I make no apologies for putting this at the end of the chapter. Once you have the above factors in place, this is a natural follow-on. Provide people with the basics of customer service plus the company standards and they will be ready to do their very best job.
Think about it. When colleagues are proud of their company, they have a vested interest in maintaining excellent standards. They want to hold their heads high, without having to face negative stories. Bernard at Honda does not hesitate to tell people at a party that he works for Honda because he knows customers receive an excellent service. This is what everyone wants - to be able to speak proudly of their company without fear of a ‘H'mm, yes, but I heard . . .' response.
Container Store, number 1 in the US Fortune list for two years running, has an exceptionally strong reputation with customers. A businessman took an early flight out of his home town, forgetting the driving licence needed to hire a car. His wife was unsuccessful in getting the airline to carry it to him on the next flight, so she cast around desperately for inspiration. Approaching a woman standing in the queue, she asked her to take it to him. Given that it was clearly only a driving licence, she agreed, but asked why she had been chosen. ‘You are wearing a Container Store T-shirt, so I knew you would help me.'
Stories like this enhance the reputation both in and out of the company. How proud must the Container Store colleague have felt to be so trusted, and how strong the story told by the woman to her friends. Going the extra mile is the stuff of exceptional PR and is most effective when told by someone with nothing to gain. When treated well, I become a loyal customer and great advocate - but this will not be achieved through standard practice alone. The ability to build a relationship is what really counts, and you cannot teach this, you can only model it.
When negative stories come to light through complaints, use it as a measure of how effectively your company is serving the colleague concerned. Find out how they are feeling about work and what help they need from you to do a better job.
People who care will seize the moment - but this requires them to feel cared for. Like Sonal at Flight Centre, who apologised to a disgruntled couple with a bunch of flowers and now books all their holidays for them. Go the extra mile for your people and trust them to do the same for your customers.