Books are invaluable. Once again, I was listening to an audiobook on one of my favorite free apps the “Libby App“. The latest book on my audiobook shelf is The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. In one of the first chapters of the book, the author discusses the difference between a finite game and an infinite game.
Finite games the authors states are games that have an endpoint (sports); while infinite games (politics or business) do not have endpoints, the game continues to be played with or without your presence.
In business, we dub the “cream of the crop” as organizations that have solid foundations in which the structure of the business allows the company to be relevant through both transitions in leadership, times of adversity, and shifts in market supply and/or demand. These businesses remain solvent even during the lean years. Lastly, these organizations in my opinion display a confident “agility to adapt” to customer demand and market variances.
Ultimately the “cream of the crop” have many attributes, but for brevity, these are some of their characteristics:
- The end user receives a product free of defect
- The product is made with quality and the product is priced to sell
- Customers receive satisfactory customer service, that ensures their return and lifetime usage of the product.
The third point is the glue. You can make and/or create a great product, but if that product is on the backend of “shotty” customer service — the service will overshadow the product.
Could you imagine going to a restaurant with a great chef, that has a five star menu but once you get there — the hostess berates you prior to finding you a table to sit?
All great companies have workflow diagrams to maintain consistency in their products. Customer service should not be any different. demands a workflow
Example: Workflow diagram for customer service at Point of Sale
Greeting the customer (upon entry into your establishment)–> asking the customer how you may assist them –> understanding your products and their needs (cost of each product to quickly and effectively answer their questions) –> completing the transaction in a timely manner –> making eye contact with the customer and thanking the customer for giving you the opportunity to serve their needs
As with all things, there are breakdowns in communication. There can be a misunderstanding or miscommunication with the customer on what is an appropriate expectation/outcome for the requested service. Many things go wrong in a given day, and sometimes these breakdowns lead to bad reviews, negative feedback, and customers that will berate you. But we must always remember that customer service is an “infinite game”. The bad reviews can be painful, but they can open the managers eyes to how to more effectively manage, lead, and understand organizational missteps & shortcomings.
We build trust daily with our clients. Each day, each month, each year you must continue to fight to earn your customers business. There will be times in which your service may be less than optimal, but during those moments — make sure that your customers know how to contact you, so that they can quickly inform you of the given issue. Hopefully you will be able to provide them with a reasonable resolution.
More often than not, I’ve found that many customers simply want to be heard. It is important during these tense moments that you listen with intent. Ultimately, the customer is helping you if the feedback is constructive. If you can take that feedback and change appropriately, you too can become the “cream of the crop”.