"You can buy a person's time; you can buy their physical presence at a given place; you can even buy a measured number of their skilled muscular motions per hour.
But you can not buy enthusiasm . . .
You can not buy loyalty . . .
You can not buy the devotion of hearts, minds, or souls.
You must earn these. "
"Sometimes one can become lost in a big company and lose sight of how what one does truly helps or impacts the end customer. If you are one of those, think of a fire brigade, a line of people passing buckets of water from one to the other from a source of water to the site of the fire. An individual in the brigade may not be able to see the end result, i.e. the water being thrown on the fire to put it out, but the contribution of the individual is indispensable to the final outcome."
"We are superior to the competition because we hire employees who work in an environment of belonging and purpose. We foster a climate where the employee can deliver what the customer wants. You cannot deliver what the customer wants by controlling the employee. "
"Employees who are controlled cannot respond caringly, you need superior knowledge and real leadership, not management. Because of this we specifically developed a selection process for leaders; we don't hire managers."
"There are many who subscribe to the convention that service is a business cost, but our data demonstrates that superior service is an investment that can help drive business growth. Investing in quality talent, and ensuring they have the skills, training and tools that enable them to empathize and actively listen to customers are central to providing consistently excellent service experiences."
"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so."
"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again."
"Never underestimate the power of the human element. Whether it's assisting a guest with a special request or a friendly greeting from staff members in the hallway, the people aspect plays a key role in guest satisfaction and loyalty."
Ramez Faza, Sr. Account Manager at J.D. Power and Associates
"Until you understand your customers - deeply and genuinely - you cannot truly serve them."
"The inherent preferences of organizations are clarity, certainty and perfection. The inherent nature of human relationships involves ambiguity, uncertainty, and imperfection. How one honors, balances, and integrates the needs of both is the real trick of feedback."
"Ritz Carlton Hotel has a policy that any employee can spend up to $2000 a day (without requiring any authorization from management) to solve the need or concern of any of their customers. On his way to Hawaii to deliver an important presentation, a businessman realized he had accidentally left his portable computer at a Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. His presentation was stored on the computer. He placed a frantic call to the hotel and was routed to housekeeping. They had found his computer. Please send by Federal Express, he requested. I absolutely need it tomorrow morning for my presentation. Imagine his surprise when Mary from housekeeping showed up in Hawaii early the next morning to hand deliver his computer. Mary was quoted as saying This was too important to trust FedX with, so I decided to deliver it myself!"
"When a customer complains, he is doing you a special favor; he is giving you another chance to serve him to his satisfaction. You will appreciate the importance of this opportunity when you consider that the customer's alternative option was to desert you for a competitor."
"Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face, and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business."
"While automation can be expedient, the resulting impersonal tone and risk of poor information are formidable — most importantly, merchants are missing an
opportune moment to connect with current and prospective customers."
"Customer service is not a department, it's everyone's job."
"Deep down, we believe that the problem put simply, is THEM. They, of course, believe WE are the problem."
"We will ensure that associates continue to possess unsurpassed product knowledge and maintain their dedication to customer service and respect for their colleagues and for the communities in which they work and live."
"Firms need to ensure that their ability to provide effective customer service keeps pace with their growth. If you're marketing your firm to new customers, you better be able to provide them service when they do business with you."
"Smart businesses should come to realize that the customer service bar is lower — and that today, it's easier than ever to differentiate your company from the pack with (crazy as it seems) actual quality customer service."
"Customers today want the very most and the very best for the very least amount of money, and on the best terms. Only the individuals and companies that provide absolutely excellent products and services at absolutely excellent prices will survive."
Brian Tracy, Author and Motivational Speaker
"Your company's most valuable asset is how it is known to customers."
"No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. "
"Giving excellent service is a must today. All successful businesses pay attention to customer service. And without your customers you have no business. The higher the level of satisfaction a customer has is one of the determining factors in the success of any business.
"The rise of the citizen review site is a sobering development. No longer are you on top of the mountain, blasting your marketing message down to the masses through your megaphone. All of a sudden, the masses are conversing with one another. If your service or product isn't any good, they'll out you."
"It's much harder to provide a great customer service than I would have ever realised. It's much more art than science in some of these other areas and not just about the facts but about how you are conveying them."
"If anybody ever called our number, it would be picked up in less than 2 rings with a friendly voice answering, "CD Baby." From 7 am to 10 pm, there was always somebody to pick up a call in 2 rings. No voice mail system; no routing to different departments. We treated our customers like our best friends. You don't route your best friend's call to an automated system!"
"Don Keough's (CEO Coca-Cola) 11 Rules on "HOW TO LOSE":
1. Stop taking risks
2. Be content
3. Never deviate from what the founder did
4. Be inflexible
5. Rely totally on research and experts
6. Concentrate on competitors instead of your customers
7. Put yourself - not the customer - first
8. Solve administrative concerns first
9. Let others do your thinking for example, headquarters
10. Rely on T-G-E: "That's Good Enough" and T-N-M-J: "That's Not My Job!"
11. Rationalize slow growth"
Donald Keough, Former CEO Coca-Cola Company
"Customers don't expect you to be perfect. They DO expect you to fix things when they go wrong."
"The value is going to get created in providing technology-enabled solutions for customers. And if it is the customer that matters most, instead of the technology, then I want to invest in customer obsessed companies, not technology obsessed companies. "
"Customers are a great way to finance a business for many reasons. First, customer financing is typically non dilutive. They want something from you other than equity in your business. Customers also help you fit your product to the market. And customers will help debug and improve the quality of the product."
"People want this level of engagement from the companies with which they do business — even the best of what formerly passed for good customer service is no longer enough. You have to be no less than a customer concierge, doing everything you can to make every one of your customers feel acknowledged, appreciated, and heard. You have to make them feel special, just like when your great-grandmother walked into Butcher Bob's shop or bought her new hat, and you need to make people who aren't your customers wish they were. Social media gives businesses the tools to do that for the first time in a scalable way."
"We're living in what I like to call the 'Thank You Economy,' because only the companies that can figure out how to mind their manners in a very old-fashioned way - and do it authentically - are going to have a prayer of competing."
"Anyone working for a big company might be skeptical that a large business, or even a strictly online business, can form the same kind of friendly, loyal relationship with customers as a local retailer. I'm saying it's already been done because I lived it."
"Eighty-five per cent of the crowd is going to fall in love with me - they're going to feel it, wow. But fifteen per cent are going to think, 'This guy is obnoxious.' I spend enormous time with them - every negative review of 'Crush It!' on Amazon has a response from me - and I can probably bring back ten of the fifteen."
"You don't need a big close, as many sales reps believe. You risk losing your customer when you save all the good stuff for the end. Keep the customer actively involved throughout yoru presentation, and watch your results improve. "
"Our mission statement about treating people with respect and dignity is not just words but a creed we live by every day. You can't expect your employees to exceed the expectations of your customers if you don't exceed the employees' expectations of management."
"Customers don't always know what they want. The decline in coffee-drinking was due to the fact that most of the coffee people bought was stale and they weren't enjoying it. Once they tasted ours and experienced what we call "the third place" ... a gathering place between home and work where they were treated with respect.. they found we were filling a need they didn't know they had."
"Friends and colleagues' endorsements, discussed in real life or through Twitter and Facebook updates, are more likely to drive sales than even a positive user review posted on a site like Yelp or Amazon (but those matter, too). "
"We have a training program that allows our reps to shadow every department within the company. This instills a big picture view of the company's process and gives that rep the knowledge they need to think though problems. This benefits our customers because they are interacting with reps that have a wide range of knowledge."
"Social media, and other cutting edge communications, have a place in any company's customer strategy, but the front-line of every company's service organization remains the telephone, and the customer service agent."
"Getting service right is more than just a nice to do; it's a must do. American consumers are willing to spend more with companies that provide outstanding service — ultimately, great service can drive sales and customer loyalty."
"When customers share their story, they're not just sharing pain points. They're actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues."
"In an era when companies see online support as a way to shield themselves from "costly" interactions with their customers, it's time to consider an entirely
different approach: building humancentric customer service through great people and clever technology. So, get to know your customers. Humanize them. Humanize yourself. It's worth it."
"It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers' shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship."
"There are three groups of people who determine whether or not customers do business with you: People with whom customers interact at your company, people whom customers know in real life, and people whom customers know and trust online. A poor experience with any of these pivotal players could result in a big boost in business — for your competition."
"When a customer has a complaint, use the "Italian Momma method": Think of your customer as the little bambino that took a spill on the sidewalk. Channel your inner Italian mother and shower your customers with attention and genuine concern when they come to you with an issue. Just as the bambino who survived his tumble largely unscathed, a customer's perspective of the situation will wind up getting reset. Essentially, the mountain shrinks into a molehill."
"Offload the transactional. Don't fritter away employee hours on activities that customers can do better themselves. This isn't to say there's no role for a human-to-human service interaction or contact. But the interaction should be at the choice of the customer, not because your systems are sloppy or incomplete."
"Understand customer self-determination. Give up old notions of control and replace them with a transparent model that allows, wherever possible, your customer to be in the driver's seat. Embrace crowdsourcing: You can't control product ratings, product discussions, or much else, except by providing the most extraordinary customer experience possible and letting your customers, and your critics, hash out their discussions of it in public."
"Speed and efficiency are of the utmost importance: in how quickly you respond to a customer, ship to a customer, and offer up choices of product or service to a customer. Emulate Amazon.com here: You'd better have a real-time indication of what is and isn't in stock; ship immediately, and, perhaps most of all, have a no-hassle return policy."
"If you make yourself easy to reach around the clock, you let customers know you value their business, input, and loyalty. Customers won't need to write negative comments on Twitter or on their blogs if they can use e-mail, the phone, or a feedback form on your website and know that it will be answered—immediately and with empathy."
"Define your standards using a three-part summary statement format: 1. Why the service is of value (why we're doing this in the first place). 2. The emotional response we're aiming to have the customer feel. 3. The expected way to accomplish the service."
"The interesting thing is when we design and architect a server, we don't design it for Windows or Linux, we design it for both. We don't really care, as long as we're selling the one the customer wants."
"Setting customer expectations at a level that is aligned with consistently deliverable levels of customer service requires that your whole staff, from product development to marketing, works in harmony with your brand image."
"Merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral. Understand the factors that drive this customer revolution."
"Traditional corporations, particularly large-scale service and manufacturing businesses are organized for efficiency. Or consistency. But not joy. Joy comes from surprise and connection and humanity and transparency and new...If you fear special requests, if you staff with cogs, if you have to put it all in a manual, then the chances of amazing someone are really quite low. These organizations have people who will try to patch problems over after the fact, instead of motivated people eager to delight on the spot. The alternative, it seems, is to organize for joy. These are the companies that give their people the freedom (and the expectation) that they will create, connect and surprise. These are the organizations that embrace someone who make a difference, as opposed to searching the employee handbook for a rule that was violated."
"Most of your competition spend their days looking forward to those rare moments when everything goes right. Imagine how much leverage you have if you spend your time maximizing those common moments when it doesn't."
"How much do you as a consumer value a positive experience with a brand or its customer service department? How willing are you to share that with your friends? How inclined are you to let that person know that you're interaction with them was positive?"
"When a positive exchange between a brand and customers becomes quantifiable metrics, it encourages brand to provide better service, customer service to do a better job, and consumers to actively show their gratitude."
"In fact, I believe the frist companies that make an effort to develop an authentic, transparent, and meaningful social contract with their fans and customers will turn out to be the ones that are the most successful in the future. While brands that refuse to make the effort will lose stature and customer loyalty. "
"A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets."
"Your customers don't care about you. They don't care about your product or service. They care about themselves, their dreams, their goals. Now, they will care much more if you help them reach their goals, and to do that, you must understand their goals, as well as their needs and deepest desires."
"Our DNA is as a consumer company - for that individual customer who's voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That's who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it's not up to par, it's our fault, plain and simply."
"This is what customers pay us for - to sweat all these details so it's easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We're supposed to be really good at this. That doesn't mean we don't listen to customers, but it's hard for them to tell you what they want when they've never seen anything remotely like it."
" While it's important to follow your company policies faithfully and treat everyone equally, flexibility is key. If you can learn to adapt your style to different types of customers, or at least be aware that these differences exist, your customers will feel like you are working with them. And be nice—that's just common sense."
"Go with The Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. All customers want to be treated like $1,000,000, whether they are spending $1,000,000 or not. Little extras, like free shipping or discounts on future purchases, can help your customers feel special and taken care of, making them more likely to remember you, and subsequently return or refer their friends. Remember: your customers aren't just buying your products or services, they're buying an experience."
"Be available. When you are working with your customer, be available for the entire transaction. This will help them to trust you when they are working with you for the first time, and it will also help down the road. "
"Train your staff (if you have any) to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so he never has to say, "I don't know, but so-and-so will be back at...""
"Listen to your customers. Can the sales pitches and the product babble. Let your customer talk and show him that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem."
"Throw in something extra. Whether it's a coupon for a future discount, additional information on how to use the product, or a genuine smile, people love to get more than they thought they were getting. And don't think that a gesture has to be large to be effective."
"Zappos uses call center technology to track average call time per agent. But the goal isn't to reduce this average — it's more important that we make an emotional connection with the customer, rather than just quickly getting them off the phone."
"The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding customer service."
William H. Davidow,Former SVP Intel Corporation and Author Overconnected
"Service standards keep rising. As competitors render better and better service, customers become more demanding. Their expectations grow. When every company's service is shoddy, doing a few things well can earn you a reputation as the customer's savior. But when a competitor emerges from the pack as a service leader, you have to do a lot of things right. Suddenly achieving service leadership costs more and takes longer. It may even be impossible if the competition has too much of a head start. The longer you wait, the harder it is to produce outstanding service."
William H. Davidow,Former SVP Intel Corporation and Author Overconnected
"If only companies thought of each customer as a stream of future income rather than single transactions. Their net present value rises and lowers based on the customer's experience during and after each transaction."
"Customer service is not only an opportunity to make your customers happy, but also your pipeline to valuable product feedback and insights. A strong two-way communication channel can be the lifeblood to ensuring customer satisfaction, honing your vision, and accelerating your product development."
Kyle Wong, Forbes Contributor and Co-founder Pixlee
"What's important at the grocery store is just as important in engines or medical systems. If the customer isn't satisfied, if the stuff is getting stale, if the shelf isn't right, or if the offerings aren't right, it's the same thing. You manage it like a small organization. You don't get hung up on zeros."
"It doesn't matter much where your company sits in its industry ecosystem, nor how vertically or horizontally integrated it is - what matters is its relative 'share of customer value' in the final product or solution, and its cost of producing that value."
"So if you're a customer today, the same person who came in to demonstrate the technology for you and helped you architect the solution before you bought it is likely going to be leading the team to help you do the implementation."
"Companies cannot really see beyond their current customer base. They explicitly or implicitly do things to protect their current customers. And the last person to want real change is your customer. This is why most new ideas come from small companies that have nothing to lose."
"It's not about market share. If you have a successful company, you will get your market share. But to get a successful company, what do you have to have? The same metrics of success that your customer does."
"If employees need to stay late in order to curry favor with the boss, what motivation do they have to get work done during normal business hours? After all, they can put in the requisite 'face time' whether they are surfing the Internet or analyzing customer data."
"The business models in enterprise have changed pretty dramatically. A huge problem with enterprise software traditionally has been usually you sell to the customer and then they adopt the technology. The great thing about 'freemium' and the new way enterprise software is being sold is you get to try it first and then buy it."
"One of the people who most influenced me was Ben Shapiro, a marketing professor at the business school. He used to rant and rave and pound his fist: 'It's all about the customers!' And he was right. He was also right that, at that time, retailing was devoid of really talented people; he urged me to go in that direction."
"One of the things which make any company successful, in particular the Home Depot, was that we understood and catered to the customer. If it didn't sell, it didn't make a difference what we thought or our research told us. They told us if it was successful by buying it or not."
"What I tell founders is not to sweat the business model too much at first. The most important task at first is to build something people want. If you don't do that, it won't matter how clever your business model is."
"You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy. Your first users should feel that signing up with you was one of the best choices they ever made. And you in turn should be racking your brains to think of new ways to delight them."
"Giving feels good, but it's also good for the bottom line. Charity is a viable growth strategy for a lot of companies. Our customers get excited to be a part of what we're doing. If you ask anyone wearing Toms how they first heard about us, most won't mention an advertisement; they'll say a friend told them our story."