Customer service can be a significant differentiator for a company. This should come as no surprise when you consider that customer service is where most direct customer interaction takes place and that it's the face of the brand for many customers. Customer service can also lead to competitive advantage as you learn things about your customers that your competitors don't know, simply because you have the relationship already.

All your employees play a major part in making this customer service relationship successful, whether they face customers directly or take care of “internal customers.” According to Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, the following are the basic tenets for taking care of employees so they will take care of your customers:7

  • Hire employees who display a natural warmth and genuinely caring attitude.
  • Ensure that employees at all levels understand the basic vision and mission of the business, and hire people who agree with this mission.
  • Institute appropriate incentives, rewards, and recognitions to spotlight employees who are doing it right.
  • Ensure that management (both senior and middle) maintains a regular and direct dialogue with the front-line team.
  • Listen to customers to anticipate their needs, then follow through on meeting them.
  • Make the service experience consistent.

Maintain your focus on your employees at all times—especially when things are difficult. Never forget, they are your brand ambassadors to the ...

Get The Hidden Power of Your Customers: Four Keys to Growing Your Business Through Existing Customers now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.