A few years ago, when I was asked to develop a customer service programme, the first thing that came through my mind was Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’. Simply put, the renowned military strategist emphasised on 3 main philosophies to win the battle in war – Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy and Know Your Terrain. Following this strategy closely, ‘The Art of Service’ was created with the objective of delivering that exceptional customer service experience.

In today’s competitive environment, we know that every company that deals with customer interaction wants their service go from good to WOW!  There have been many articles published on how to go about this and undeniably all that I have come across are definitely insightful.customer-service (source- sprudge)At the end of the day, we want the customer to walk away from their experience with a “WOW”,as this is a strong testimonial that he/she had had a great experience and is highly likely to come back again or recommend the service to others.  In line with Sun Tzu’s philosophy, the 3 basics that many can adopt and adapt in customer service (whether its B2B or B2C) would be – WOW YOURSELF, WOW YOUR CUSTOMER and WOW YOUR BUSINESS!WOW!

WOW YOURSELF

I’ve mentioned in my previous post that if you are in a career that deals with human interaction, it is especially important to have the 3Ps For Success; with the first P focusing on passion for yourself.  Hence, WOW YOURSELF is an expansion of that.

Before you WOW others, you have to know what’s in you that would make yourself go “WOW!”  In a nutshell, it’s about knowing how motivated and inspiring you are, being aware of your own strengths and limitations, being able to present yourself professionally through communicationand most importantly understanding your own personality.  Last but not least, to know if you have that winning attitude needed in the service industry you are in?  In actual fact, it all begins with ATTITUDE(And this is something I strongly urge hiring managers to look out for during the recruitment process!)Attitude-Is-Everything-school hoursIf customers can have a very high set of expectations, then I believe, as the service provider yourself, you should be setting a very high standard for yourself.  Perhaps one way is to make a list and do a self-check to see if you have what it takes to WOW YOURSELF! Include all those mentioned above in the list and expand further.

(Don’t forget to share that list once you’ve successfully created it!)

WOW YOUR CUSTOMER

The second part of Sun Tzu’s strategy is about Knowing Your Enemy.  I’m not saying here that your customers are your enemy…but you could look at it in a similar context.  After all, ultimately, you are trying to win that sale/service with him/her!  And for many, it can be a difficult ‘battle’ to win that customer over.

“Do not be satisfied until the customer is satisfied”

~ customer service philosophy

Here you need to ask yourself, “What does it take to WOW MY CUSTOMER?”  One important aspect is definitely to gain TRUST.  This essentially means…

Trust
Respect
Understanding
Special
Thoughtful
fashion_poor_customer_service - JMik

 Just like how important it is to know your own strengths and limitations, it is equally essential that you make the effort to get to know your customers.  The fundamental here is COMMUNICATION.  You need to know how to engage them and asking questions is key here.  It is usually through asking the right kind of questions (using open-ended questions) that you would be able to discover and understand what your customers’ needs are.  If you ace this part, then half the ‘battle’ to win their interests is done.  Next steps would of course be about knowing how to handle difficult scenarios or objections.

WOW YOUR BUSINESS

For many of those who deal with customers on a day-to-day basis especially those in the frontline role, the standard expectation is that, as long as they know the product/service and have the basic communication skills, then those should suffice.

Unfortunately, what is lacking here in most of these service providers is their lack of knowledge in the business or the brand that they are representing.  Sun Tzu’s third philosophy on Know Your Terrain is a concept that I consider very relevant and imperative for any service providers to model after.

Have you came across the situation when a customer probes for further explanation on the brand’s background and you get a dumb-founded reply by that otherwise cheerful service ‘professional’?  The fact is that if you can display the competencies in having an all-rounded knowledge of what is happening in your business, then you are more likely to appear as A SERVICE PROFESSIONAL in the eyes of your customers.

So, do you know your business well enough that you can proclaim yourself to be the service ambassador of the business?  If yes, which areas of the business do you have full knowledge of – the products you are selling, the services offered, the standard operating process, the different stakeholders in the business such as from marketing, operations or even from corporate affairs? Then what about your KPIs (key performance indicators) – do you know what they are and why they are important?  What about competitors – who are they; do you consider them your direct or indirect competitors?

If your answers are “yes” to all of these, then the next question is – how well do you know each of these areas?  Give your answers on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing ‘no knowledge at all’ and 10 indicating ‘extremely knowledgeable’.  Check your scores and if most of them tend to fall below the mid-point, the responsibility lies on you to ensure that you get the proper training in this area.

customer-satisfaction-research-firm

The 3 WOWs would be the platform for any service professionals to create that memorable journey together with their customers.  After all, we can create loyal customers by delivering a customer experience that is so distinctive it goes beyond satisfaction…and it would be unforgettable!

Go ahead and WOW now!!

Visit our website (www.uniqconsultancy.com) to enquire further about one of Uniq’s signature programmes – ‘The Art of Service’.

(Image: cr as tagged, sprudge, JMik, school hours)