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In Customer Service, One Size Does Not Fit All

Customer service excellence has always been and will always be one of the critical competitive advantages for any business. Customer experience however can never be a one size fits all……the moment you have that, it becomes artificial where employees recite forced scripts and the interaction becomes very transactional; just enough to tick all the required boxes. Customers can tell when the interaction is not genuine. So how do we know customer service cannot be one size fits all?


This can be illustrated with the vastly differing responses I get when I ask that all important question, “If customer service were a fruit, what fruit will it be and why?” Here are some of them:


·         Watermelon. Because it is big, refreshing and delicious – it makes people smile just like good customer service.

·         Banana. Because it has a soft centre to represent empathy, and a thick skin to help you deal with rude customers.

·         Bunch of Grapes. Because great service is made up of a series of individual great actions.

·         Tomato. Because excellent customer service experience is so rare nowadays that people get really surprised when they get it – just like how people get surprised when they find out that tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable! (I must say this one is my favourite so far)


So why the disparity? It is because we all see things differently. This should not be seen as a bad thing in customer service, but should rather be welcomed as a means of utilising our individualities to improve how we serve our customers. We can all have the desire to deliver excellent customer service, but we do not have to do the same things the same way all the time. By letting things like our brand, vision, and distinctive personalities guide us, we can all find a unique and effective way of doing so.


Consequently, spontaneity and being genuine in customer service delivery should not be an impossible task; it is not something you do, but by being clear in your mind who you are and what you want to achieve, it will be reflected in how you treat your customers.

I could not agree more with Zita Cobb (Founder, Fogo Island Inn) when in an interview a few months ago on BBC2’s Amazing Hotels she said, “We at our inn we don’t have a rule book, we practice hospitality in a way that doesn’t seem like it is professional, in the industry sense of the word, but it is entirely natural and entirely human.”


So now I ask you, if EXCELLENT customer service were a fruit, what fruit will it be and why?

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