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When we think of Disney, we think of service excellence. Same thing for Nordstroms. Same thing for Apple. But why? What have these companies done to make us equate them with stellar service? It’s not really a trade secret.  Disney, Nordstroms, and Apple have always, and continue to, put the customer first. They anticipate customer needs, and they provide an experience that creates loyal, revenue generating customer advocates. Plain and simple.

Granted today, customer service organizations have so MANY more avenues for engaging with customers – from a variety of social channels, the web, and the enablement of self-service to the traditional methods of phone and in person service.  At the same time that these channels pose execution challenges, they also—due to their instantaneous and comparative nature--are raising customer expectations regarding what’s deemed superior and acceptable customer service. And they have increased the competitive environment in which we operate: if you’re not meeting your customers’ expectations, there are at least five other companies who will give it a try!

So service excellence is no longer an option for a few select organizations–it’s a mandatory requirement for all.

Service excellence is at the “Heart of Marketing,” as it can drive incremental revenue with loyal customer advocates, while poor customer service can sabotage your marketing efforts, resulting in diminishing revenue.

How do you deliver old-fashioned service excellence? Here are three modern guidelines.

  1. Be more proactive.  Your customers expect you to be where they are – anytime, anywhere, on any device. The right technology enables you to listen
    and engage with them on a variety of channels and address their issues in a proactive manner.
  2. Be better informed. Have the right insight about your customers by knowing their buying and service history with you. They’re your customers and they EXPECT this. Your service systems need to be integrated into your marketing and enterprise systems so that your customer service teams know the offer they received, they solutions they own, and what other conversations they’ve had with your organization.   Know this, and you can provide one-call resolution for happier, loyal customers that drive incremental revenue, while reducing service operation costs.
  3. Be one step ahead. Keep abreast of what’s trending in the market around your service and organization and be able to address those needs with personalized interactions. By connecting to your enterprise systems you’re able to identify those customers that may be affected by a certain issue and resolve it quickly. Quick, proactive resolutions create the kind of positive outcomes that your customers will want to amplify in social media.

So while service excellence isn’t new, there are now new and more insightful ways for your service organization to exceed customer expectations, create loyal customer advocates and drive incremental revenue. Plain and simple.


Lisa Teore, a senior marketing director at SAP, helps customer service professionals deliver service excellence and create brand advocates.  Follow Lisa on Twitter.