About Expert
Latest Issue
Subscribe FREE
Search for Speakers
Trainers and Consultants

Article Archive
Resource Directory
Expert Infomercials

Send this article to others


ASTD
MPI

Exceed Expectations. . .

by Christine Corelli

We have all heard a great deal about how we must take the "Extra Step" to exceed customer expectations. Even though we've all heard this, it warrants reinforcement; exceeding customer expectations is more than just providing quality service. It is simply what we must do if we want customers to be loyal. Think for a moment about your auto mechanic, your tailor, or your favorite restaurant. Why are you a loyal customer? Is it because they provide fair pricing? Possibly. Is it because of their location?  Maybe.
Exceeding customer expectations is more than just providing quality service.

Is it the quality of their product? Probably. Is it because their service exceeds your expectations? Most definitely. Chances are you genuinely like them as people, trust their expertise, and know you can rely on them to respond to your individual needs.

Recently I purchased a spiffy new sports car. John, my salesman, had a laid-back selling style (rare for a car salesperson!) spoke with sincerity, and looked me in the eye as he spoke. He took his time (or more importantly, let me take my time) and answered all my questions patiently. He treated me with the utmost professionalism. Because I trusted him, I gave him the sale.

When I picked up the car the next day, he helped me remove my belongings from the glove compartment and the trunk of my old vehicle, (there sure was a lot of junk, I confess) and neatly transferred them into my new car. I most certainly did not expect that and he didn't have to do it. There were potential buyers in the showroom looking at the new cars. He could have been in a hurry to get me out of there but instead, he impressed me with his graciousness and made me feel important--a critical skill when dealing with any customer in any situation. A customer should always be treated as a VIP. He was extremely pleased that I had given him the sale, but equally important, everyone who worked there was gracious and efficient. 

After driving the new car only two weeks, I managed to put a nasty scratch on the back fender while lifting a heavy suitcase with metal wheels from the trunk. I was distraught that this happened to my new car, but decided to hold off doing the body repair until my 3000-mile check up. When I arrived at the dealer for my first routine servicing, I said to the service manager and the body shop manager, "Can you believe I put this nasty scratch on this beautiful new car so soon after buying it? I can't drive a brand new sports car with a big scratch on it. What's it going to cost me to have it refinished?" They looked at each other and the body shop manager said, "It's a shame this happened to you so soon after you bought it. Tell you what--this is your first service visit with us --this one's on the house."

Not only was I delighted, I was thoroughly impressed once again! I certainly didn't expect them to do the body repair for free. That's almost unheard of these days! But that wasn't all. Both the service manager and the body shop manager were genuine, gracious, and asked me several questions about how the car had been performing. When I told them that I was getting ready for a long road trip the service manager said, "Don't worry. We'll be sure your car is in top-notch condition before you hit the road." I felt really confident that they would, too.

I asked them how long it would take for the servicing and body repair, explaining that I had to get back to my office in a reasonable amount of time. They offered me a loaner car, but I told them I preferred to wait because it was a bit of a drive back to my office.  They brought me over to the general manager and arranged for me to use their conference room so I could work on my laptop and make business calls from their phone. Before I knew it, there was a knock on the door and someone brought me a pot of coffee!

Soon my car was brought up to the front of the dealership--clean, shiny and looking brand-new. The service manager opened the door for me and asked if I needed anything more. I was delighted.

Here's what matters the most not only to them, but to any organization who is striving for customer loyalty:  Did I tell others about their level of service? Yes!  Did I send customers to them?  Yes!  Have I gone back to them for servicing even though there's another dealer closer to my office? Yes!  Will I purchase from them again? Absolutely.  I am a loyal customer. Why? It's because I not only received superior service from John, the salesman, but everyone who worked there made me feel as if they cared about my satisfaction and went out of their way to please me. Quality customer service was demonstrated on a continuous basis.

That automobile dealer knows what it takes to build customer loyalty. They know that getting business is one thing, keeping it is another. That's true for any business.

How's the level of service in your company?  Your sales force needs to depend on everyone to provide quality service as a team and do everything possible to please the customer. Your company should have what I call a Sales/Service Excellence/Accountability Culture. 

Sales/Service Excellence/Accountability Culture

Sales culture. . .

  • Everyone who has customer contact is in sales regardless of their job rolls.

  • Individuals in all roles look for every opportunity to assist the company to get new business and do all they can to help the sales force.

Service Culture...

  • Everyone in the company is committed to exhibiting behaviors that help retain customers and breed customer loyalty.

  • People are committed to providing service excellence both within and outside the organization.

  • There is a sense of urgency to solve any service problems which may exist. 

  • Every effort to exceed customers expectations is made.

Accountability Culture. . .

  • Vital in today's economy and increases opportunity for business growth. 

  • People work together as a team with a shared vision for a common goal for the betterment of the organization.

  • Can be challenging for management to instill.

  • People take ownership for their role.

  • All must not only answer to management but to each other for their attitude and performance.

  • Management must clarify the issues where people are accountable.

  • Often requires confrontation and resolving conflict.

  • Fairness, integrity, dynamic leadership and caring must be consistently modeled by management.

I encourage you to consistently do your best. In the final analysis, the customer will be your judge, jury, or executioner. 

Christine Corelli is an international business speaker who speaks from EXPERIENCE, not textbook theory, and is the author of "Wake Up and Smell the Competition - They're Closer Than You Think"  - How to Compete and Win in Today's Real World" . For information on her speaking and training programs call 352-438-0261 [email protected]   www.ExpertSpeaker.com/Speakers/corelli.htm
                                                  ExpertMagazine.com


Send this article to others
Reader feedback
top of page

All articles & website Expert Magazine