You should go to Austin, Texas at the end of January. Really, you should. It will be more than worth your while.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, January 29th and 30th, I’m teaching a new class about Shareworthy Customer Service at the 21st Century Business School known as Wizard Academy with a fellow named Tim Miles. It’s a magical place in the hill country just southwest of Austin, Texas. This week, Vice Chancellor Michele Miller asked me three questions about the class so she could promote it in the newsletter that goes out to thousands of alumni. Here are my answers. (Tomorrow, I’ll share Tim’s answers.)
Michele: How did you come up with the idea of teaching this class?
Me: Tim asked me:-)
(I believe Tim asked me because Tim reads this blog, follows the work I have been doing to teach multiple aspects of customer service to retail businesses, knows that I know what Wizard Academy is all about, and because Tim's expertise, while far greater than mine, leans more heavily on service-based businesses. Remind me, and I'll ask him when we get there if this is true.)
Michele: We see lots of workshops on creating good customer service. Your course description looks intriguing – what is one thing that sets this course apart from others out there?
Phil: I see two problems with most customer service training programs...
First, there is no standard definition for what is Great Customer Service. Everyone seems to have their own opinion ranging from "slightly better than what my competitors do" at the low end to "WOW-ing my customers beyond their wildest expectations" at the upper end. And most businesses have an unrealistic idea of their own level of customer service. Without a definition, it is hard to objectively see where you stand. Without a definition it is hard to measure results. Without a definition it is hard to create consistency. What drew me to Tim's teachings and made me want to partner with him is that he and I share the same definition of great customer service - so good, the customer has to share it with others. We both teach from that upper end and show businesses how that level of service is within their grasp once they identify it.
The second problem with most customer service training programs is that they often focus solely on the interaction between employee and customer, creating scripted interactions that eliminate the worst elements of customer service but don't really delight customers in a Shareworthy way. Although employee/customer interaction is one of the most important elements of customer service, it is not the only one. You can improve your employee/customer interactions exponentially and still be undone by a poor website, a confusing policy, a complicated form, or even a dirty restroom. Tim and I both recognize that to reach the pinnacle of customer service, it takes more than just employee/customer interactions, and it takes more than just scripted role plays. We'll address all of those elements and show businesses how to make sure everything is aimed at delighting the customer.
What sets our program apart is that we break down the whole concept of customer service - every single element - into understandable and measurable parts. We help each business create a definition by which success can be measured. Then we teach those attending how to create a culture that reaches that level of success consistently and in every aspect of their business.
Michele: What is the most important thing students will walk away with?
Me: There are so many walk-aways that it would be hard to name just one. The segments I will be teaching include four topics that stand alone on their own merit. Add in what Tim will teach and there will be more walk-aways than most people can fit in their luggage. The cool thing is that much of what the attendees will learn can be implemented right away and will start showing a return right away. Instant ROI!
At the end of the two days, what will really take place is an understanding of this whole new definition of customer service, of where the bar can and should be raised. After that, the businesses will have a tool box full of ways to consistently hit and exceed those standards.
PS I forgot to add... Not only will you make back your investment many times over, you'll make new friends, eat great food, and have more fun learning than you ever thought possible!