Going Above and Beyond

I read an article today about companies going above and beyond with their customer service. Doing so is something I have talked about before (see search here), but not in much detail.

So what is going above and beyond (I usually call it going the extra mile)? To me, it is doing more than expected and wowing the customer that way. It is a great way to make the customer service experience go from acceptable to great and to make customers happy.  It’s very hard to teach someone how to go above and beyond and how often people do it varies a lot from person to person. However, there are some things you can do:

  • Make going above and beyond part of your company’s culture. Publish stories about going above and beyond, send feedback from customers in the employee newsletter or post it on the staff blog,  and make all of your employees aware of going above and beyond.
  • Give employees the power to do so. In companies where employees have very limited power or authority, it is very tough for them to go above and beyond all the time. Make policies flexible and try to live by a general rule (i. e. “Use your best judgment”) instead of a whole set of specific rules and regulations.
  • Recognize employees. When employees do go above and beyond, recognize them for it. Have an annual award ceremony where employees get prizes, mention them in the company newsletter, whatever it happens to be – make sure to recognize employees for going above and beyond.
  • Make it part of your company’s operating procedures. Remember the series on service calls? It had a lot of examples of going above and beyond being right in the company’s operating procedures. It is things like that that also encourage individual employees to go above and beyond.

A good way to see how you can go above and beyond is to map out the various processes of your business and/or a function of it (like ordering a product). Examine each process and ask yourself “How can we make this better?” Solicit help from customers, employees, friends, consultants, whoever and go through and ask “how can we make this better?” Don’t look only in your industry – look where people are delivering great customer service on a consistent basis.

Once you find out what you can make better, go ahead and start doing it. Then, you’ll notice more and more employees going the extra mile and more and more customers thinking your company’s customer service is great and not just acceptable.

Technorati tags: , , ,