Darrell Hardidge (pictured below) is the CEO of Saguity and has spent 20 years helping companies overhaul customer service measurement strategies. In this exclusive extract from his book, The 10 Commandments of Client Appreciation, Hardidge outlines the 10 commandments of achieving customer service excellence…
Define your WHY and make certain your team are clear and committed to it
Test them by randomly asking people. When they get it correct, praise them; when they don’t, have them review it with you to help ensure they understand.
- Have your CX journey mapped out and very clear to everyone
Your team must understand how everyone is responsible for CX in the company, and that the system is a matrix. Even if it’s not their job, it’s not OK to ignore a problem. They must take ownership and communicate the issue to the correct person. Remember, everything speaks. Every task travels the same road to the tip of the arrow and impacts on CX. This will help your team understand WHY you as a leader do what you do.
- The first 15 per cent process is critical for each touch point
Anywhere the focus on reducing variation is missing, you risk your CX process being less than optimal. This means you are heading towards the Price Trap. Make sure you test your processes and keep tuning for improvement. Every touchpoint needs a first15% test. No area can be left out.
- Master your CX bucket
How is the integrity of your bucket? Do you know or are you guessing for most of it? From our experience, most businesses are guessing until we define what their holes are and WHY. Anywhere you have leaks you are losing money and margin, and it’s always in the first 15 per cent of the process. Most importantly, you want to know WHY you have achieved 10/10 for client experiences so you know HOW to replicate them to maximise revenue and profits.
- Internal responsibility
This is the hardest of the mall because it’s all about your leadership and your people. The commitment to being above the line really takes 110 per cent responsibility. We are human and therefore we make ‘mis-takes’. It’s what we do about it that counts. It’s impossible to seal the leaks in your CX bucket if you have below-the-line behaviour. If it’s with a key department or manager, then that touchpoint is now at risk of letting down your CX process.
- You have to go ‘Beyond Expected’
It’s not OK to just deliver what your market wants because so will your competitors (at a minimum), and maybe they already are. If this is the case, then you must innovate value, and it must be focused on the heart drivers of appreciation. Going ‘Beyond Expected’ is hard work and can only be achieved with internal responsibility. However, when you do, the rewards are massive.
- Clear the fog
Sometimes companies are in the fog and they don’t even know it. They just think that it’s always like this. You must ensure your team know how to go ‘Beyond Expected’. It’s impossible to become relevant if you aren’t extraordinary. Doing what everyone else does will keep you irrelevant and price driven. Extreme loyalty can only be achieved when you are highly relevant to your market and the best way to find out is to ask them.
- Cultivate appreciation
Just think of the people in your life who you appreciate and consider how you feel about them. What would you do for those that you truly appreciate? How far beyond their expectation would you go? When you have reduced the variation in your CX process, you achieve appreciation from your clients. You will be their first and primary thought when it comes to your product or service. They will never be in a fog when trying to remember you. Your relevance is what sits at the front of their mind.
- Navigate the Price Trap
Many companies are stuck in the Price Trap and don’t have any idea why. Just giving what’s expected is the false belief that costs companies a fortune and keeps them competing on price. Look around your area and identify highly successful companies that stand out to you. Spend time studying them, and ask the manager/owner if they will give you a few moments to share their WHY with you. Look to what it is that defines their unique transformational experiences. What is it that separates them from their competition? Understand what things define high levels of value and what it is their market truly appreciates them for.
- Operate at 110%
The best of the best have an edge. They operate at a level of emotional intelligence that powerfully connects them with their market and guides their innovation. Their secret is information and understanding of their clients and their needs, both now and in the future. There is no guesswork. There is certainty. If you don’t have powerful KPIs that measure your CX process, along with the team’s accountability to deliver them, you will never achieve maximum client appreciation.
Never lose sight of the goal and never lose your purpose for achieving it. The 10 Commandments are your road map to service excellence and your ability to stake your claim in the marketplace.