Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How Can You Turn Ordinary Customer Service to Extraordinary?

There are a lot of great books out right now about customer experience management and customer service principles. I've read many and have mentioned or reviewed a few here on my blog

That brings me to the topic of today's post: Steve Curtin's new book, Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary.

Why do we need yet another book on this topic? Well, I think we all tend to come at this topic from a different perspective or a slightly different angle. Steve doesn't disappoint with his book; it is certainly written from a fresh point of view. And it's packed with a lot of details and comparisons to help you understand what is ordinary and what is extraordinary.

Steve starts by explaining the difference between job essence and job role - an important distinction to be made and a theme carried throughout the book to help explain his seven simple behaviors - and then dives right into outlining the three truths of exceptional customer service:
  1. It reflects the essence of the employee's job role.
  2. It is always voluntary - an employee chooses to deliver exceptional service.
  3. It doesn't cost any more to deliver than bad customer service.
It's not hard to see that we are reminded of these truths through every chapter that follows. The subsequent chapters define the seven principles he mentions in the title of the book. They truly are, well, quite simple to grasp, but each chapter is chock full of details and examples of how the concept moves your service from ordinary to extraordinary.

The seven concepts - really, attitudes and behaviors - are:
  1. Express genuine interest.
  2. Offer sincere and specific compliments.
  3. Share unique knowledge.
  4. Convey authentic enthusiasm.
  5. Use appropriate humor.
  6. Provide pleasant surprises.
  7. Deliver service heroics.
 None of these are difficult to understand. Frankly, they're so simple that they should be labeled common sense. But we all know how I feel about common sense. Having said that, it's all worth repeating, and Steve does an excellent job.

I enjoyed reading this book. The overall concept is well though out and clearly outlined. Each chapter is devoted to the seven ways to raise ordinary customer service to extraordinary, and each chapter ends with a summary of how that chapter's characteristic does exactly that. Steve also provides a space for you to fill in your own thoughts, ideas, and examples of how you might apply the principles from the chapter, making it a handy guide and a workbook to help you turn his words into action.

Note: Steve sent me an advanced copy of the book; some of the contents may have changed from the manuscript to the final copy, which can be purchased on Amazon. You can see a book trailer video here.


  1. Thanks for the recommendation Annette

    I always struggle with "use appropriate humor" my American colleagues look at me is if there will be a law suit at any second.

    I shall buy the book and see if it keeps my legal costs down.


    1. LOL. I love your humor, James! Don't ever change! :-)

      Annette :-)

  2. Annette, as always thanks for your thoughts. This looks like a great book.

    James, you bring up a good and really interesting point. In my past three years heading up global support for our community humor doesn't always translate across languages. Even as an American, what I would term appropriate for my own "American" culture doesn't always translate well.

    I've learned the hard way that humor, like many things, is subjective.

    1. You're welcome, Kelly. And great point to make here... that humor should be used with caution. It doesn't always come across as intended, across cultures or within our own.

      Annette :-)

  3. Hi Annette,
    Thanks for your thoughts on Steve's book, those are very useful and helpful for me. The reason being, apart from my overall learning, is that Stan Phelps introduced me to Steve and I am looking forward to interviewing him as part of my interview series (http://www.adrianswinscoe.com/blog/category/interviews/) in the coming week or so.

    I hope that through my interview I can build on the insights that you have shared here.


    1. Thanks, Adrian. I look forward to the interview. Feel free to come back and post a link to it here, if you'd like.

      Annette :-)

  4. Customer service professionals represent the whole company. Their performance is very vital to the growth of the company. That is why they should use their best potentials to improve their performance.