Is customer satisfaction good enough?

The challenge for the 21st century is not just serving customers, it's...

  • understanding customers
  • being prepared to serve customers
  • helping an angry customer
  • listening to customers
  • being responsible for your actions
  • living up to you commitments
  • being memorable
  • surprising customers
  • striving to keep customers for life and getting regular referrals

In his best selling book, "Customer Satisfaction is Useless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless" Jeffrey Gitomer explains how, in every customer interaction, either in person or on the telephone, you have an opportunity and a choice. Are you creating frequent, lasting, memorable impressions or are you treating the customer just like the rest of your competitors.

The funeral and cemetery profession has long understood that exceptional customer service is the foundation of long term success. We understand and appreciate its importance, especially in the situations that we are dealing with. But what separates us from the competition in our marketplace? Do we treat every customer in such a memorable way that when the transaction is complete, they tell someone else how great it was?

Let's examine some of the key principles of customer service success.

  1. Your customer is your paycheck. Remember, your salary is decided upon by the management of your company, but ultimately, by the way in which every front line person serves the customers
  2. Your attitude determines the degree of excellence of service you perform. It's up to you every morning when you get up and go to work to make a decision, you, and only you, choose your attitude
  3. The value of a customer exceeds the value of the contact signed. Every customer has the ability to lead you to others and the only way that this is going to happen is by making that we go the extra mile
  4. Customer satisfaction is worthless. Once we understand that simply satisfying a customer is no longer the acceptable measurement of customer service success, we can begin do provide added value to our families
  5. Once the transaction is complete, that is when the customer starts talking to others as follows...
    • 3 if you do a good job
    • 10 if you do a great job
    • 25 if you do a bad job
    • 50 if you get into an argument
    • and if the argument develops into a fight, and your lawyers get involved, you will be on the 6pm local news
  6. Word of mouth advertising trumps mainstream ads. As much as a solid ad campaign can increase business and generate new leads, a referral carries more weight
  7. Company policy is written in terms of the company, not the customer. The best way to handle a situation revolving around company policy is to say, "in order to be fair to everyone"
  8. Service is a feeling. As in sales, feelings and emotions are much more powerful and memorable than logic and reason. That's why more families pre-plan to alleviate the burden from the children or spouse than to save money
  9. The customer's perception of good or bad service is the measure of your success or failure. Whether or not we are right or wrong are not as relevant as what the customer thinks

The Secret Service Success Formula...

  • Be friendly first
  • Attitude precedes service
  • Your first words set the tone
  • There are twelve elements that make great service possible:
  1. Establishing and maintaining a positive attitude
  2. Establishing and achieving goals
  3. Understanding yourself, your co-workers, and your customers
  4. Having pride in yourself, your company, and what you do
  5. Taking responsibility for your actions, what happens to you, and the success of your company
  6. Listening with the intent to understand
  7. Communicating to be understood
  8. Embracing change as a natural progression of things and of life
  9. Establishing, building, and maintaining relationships
  10. Gaining the ability to make effective decisions
  11. Learning to serve others in a memorable way
  12. Working as a team to make everyone more productive

Most people fail to realize that the daily interactions with customers can be turned into loyalty building actions with a little creativity and a willingness to step outside the zone of comfort.