Customer Service Excellence – What Does Going the Extra Mile Really Mean? by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPPC

Every customer service organization likes to say they go the extra mile for their customers. What that really means, however, varies widely from organization to organization. Some companies are convinced that simply returning a customer’s phone call in a timely manner makes them a great customer service provider. Here are some tips to really ensure your company goes the extra mile.

  1. Be proactive. Many companies are too reactive about customer needs. An example of this is waiting for a customer to call in to complain about a jump in their bill. A great customer service organization calls the customer to inform them that there has been a change that increased their price. Not only does this give the customer a much needed “heads up” but it also reduces your workload in the long run. It is much easier to call a customer and explain the situation than it is to handle an angry customer who calls in. You can control the situation, including when you address it, when you are proactive. When you are reactive, the situation and the timing of it control you. Making these proactive calls also allows you to touch base regularly with your customers to see if there are any other issues that should be addressed.
  1. Make it easy. The best customer service organizations don’t over complicate anything. They keep prices, packages and changes as simple and easy to understand as possible. They also do as much for the customer as possible, to make the experience pleasant.
  1. Make it friendly. Treat customers like they are your friends. Ensure that they enjoy talking to you. Many organizations believe that as long as their employees aren’t rude they are providing good customer service. Going the extra mile means being someone the customer looks forward to talking to.
  1. Make it consistent. Nobody really likes change. Customers, in particular, do not like it when things constantly change in the way they do business with your company. Keeping things as familiar and consistent as possible puts customers at ease. This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t fix broken processes or programs.

Following these four tips is not very difficult. However, it means a great deal to your customers. When you can provide service that goes the extra mile, you are ensuring your customers value the service you provide, and you ensure that customers will stay with you for the long haul.