Whether you are in a consumer business or B2B, the quality of your customer service experience with your company is key to generating loyalty and referrals. Many businesses believe that they are good at customer service, but that level of good may not be good enough.

To many customers, their expectation of good service is based on the best service they have received from anywhere. For example, if they have an iphone, they have Apple’s level of customer service in mind as a standard when they deal with you, too. Therefore, even if you are in a totally unrelated industry to Apple’s, customers’ expectations are high because they are not just based on your company’s service quality or even on your industry standards, they are comparing your service with a global expectation of the best experience they received anywhere. Relative to Apple, this means that they want easy access to your “geniuses”, a relatively quick fix or at least quick attention to the issue, and a smiling personality to handle everything.

Achieving this, may be less difficult than it sounds. It starts with refocusing your perspective away from your own standard to the broader one. Explore service you receive from every company and take note of especially outstanding experiences.

Ultimately great customer service starts with leadership setting the tone at the top. Leadership must set an example of quality and not waver from setting a high bar. Leadership then must support their customer service initiative by training everyone in techniques and expectations, as well as giving people authority to solve problems for peak customer satisfaction, reminding them that they are competing against Apple every day.

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