It is now increasingly easy for a customer to dump one brand for another. Customer migration has never been so fast and spontaneous in the history of the world as it is today. Technology and abundance of options has made it so. The organization that takes the laws of legendary service serious need not fear this trend.
Sorry this came late. I will let you know the reason at the end of this. The laws of legendary service will help a business to position itself to make empowered customers. A customer can only depend on regulatory bodies and pressure groups these days to be an empowered customer. As a result, customers trust them to act on their behalf and ensure they get the support they deserve for their money. Imagine your customer starts seeing your organization the way it sees those regulatory bodies. Imagine the customer can actually trust you.
I met a lady that works in HR recently and told her that my firm has a recruiting agency that help organizations to source, acquire and develop talents. When I did, she said that she wish we met earlier because they just worked with a recruiting agency and that they had a very bad experience. She said that the service was “horrible”. She quickly added that the firm was not like that before and recounted the good experience she had with them before. She did not hesitate to mention the name of the firm openly.
Probing further, I discovered and told her that the contact she encountered before that gave her a very good treatment is an engaged staff (we had just finished a presentation on Staff Engagement by Adegoke Baiyere, the Group Head of Human Resources, Boulos Group). I told her that the ones that gave her bad service are not as engaged as they should be. [Staff engagement is another chapter on it’s own. I am sure there are large books on the subject. I will do some work on that somewhere next week].
What this means is that legendary service is one that every person in the organization must understand and participate in. If it is left to some people alone, different customers will have different non-predictable experiences with the organization. Customer migration will consequently increase. Legendary service must therefore be deployed with all its processes to the organization. It must be enshrined in the culture of the organization.
First Law of Legendary Service: EVERY customer is treated in a SPECIAL, EXTRAORDINARY way, based on his INDIVIDUALITY (and not some robotic predetermined behavioral pattern), at EVERYTIME.
Creating a system for every aspect of a business to ensure that processes are automated is very important. I am indeed an advocate for systems. But when it comes to interracting with the customer, automation MUST be secondary to the way every individual customer is treated. In order words, if the automation has to be interrupted to satisfy that one customer, so be it. Nigeria’s Spring Bank did well when they chose the slogan, The One Customer Bank. I do not know if they live up to it because I do not have an account with them. But that is the attitude we should all have towards our customers.
Second Law of Legendary Service: EVERY customer is served ON THE BEST TIME possible, WITHIN THEIR BUDGET and strictly ACCORDING TO THEIR SPECIFICATION(S).
Choosing who you want to serve in a market is very important. Many entrepreneurs like to “serve the general public” in a bid to make more money. But over the years, I have discovered that carving a particular segment of a market and concentrating on meeting the needs of customers in that segment will ultimately make more happy customers and consequently, more money in the long run. So ask yourself all the time, “who is my ideal customer?” Your ideal customer is the one you can serve as the second law of legendary service postulates.
Third Law of Legendary Service: Everybody within the organization makes it a point of duty to be of help to a customer in need whether or not they are the “person in charge.”
Imagine yourself sitting down in the reception hall of a firm. A staff comes to you and asks you “have you been attended to?” You say “yes someone is attending to me already.” Then after some time, someone else comes to you and says “Hello Mr. X, I have been told that your phone (for example) will be fully functional for use in around 25 minutes.” Then someone else notice that you are dozing off and offers you a cup of tea or coffee. Everyone who happens to pass the reception wants to ensure you are comfortable. Think about it. How will all these make you feel?
Fourth Law of Legendary Service: EVERYONE within the organization develops the mindset of ‘’if I don’t get this done, who will’’
Water has leaked on the floor from the water dispenser in the reception hall. The place is now looking messy because everyone is stepping on it as they move in and out of offices. I beckon on one of the staff members of the firm and ask her why nobody is doing something about the messy floor.
“The cleaner was sent on an errand and will be back soon,” she says.
“Seriously?” I say in disbelieve. “Is every one in this firm too big to use a mobbing stick?”
She excused herself and left. The other customers hissed in protest.
This is the scenario in many organizations.
In legendary service, we must all ask “if I don’t get this done, who will?” And then get right on it.
Fifth Law of Legendary Service: Those relating with the customer have excellent communication skills that would bring clarity to the customer and get clear feedback to the organization.
Many organizations still employ based on who is recommending a particular candidate. If the person is meant to have direct contact with customers, he had better have excellent communication skills. Many people make the mistake of attributing this skill to people who have a good command of English Language. Communication is beyond being able to speak English. So, you need to check the person’s interpersonal skills, especially his empathy. It has to be someone who KNOWS the customer.
We don’t have time and space to elaborate on communication skills right now.
Sixth Law of Legendary Service: EVERYONE within the organization has understood that the company exists because of the customer. And they behave thus.
The 4 basic stakeholders of a business include
- The shareholders
- The staff
- The suppliers (raw materials, etc) and
- The customer
The shareholders get dividends and the staff get remuneration. The suppliers get paid for their supplies. What is the role of the customer?
The customer brings the MONEY that pays
- The shareholders
- The staff
- The suppliers (raw materials, etc)
What does the customer get instead? Crappy service? No!!! He should get a service that can only emanate from the strict understanding that the business exists because of the customer.
Seventh Law of Legendary Service: EVERYONE takes it upon themselves to do something extra for the customer.
Going the extra mile for the customer is part of the culture that creates legendary service. A woman walks into a banking hall with a baby who needs too much attention. It is so bad that she cannot even fill the teller. Some dude is waiting by the corner with a drape on his shoulder. On the drape is written “How May I Help You?” That dude ought to be sacked for insensitivity and negligence of duty. He ought to go to that woman and help her to carry the baby while she fills her teller.
I witnessed another insensitive scenario a few years ago. A woman drove like crazy into the compound of a boutique that deals on clothes for pregnant women. As she was parking her grey SUV, the sales girl came out and began to lock the doors. The woman rushed down from the car and begged the lady to open. She had obviously driven a long distance to get there. You won’t believe what happened. The sales girl said she has closed, locked the shop and left the woman bewildered.
There’s this guy we buy rugs from. If you want him to make an isle rug for you, he goes out of his way to take the rug from Ikeja to around Obalende (if you live in Lagos, you understand the distance) to have the edges detreaded and sewn neatly. That’s legendary.
So, those are the 7 Laws of Legendary Service.
Note: I promised to publish this yesterday but couldn’t because I came down with fever. My doctor had to ban me from work with my laptop confiscated. I’m sorry about that. I will likely resume daily posting again on Wednesday.
I’d like to hear from you. What do you think about these laws of legendary service? Can you share your experience with us? Put it in the comment section below.