When we focus on creating exceptional value for our customers, it is natural to evaluate ourselves and our organizations. We ask, “what value can I provide to my customers that is distinguishable from those around me? While self-evaluation is certainly a necessity when seeking to create exceptional customer service, it focuses our attention away from the most important people – the customers. When this happens, we may discover that we are no longer developing our operations to exceed customer expectations, but merely to exceed our own prior efficiency.
We may focus all our attention on processes, operations, and systems that have been in place for many years. Perhaps these systems have been revisited and revised many times in an ongoing effort to improve our operations and, consequently, our customer experience. We reach a point in our pursuit of advancement where the focus shifts from being customer-centered to being process-centered. We must avoid the pitfall of seeking to improve and optimize our systems without first evaluating whether those systems still support our customers’ needs.
It is understandable that we would seek to improve our service by focusing on ourselves. After all, we have a high degree of control over our own actions, behaviors, and processes. Our customers – not so much. At its core, however, customer service is about meeting and exceeding customer expectations. In order to meet this objective, we must first have a strong understanding of what those expectations are.
When we ask ourselves, “what are my customer’s expectations” we place ourselves firmly in their shoes. We allow ourselves the opportunity to view our own operations as if from outside eyes. This is the first step towards creating a lasting impact on customer experience.
How do you identify and define the expectations of your customers? Do you ever find your organization’s focus shifting towards processes at the expense of the customers? Leave a comment below!