When Good Customer Service Is the Difference Between Life and Death

In our fast-paced world, we are more and more focused on and appreciate good customer service. Companies that shine in today’s economy are ones with a strong culture of exceptional customer service.

Posted on | George Joseph, LCDC | Comments ()

In our fast-paced world, we are more and more focused on and appreciate good customer service. Companies that shine in today’s economy are ones with a strong culture of exceptional customer service.

In the drug and alcohol rehab business, I know the services we provide can be life or death for those we help. Due to this pressure, I have prided myself and tried to instill in my 200-plus teammates that we must always bring our A-game. Complacency can lead to poor service.

Over the last few months, I started having laser focus on improving our customer service. It started with training by Diana Oreck, VP of the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center, to my Houston chapter of the Entrepreneur Organization (EO). It hit home further during my wonderful vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico, and reading Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

Is the ability to provide extraordinary customer service a talent we learn or are we born with it? I think the answer can be both! There are people who love to serve and are selfless, and do very well in customer service oriented businesses. There are others, once they are trained and realize the importance of this, they really excel! And there are others who, even with training, are not cut out for it. In the therapeutic world I live in, some folks don’t know they fit in the third category. Their own personal needs and issues get in the way of the truly selfless act of being emotionally and spiritually available for someone.

I am working hard to identify those in my business who fit the third category and train the rest of my team. I am doing this by compensating my teammates who read Delivering Happiness, and I brought in Ms. Oreck to train close to a quarter of my staff.

Here are my key takeaways from Ms. Oreck’s training:

  1. Competence is no longer enough; it is just the “price of entry” of any business.
  2. Excellent service is about making emotional connections to those we serve and who work for us.
  3. Unique, memorable emotional experiences get market share.
  4. Formula of legendary service: A) Focus attention on details; B) Commit random acts of kindness; C) Connect emotionally; D) Create flawless processes.

From the assigned reading, I am asking my employees three basic but important questions:

  1. What do you think is our current culture?
  2. Which of the Hsieh’s core values can help us improve as a company and why?
  3. What did you learn from the book to help you become a better employee?

So far, the top votes for core values are:

  • Build a positive team and family spirit
  • Being passionate and determined

My favorites include the two above and the two below:

  • Deliver WOW experiences through service
  • Be adventurous, creative and open-minded

In closing, there are more core values worth reading about. I hope you feel passionate about customer service like I do!

Blog written by George Joseph, LCDC
George Joseph is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor who began his career in 1983. George is the CEO of The Right Step,...