Chapter 7

Providing Customer Service to Each Style

The Key to High Customer Satisfaction Results Is Adjusting to the Customer's Style

Many years ago, when my career in organizational development and training was just starting, I was responsible for new hire training at Marshall Field's—the legendary Chicago-based retailer renowned for its customer service. Marshall Field, the man, had written a book called Give the Lady What She Wants and was one of the most influential early figures in retail service excellence. In fact, it was our policy to avoid using the word no at all costs when responding to a customer's request. It was during this period in my career that I began to realize just how important internal customer service was to creating a culture of service excellence.

During the new hire training program, we would play a lighthearted video called If Looks Could Kill, produced by John Cleese's training company. Despite the fact that I haven't seen that video in more than 25 years, its three primary customer service points have remained indelibly etched in my brain—and continue to inform how I behave. The three points were:

  • Behavior breeds behavior.
  • You can choose your behavior.
  • Positive behavior overcomes negative behavior.

You can construct a darn good service excellence strategy by just focusing in those three concepts. I would add a fourth tenet to make the approach even more powerful:

  • Interact with people the way they prefer.

Let's examine each of these tenets individually. ...

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