John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


What Is Secret Service and Why Is It Secret?
January 11, 2012, 6:55 am
Filed under: Customer Experience, Customer Service, John DiJulius, Secret Service

The term Secret Service and what it represents has evolved and today, Secret Service is no longer just a book title or a term but a concept, a strategy that thousands of businesses incorporate as their value proposition, to differentiate themselves from their competitors and make superior customer service their point of difference.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the definition of the Secret Service that operates under the government, and I was shocked at how its definition is so very similar to the customer service version:

Secret Service: Governmental service of a secret nature charged chiefly with the protection of the president, responsible for the collection, analysis, and appropriate dissemination of intelligence.

Absolutely nothing to do with my version of Secret Service, as it relates to customer service, right? Actually, by substituting just three words, it fits my meaning of Secret Service perfectly:

Secret Service: Customer service of a secret nature charged chiefly with the protection of the brand, responsible for the collection, analysis, and appropriate dissemination of customer intelligence.

Secret Service uses hidden systems to deliver unforgettable customer service. These systems obtain customer intelligence and utilize it to personalize the customer’s experience, leaving the customer to ask themselves:

  1. “How’d they do that?”
  2. “How’d they know that?”

Secret Service employs behind-the-scenes systems that employees use to anticipate and deliver on the unexpressed needs of the customer, by using a system of silent cues, visual triggers, and visual aids.

Customer intelligence is customer data (i.e., buying habits, purchasing history, referrals, personal preferences, where they live, or work) that fuels secret service.

Secret Service systems allow the front-line employees, of your organization to consistently create a memorable experience through:

  • Engaging the customer.
  • Personalizing their experience.
  • Remembering their preferences.
  • Distinguishing between new, returning, and VIP customers.
  • Anticipating and delivering on their unexpressed needs.

As a result of providing Secret Service, companies:

  • Create stronger relationships with their customers.
  • Build emotional capital and brand equity with their customers.
  • Turn their customers into brand evangelists.
  • Make price less relevant to their customers.

To effectively deliver Secret Service, your employees need to act as detectives by collecting customer intelligence and then using silent cues that alert their coworkers and allow them to personalize the customer’s experience.

It should be more obvious now why it is called Secret Service, it has:

  • Hidden systems
  • Customer intelligence
  • Silent cues
  • Visual triggers
  • Detectives

After seeing a few examples of Secret Service actions, you will quickly realize why it can make your company a world-class (secret) service organization.

Secret Service systems should not add cost or complexity to your organization. Secret Service systems are what we call low-hanging fruit; they must meet the following criteria:

  1.   Low or no cost;
  2.   Simple to execute consistently; and
  3.   Make an immediate impact on the customer.

Secret Service systems is where a restaurant kept preprinted labels of their top VIP customers. Anytime they came in, their favorite bottle of wine would be waiting for them at their table, with a label on it that read: “From the Private Stock of Tom Smith.”

By executing Secret Service consistently, it is possible for your organization to make price irrelevant: Based on the experience your customers consistently receive, they have no idea what your competition charges.

Secret Service is a strategy that thousands of businesses incorporate today as their value proposition, differentiating themselves from their competitors and making superior customer service their point of difference.

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1 Comment

[…] What Is Secret Service and Why Is It Secret? – Breaks down the ideas behind hidden systems that are outline more fully in DiJulius’ excellent book Secret Service. […]

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