5-Star Customer Service Should Hurt a Little

2 min read · 7 years ago


An exemplary customer care experience can completely redefine how someone feels about a brand. It can turn a one-off purchase into a lifetime of loyalty and transform an average consumer into a passionate brand advocate.

Wowing your customers is a powerful tool, but when it’s done right, it should also hurt a little. Why? Because providing an above and beyond, truly memorable customer-service experience actually involves going out of your way for people. It’s not easy, or else everyone would do it.

Exceptional care means actually doing more than what your customers expect – and believe me, your customers expect a lot. For anyone looking to implement this kind of result in their business, I believe it’s about instilling the following beliefs in your teams.  

Related: Becoming Indispensable to Your Customers

Everybody can wow a customer.

A few years ago I was staying in a hotel on business in California and woke up early for a meeting only to find that the hotel’s café wasn’t open yet. While I was trying to decide on an alternate course of action, a maintenance man from the hotel unlocked the door for me and insisted on helping me in any way he could. Before I knew it, he was preparing a bagel and orange juice for me – even though the café was still closed.

The point? Great customer care isn’t just about having a well-trained customer care team. It’s about empowering everyone in your company to use their discretion to go above and beyond. Don’t just pay lip-service to this. Ingrain this mentality into your employees: Everyone, across your entire organization, is empowered to do what’s necessary to wow the customer.

Related: Customers Are Not Always Right. They Are Just Never Wrong.

The customer is god.

I was once lucky enough to travel to Japan on business. There I learned there that while we in the U.S. are proud to say, “the customer is always right,” Japanese corporate culture follows a different, more extreme, maxim: okyaku-sama wa kami-sama desu or “the customer is god. This might seem a little over the top, but remember, the customer is the creator-in-chief of your business.

We’ll always have moments where our customers frustrate us with seemingly outrageous demands but without them, your business doesn’t exist. Your employees should treat them accordingly.

Swans only need to look good above water.

While it takes a great deal of stress, training, process, software and general hard work to provide effective support, it’s also vital that your customers never sense that effort. It is one of the great ironies of customer service.

For the customer, a delightful customer experience appears like a swan on the water: You might be paddling like a madman, but the appearance above the water should be serene. This isn’t easy, but it’s genuinely what separates a good support experience from the people they tell their friends about.

So remember, you commit to empowering your employees, elevating your customers and concealing the behind-the-scenes work required to deliver great care. It might hurt you a little, but your customers will love you for it.

Related: The 3 Essentials Customers Want Most