Monday, February 23, 2009

Extreme Customer Service

The third annual ranking of Customer Service Champs by Business Week ( was recently published. It is always interesting to see who gets recognition and why. Many familiar names are on are the list, Amazon at #1, Zappos at #7 and Marriott at #25. This issue devoted to customer service answers how customer service is relevant in this shrinking economy. I think these thoughts will help you see the reason certain organizations are deemed champs.

Ace Vice President John Venhuizen says, “During tough times there are plenty of other pressures customers face. We don’t want customer service to be what makes them blow their cork.”

Simon Cooper, COO of Ritz Carlton, noted that with occupancy rates falling, “you have to better because you are forced to.” I find that comment so enlightening as most organizations use a slowdown in business to only make excuses about their lousy customer service.

Zappos continues to innovate especially for their best customers. CEO Tony Hsieh has decided to invest more in their most loyal customers. They are offering a VIP service for them – a special website that offers early access to sales and new products as well as overnight shipping. Hsieh understands the repeat customer deserves special treatment.

How refreshing to see some companies do know today’s customer wants an experience and needs to feel valued. As Business Week reports, ”the best performers are actually doing more to safeguard service in this recession.”

What is your mindset? How do you rank among the top performers? When we do come out of this recession, will your customers remember that you put them first?

Make something good happen today.

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