A cliché is an expression which has been so overused it loses its original meaning or effect. We “think outside the box” for a “paradigm shift” in order to find a “best of breed,” “synergistic”, “win-win” solution than can be “scalable” yet remains “robust.” All of those phrases in quotes in the preceding sentence were at one time impactful expressions.
Customer cliché can have the same fate. We hear front line service people say, “Thank you for choosing Acme” without a hint of sincerity or “We are sorry for any inconvenience” without an ounce of empathy. Leaders say, “Customer satisfaction is our number one priority” as they make decisions that reflect the opposite. We read “satisfaction guaranteed or your money refunded” in large print and all the exceptions and weasel words in fine print. “The customer is always right” is too often true only until it conflicts with the bottom line.
Customer focus requires a refresh from time to time. If service organizations get stuck in the “tired (not tried) and true” they risk losing sight of the purpose of the organization. According to the father of management, Peter Drucker, that purpose was to “create and retain a customer.” What are you taking for granted in how you deliver service? How can you keep service from losing its original meaning or effect?