CHAPTER 19

The Basic Tenets of Service

The service industry has been going through an identity crisis for years, and it is important to recognize this and understand the reasons why. Overall, service is usually one of the highest costs to any business big or small. This has led to a common discussion of service being the “cost center.” In an effort to change this internal perception, well-intentioned leaders tried to convert the call center into the “sales center.” We have all had this backfire when we have called for help and the person on the phone could only focus on the wrong thing. As time moves forward, especially with the Customer having a much larger control over your brand, it is imperative that we begin to see service as the “relationship hub.”

On rare occasions, especially if your organization has properly focused efforts on reducing calls, you have an opportunity to interact with your Customer in a memorable way. Tony Hsieh from Zappos often tells the story of hanging out with some vendors when someone in the group wanted pizza. Tony told them to call Zappos. Would you think to call a shoe retailer for pizza? Anyway, as you can guess, they called Zappos and the representative helped them find pizza places in their area that delivered to the hotel. I do not tell this story expecting that your service organization will start becoming the concierge for all kinds of services and products, but the story is a great example of how Zappos is willing to be a little different ...

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