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Best Practices of The Best Service Leaders | Extraordinary Business

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It’s hard for any customer to forget a really good or really bad customer experience. For instance, how can you forget that hotel manager who went above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate your last-minute travel plan changes? Or, on the other hand, who can shake off the memory (despite wanting to) of that brooding server at an expensive restaurant who clearly didn’t want to wait on you?
Great service is crucial, but as the best in business realize, it’s a lot more than telling your customer-facing staff to don a smile. In this article, we’ll look into the best practices of the best service leaders – revealing what it is the best companies do in the service industry to maintain a competitive edge.

They Provide Breakthrough Services

Long-time Harvard Business School Professor Earl Sasser defines breakthrough services as those services which deliver exceptional results on three fronts:

  • a high-quality experience for customers and employees,
  • high value for customers, and
  • a high return for employees and investors.

This “trifecta” is achieved by way of an outstanding service and is found in only the best companies in the world. These companies can change the rules of the games for their respective industry. They are able to simultaneously address the needs of customers, employees and investors, which sets them apart from the competition.

They are Analytical, Communicative and Inspiring

Among the most valued qualities of the best service leaders are: being excellent at communication, having the ability to quickly analyze a situation, the capability to inspire others and the capacity to remain objective in the face of not just setbacks, but triumphs as well. Such companies emphasize skill sets that are needed for powerful personal interaction and engagement with employees across all levels of even the biggest of organizations.

They Cultivate Frontline Employees

service leader

Frontline employees are the the core of any service profit chain. The best in business cultivate frontline employees by creating great work places for customer-oriented people, and then attracting the right people – not just in terms of skills, but attitude. Often, the work and pay for these employees is based on performance.
A good example is the Mayo Clinic, where the whole thing is organized not around the care provider, but rather the patient. “Star” medical professionals might find this place uncomfortable. But those who fit in are able to generate immense value that every service company can learn from.

They Know that Customers Buy Value, Not Services

Service leaders realize people don’t really buy products or services. Instead, they put stock in results and value. As Daniel Newman, business analyst and entrepreneur, notes that even from a marketing perspective, customer experience is the future of marketing. So it makes sense that the best in business are free from the short-sightedness that focuses on the company’s needs and their products. Instead, they are driven by the results, value and experience they can create for the customer.

They Don’t Let Technology Get in the Way

For the most part, technology helps companies drive customer engagement and improve their customer service. However, technology can sometimes get in the way of superior customer service. For instance, when Starbucks started using a more efficient espresso machine, it reduced the service experience and essentially came between people and their favorite barista. As such, the gift for anticipating customer needs continues to be a hallmark of the best service leaders.
At the end of the day, it’s about creating a true and authentic connection with the customer. As Micah Solomon, President of customer service and experience consultancy Four Aces Inc. emphasizes, customers want to do business with businesses that are “authentic”. At the end of the day, this is yet another thing services leaders get right: they start by accepting the uncertain nature of the future of the service sector while continuing to innovate and learning to respond rapidly to whatever the future throws at them.
Fatima Mansoor is a writer at Aepiphanni, a small business operations and strategy consultancy that exists to help small business owners CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses. She is a freelance blogger, specializing in business & entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and health & fitness. Her focus is on creating compelling web content for small and medium businesses form diverse industries. She mostly writes for entrepreneurs and marketing agencies across the US, Australia and UK.
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