I Know It When I See It – 7/28/15 TOW

“I know it when I see it.”

In 1964, a United States Supreme Court justice used these words to determine whether a movie was an “obscenity” or not. He couldn’t define an obscenity with words, but he concluded that this particularly movie couldn’t be accurately described using that word (or other words the plaintiffs were using…).

It’s 51 years later, and for some reason that quote applies to a lot in life. Some things are hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Believe it or not, mediocre customer service is one of those things. I’m not talking terrible customer service – that’s typically easier to note than great customer service, but I’m talking about the little things that differentiate the below average from the above average, that differentiate the predictably poor from the predictably good, that differentiate those that don’t care from those that do care.

There is no perfection in life. There is no perfection in serving customers, either. It is as much an art as a skill or an attitude. It’s not pure science, but there are examples of that better interaction that show you that the person or the company got it right in customer service:

  • When the employee greets you they either stand or remain seated.
  • They either smile or they frown.
  • Either their eyes are engaged with you or distracted.
  • Either they face you or they don’t.
  • They either say “I’d be happy to help” or “no problem.”
  • When you turn in information, they either respond “that’s perfect,” or they don’t respond at all.
  • They either say “I’ll call you back,” or they say “you call me back.”
  • They either apologize for the company’s error, or they avoid the apology.
  • They either thank you for your time and question, or they end the call in silence.
  • Either they ask you questions, or they wait for you to ask them questions.
  • They either go to you, or they wait for you to go to them.
  • They either confirm what you need, or they assume it.
  • They either confirm you got the need met, or they move on to something else.

These examples don’t necessarily illustrate the “WOW!” moment, but they illustrate the little things that create consistent excellence.

When it comes to the consistently positive customer service experience, the customer knows it when they see it.

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