After spending hundreds or thousands of dollars, with long involved books, seminars, and workshops that question can be rarely answered in a sentence or 2 which can be a problem. But Customer Oriented Quality Service (COQS) can be broken into just six words:
EXCEEDING the EXPECTATIONS of your Customers
Then the question arises from employees who will ask, and not managers who want you to think they understood all of the gobbledygook… “How do we actually do that? It’s hard enough just to meet our customer expectations, much less exceed them!” Again, just a few words can help us to clarify how to easily, effectively, & efficiently do it.
Simply put, in easily understood words, COQS Means Doing it right the first time. Doing it right with the attitude of whatever it takes to get it done, right. Then doing it tomorrow, next week, month, and year. In other words doing it right forever.
Yet again, the question arises how is this done? It’s really very simple to understand and say. The journey to COQS excellence is paved with bricks of continuous Customer Oriented improvement. Journey is the key word in that. The road never ends when seeking to serve the customer and make them the object of your attention in everything you do.
COQS, Service excellence, or whatever you want to call it cannot be thought of as simply a place we want to be at. If you take a trip for an interminable 24 hours through unfamiliar country, you would call it a journey. And that is what customer oriented service is all about. It’s an infinite journey and not a destination. And peeking into your mind, no it’s not that hard to be on an infinite journey towards perfection, which none of us will ever reach.
If you think in terms of just reaching your destination, you’ll never achieve it. Why you ask. Because once you get to where you think you want to be, then you will usually discover that something is amiss and you have to backtrack and, at the very least, re-evaluate everything you did after that misstep.
However, if you see it as a journey or a quest, then you will stop occasionally to see where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished and what you still need to do to continue your journey. And therefore if you do that you’ll be closer no matter where you start or stop to evaluate your progress. Because you are likely to see any missteps before you get too far along.
Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher made a statement that can be readily used in today’s business world. This quote is used regularly in articles, books, and other places when discussing customer service. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit”
The question then becomes; how do we know we are on the right path to providing COQS to our customers? Unless you devote some financial, and time, resources to the journey you never will. One way to do that and not spend unnecessary resources is to do a couple of very simple things.
- Covertly monitor the employee and customer interactions
- Develop a questionnaire.
Yes, questionnaires will cost some financial resources. But there are innumerable places on-line. A little note of caution though. You don’t want to make it more than a few questions long, less than 10.
Many people will consider COQS an overly nitpicky and detailed oriented operation. In fact it’s true; COQS is nitpicky and detail oriented. Because 99% of the time that is what the customer wants.
If you are nitpicky and detailed oriented with COQS, you will hopefully find all the little holes in the plan and repair or fill them before it adds to an issue the customer will have. It may not always work but that doesn’t mean you can’t try and make your plan perfect, is there?
You will never make everyone happy no matter what you do, “If half the people aren’t mad at you for something then you’re doing something wrong”. Some customers will become upset at you. In order to save face after screaming at your employees they will simply go somewhere else. And there are those customers that will migrate to a different company for a shiny new bauble, discount, or incentive. For these customers learn to let them go.
The key in COQS is doing everything you can possibly do to satisfy your customers. No matter what it may be, as long as it’s not unethical, illegal, or immoral. You will be surprised at the satisfaction the customer has when they realize you went above and beyond just for them, even if you would do it for any customer just doesn’t matter at that point.
(This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Customer Oriented Quality Service: The COQS Method, It is due out spring 2017)
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I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear