When “Great Service” Provides a False Sense of Service

Many small business owners describe their customer service as “great” or “very good” without much hesitation. I would suggest however that there are tremendous opportunities left on the table because there are too many “order taking” service transactions rather than those where opportunities are proactively identified.

When we take a service issue from a customer and resolve that issue, have we provided “great” customer service? If we say “yes” I would say you are missing out on what could be the biggest differentiator between you and your best competitors.

Order Takers these people solve the issue before them. End of story. Customer is left feeling like they have be helped, and that is the end of the interaction. This is the basic level of existence in a small business – I was called, I took the orders, I provided what they wanted as best I could.

Solution Providers  these folks not only solve the immediate problem, but they also apply the solution to their “system” and share the issue so it is either less likely to reoccur or, if it does reoccur, the shared solution will expedite resolution.

Opportunists  these people take the service issue and then go to the next level with a pivot maneuver to cross selling or up selling or some other retention technique and “value add” element. The Opportunists sees the big picture with the customer interaction, and solves a problem while also seeing the opportunity to create a deeper relationship.

The transition between these types of people is most often simply a pivot statement, something like:

“I’m so sorry you had this issue and I am confident I will get it resolved for you…  But I’m so glad you called because we were going to be calling you soon anyway! I noticed that your account didn’t have _____ and we have a special _______ for it right now. I know you are busy but I will work it up and have someone give you a call about it ________ .”


“I’m so sorry you had to deal with that, but I am glad I got to speak with you. We make customer service a top priority here. If you are happy with my service in taking care of your issue, I would love to offer the same service to anyone you know that needs _______. Can I ask you for a friend or family referral that would also appreciate the service we provide?”

The critical element of the transition will be your expectation that every service interaction MUST be perceived as a potential sales interaction. Creating the expectation that X number of leads must be generated per business day from service transactions lays the foundation for transforming your customer service.

Building a team of Opportunists rather than Order Takers will transform not only your service level but also your sales funnel!


About Frank

Consultant to small business owner/operators who want to grow their income, improve their efficiency, and implement successful systems to maximize productivity.
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