition.

X. World-Class Leadership: Walking the talk.

Every world-class customer service organization is world-class to work for. It takes world-class leadership to provide the passion, inspiration, and discipline to all employees (Chapter 14).

While this is the final commandment, it is the most important, having the most impact and responsibility for the success of all 10.

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