Ever wonder why some companies lead their industry while others as always seem to be chasing them? It’s simple really.

It usually comes down to a few key areas customers consider important. Every human being on the planet wants a nice product and great service. Of course, they need to be able to afford whatever you’re providing. The value is critical.

Overall, however, we can strip it all down to these three absolute musts to provide the best customer service:

The Question

Read all the books you want about satisfying customers and building your faithful followers, but nothing is more important than knowing what the customers truly value.

You can ask them what they consider great customer service. You’ll undoubtedly get some helpful insight, 90% of which you probably already knew before you asked.

If you want a bulletproof technique to yield some surprises, ask “What level of service would you require from us to never consider using one of our competitors?”

Of course, you’ll need to tailor this question a bit if you’re providing solely a product. Alter as appropriate.

The Delivery

You can under-deliver, deliver, or over-deliver what the customers expect. The best customer service, however, requires more or faster or whatever is appropriate for over-delivering your product and service.

Delivering what your competitors deliver simply means you run the risk of becoming invisible, squeezed on price, or both. Ewwww. Leave that for the competition.

The Bonus

People love (good) surprises! Toss in some complimentary bonuses or giveaways or coupons for free stuff. Throw in whatever you can build or have at your disposal.

Some might consider this over-delivering, but these bonuses should truly be separate, distinct, and in addition to whatever product or service you’re providing.

The extras are the “stand-outs” in people’s minds. They might be pleased you delivered something faster, but they’ll never forget you augmented your offering with truly additional value.

An added benefit of including extras is you’re providing yourself or your company additional opportunities to show your customers you have other offerings or services they might find beneficial. This, of course, can lead to more chances for you to over-perform!

A Few Examples…

It’s really quite easy to apply these principles no matter your profession, service or product.

Here’s something off the top of my head because I’m desperately in need of one. Let’s say you’re a massage therapist. Why not roll on for an extra ten minutes if the customer’s schedule allows? Toss in a few sample lotions or oils or discount coupons for subsequent visits. Who doesn’t love these bonuses?

Perhaps you sell a product. I just bought an Internet streaming device the other day. The retail salesperson took extra time and care educating me on the different options. After I bought the product, got home, and opened the bag, I noticed coupons for enough movie rentals to more than pay for the device. Bonuses!

One For The Road…

Like it or not, the world works much differently today than it did several years ago. In many situations, it’ll be beneficial to do these activities in reverse order. That’s right. First, you give stuff away. Then someone or some company gives you an opportunity to over-deliver. Then they give you a chance to keep them forever.

I always love to hear from you: What are your best techniques for providing great customer service?