Last week, I told you about three conferences that I thought were worth your time and attention (and my readers added a few more in the comments section!). One of the conferences I mentioned was the Secret Service Summit.
I had a chance to run some questions by the event's founder, John DiJulius. I think you'll find his take thought-provoking.
Drew: Why do so few companies truly offer exceptional customer service?
John: The view customer service as an expense rather than an asset, yet in down economies, the only businesses surviving with long term sustainability are the ones that focus on making the customer experience their competitive advantage. A company’s strongest asset in any economy is customer loyalty.
Drew: What are the top 10 obstacles to providing great customer service?
- Lack of service aptitude.
- Decline in people skills.
- Inability in connecting employees’ jobs and their importance to success of the company.
- Poor hiring standards.
- Lack of experiential training.
- Not letting employees have input on systems.
- Failure to implement and execute consistently.
- Lack of a strong employee culture.
- Lack of measurements and accountability.
- Focus on artificial growth.
Drew: Some suggest that you either have the customer service gene or not. Can it be taught and if so, what are the keys to successfully teaching it?
John: I disagree, most people have low service aptitude when they enter the world of business, because service aptitude is based on one’s life experiences & previous work experiences.
Front line employees do not make enough to drive Mercedes Benz, fly first class, or stay at five star hotels, yet leaders expect those same people to provide a world class experience. They do not have clue what truly world class is.
Service Aptitude: A person’s ability to recognize opportunities to exceed customer’s expectations, regardless of the circumstances.
It is companies & managers responsibility to elevate and dictate new and existing employees Service Aptitude through soft skill training and constant awareness to what world class looks like.
Drew: What do you find to be most surprising when you think about incredible customer service?
John: When someone anticipates your needs before you are even aware of it and when someone handles a challenge even when it is not their fault.
Drew: How will someone be different after they attend the Secret Service Summit?
John: The Secret Service Summit is about creating a customer service revolution, which is; A radical overthrow of conventional business mentality designed to transform what employees and customers experience. This shift produces a culture that permeates into people’s personal lives, at home and in the community, which in turn provides the business with higher sales, morale and brand loyalty– making price irrelevant.
So what do you think? Is he right? Do you think everyone can be taught how to deliver exceptional customer service or is there an innate gift that makes some people remarkable and others just passable?