“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”  Anais Nin

It’s the age old dilemma; what is real to you might not be real to someone else.  So, who or what is right?

Think about it.  When you look in the mirror, you see someone you have known every minute of your life.  You see someone who is kind, giving, caring, thoughtful, maybe even good-looking (or is that just me?) who should be loved by everyone. But when you step out into the real world, there are people who do not see you the same way.  They may see someone who is selfish, manipulative, untrustworthy, intimidating, hostile, aggressive, unattractive and devious. (Sorry, got carried away there, was just venting a little).

So what is the truth…the way you see yourself, or the way the world sees you?

Your reality is shaped by your perception.  Meaning everything that has happened to you in your life has had a direct influence on your real world, or at least your perception of it.  And since no two people have the same real world experiences, everyone has their own sense of reality, as well as how they perceive the world.

The same thing applies to every business in the world. What is perception and what is reality?  The way you see your business and how it operates, or the way your customers see your business?

Here is what I think is an astounding statistic. According to a Lee Resources survey, 80% of companies surveyed believe they deliver “superior” customer service, while only 8% of customers of those same companies believe they deliver “superior” customer service. That is a crazy divide.

Who is right? What is the reality? Or does it really matter? What essentially matters is if your customers keep coming back, giving you referrals, or they run to your competition, because of the service you provide (or lack thereof). Remember, the customer may not always be right, but the customer always thinks they are right. And they are always the customer.

A good way to find out if your customer service exceeds expectations is to simply ask. People love talking about their experiences.  Additionally you can use an online survey or hard form questionnaire. Once you get feedback, make the most of it.  Identify areas where you can improve, and then make the necessary changes.

Here are a few simple ways to make sure you are delivering More Than Perfect™ Customer Service:

  • Make a great first impression, either in person, online, or on the phone. A customer can see a smile in person, but they can also hear a smile over the phone. Make your website user friendly.
  • Train your employees to deliver excellent customer service.
  • Deliver more than what is expected.  Create little “wow” moments that keep them coming back.
  • Focus on creating a relationship, not just a sale.
  • Listen to your customers and hear what is and isn’t being said.
  • Listen to your employees and see what they are seeing and hearing on the front lines. You will get honest feedback from them.
  • Be accountable, especially if there is a problem.
  • Make sure you thank your customers for doing business with you.  Show your appreciation.

So essentially, the bottom line is, there is no reality, only your perception of it. I may be completely wrong about all of this, but of course, that’s my reality.

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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