John Tschohl is a professional speaker, trainer and consultant. He is the president and founder of Service Quality Institute (the global leader in customer service) with operations in over 40 countries. John is a self-made millionaire traveling and speaking more than 50 times each year. He is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on service strategy, success, empowerment and customer service in the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. He can also be reached on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. ‘Start living your dreams. Whatever you choose, it should propel you out of bed every morning hungry to accomplish something.’ — Lou Holtz, from his book Winning Every Day
I have been talking and writing about customer service longer than anyone else in the world, letting both large and small companies know that it’s fiercely competitive out there and the only way to compete and win is with superior customer service. I, for one, am relentless in this. I work on it daily!
In 1994 Jeff Bezos quit his job on Wall Street and he and his wife started on their relentless journey to where he is today —the richest man in the world. Twenty-five years later, he shows no signs of slowing down. In his letter from 1998 he wrote: “I constantly remind our employees to be afraid, to wake up every morning terrified. Not of our competition, but of our customers. Our customers have made our business what it is, they are the ones with whom we have a relationship, and they are the ones to whom we owe a great obligation. And we consider them to be loyal to us — right up until the second that someone else offers them a better service. We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” — Jeff Bezos, founder, chairman, CEO, and president of Amazon.
Mr. Bezos has pursued this goal every single day. And isn’t it amazing that … he has no competition! He talks about better customer service and he provides it, always. He prides himself as being “obsessed” with awesome customer service.
Amazon can be described with a single word — relentless. They purchased the site of www.relentless.com long ago to connect directly with their company, Amazon and their customers. For 40 years, I have said the major reason organizations are not customer-driven is because top management has no grasp of how the financial impact affects employee performance. They are not relentless.
Companies spend millions on the land, building the store, and stocking it with product, all for one thing — the customer. But when the customer actually appears, the companies fall down on the job. All that time, thought, and money is wasted if the customer walks out, never to return. No one appears to have been trained on customer service; the customer experience. The entire focus has been on advertising. Seldom do firms understand the power of a service strategy.
Another problem is that most CEOs are not relentless. What is worse is many firms who have a service culture when the CEO retires, but then delegate those duties to a financial CEO. They put blinders on and deal with numbers only, no thought to strategy and customer service. They don’t even pay any attention to the fact that it is very difficult to recover the service brand. Great leaders know that service is what your customer says it is, so they stay in touch with their markets and willingly spend the money to do so.
We are relentless: For 40 years we have been helping companies succeed. For 40 years, over 1 million people trained using our system. For 40 years we have tailored programs for motivating frontline employees. For 40 years we have helped companies save money and watch their profits grow with great customer service.
Generating excitement, innovation, and a focus on continuous improvement like we teach, has been used for centuries by the top companies in the world. It creates a culture that’s hard to build otherwise, and a true competitive advantage goes to companies that get it right. They make it easy for customers to communicate with the company.
The newsletter Quality Assurance Report states that only when a company knows exactly what kind of service its customers expect, delivers on those expectations 100 percent of the time, and at a price that customers are willing to pay — while still getting an acceptable return — can the company claim to excel in customer service. Amazon excels in the customer experience making Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world!
“They’ve known for years that customer service doesn’t cost, it pays.”C&IT