Customer Service Initiatives, The Amazon-Virgin-Amex-Disney-Nike-Nordstrom Way
I get a fair number of calls, as a customer service consultant, that follow the pattern of ”Please turn my company into the blank of blank“:
• “We want to become the Ritz-Carlton of car dealerships”
• “Turn us into the Zappos of retail banking”
• “Can you turn us into the Nordstrom of septic system servicing?”
(not precisely a real-life example—though it’s pretty close).
When I get such a call, I offer both encouragement and caution. On the one hand, it’s powerful to benchmark a customer service great, either inside or outside of your particular industry. On the other hand, the consulting work that I – or any other reputable consultant – does can’t be quite that cookie cutter if it is to be successful. Rather than becoming “The Ritz-Carlton of my industry,” it’s best to think of “what is the specific version of Ritz-Carlton methodology that service the needs and wishes of my particular market, and that ties into the branding and positioning of my own, unique, company?” Which is a rather different take on a similar idea.
However, I was intrigued to hear from a PR firm (North 6th Agency or “N6A,” based in New York), that has settled on a different approach to their 2016 customer service initiative: They’re basing it on not just one great customer-centric company, but twelve: a different company each month. Each month, N6A will take a core customer service practice from one of the great customer-centric companies and apply it to their own dealings with PR customers.