I recently sat through a technical sales training session by sales excellence expert Sam Kariuki who was coaching Energy Engineers to effectively communicate and ‘sell’ their world changing passions. He referred to page 66 of his book on entrepreneurship The Guy Who Fired His Boss – where the business hierarchy of needs is outlined. As Sam went on to expound on the critical need to understand where in the hierarchy a business is, to effectively match the communication, I kept thinking about the role of customer service excellence within this hierarchy and where and when to apply it.

So let’s unpack the hierarchy and make note of exactly where customer service plays a role and to what extent the space in which an organization is playing within this hierarchy, influences service delivery.

When examining the issues affecting organizations, and what must occupy their boardroom thoughts as they transition through the triangle, providing superior customer service stands out as a solution to all pressing problems.
When faced with financial survival needs – there is no better, more cost effective and more impactful tool ever created than word of mouth marketing. Viral word of mouth is a direct result of excellent customer service experiences that turn customers into brand ambassadors. The solution for enterprises at this stage of life is to apply delightful customer experiences always.

Businesses, plagued with productivity issues, requiring to increase efficiency and optimize on the resources available, stand an optimistic chance of delivering on their objectives by upping their internal customer service game. An enthused workforce that knows that the leadership of the organization cares and is rooting for their success, are the very source of brilliant ideas on how to cut costs and increase efficiency. The solution for enterprises at this stage of life is to completely delight the internal customer and wait for positive results.

In their advisory to customers, Sales Force © mentions that “The most successful businesses have one thing in common – great customer service. Unlike differentiators of quality, innovation or price, great customer service is a differentiator that can’t be bought; it’s a competitive advantage that can only be earned.” Enterprises worldwide need not look any further than at this description of what delivering excellent customer service can do for a business and how impactful it is on the bottom line. The solution for organizations fighting for competitiveness in the business hierarchy of needs is to purposefully create delightful customer experiences.

Self-actualization for corporates aligns directly with brand equity that is loosely defined as the commercial value derived from consumer perception of a brand name rather than from the product or service itself. The question then begs – what creates powerful brand names? Human beings are emotional creatures and the ‘feel good’ factor is what drives up brand value. Brands that create emotive connections with customers get recognized for it and have reputation to protect and live up to. To fight to keep in brand leadership position requires maintenance of delighted customers through the brand life cycle.

So there you have it! At no point in an organization’s life cycle is customer service execution more or less important than the other. It pays to focus on the customer and to have the entire business aligned to customer centricity. The question of how to sustain customer delight, and how to ensure products and services are geared towards eliciting a feel good outcome for customers, should never be far from any entrepreneur’s lips. Whether just starting out or already at conglomerate level, the prescribed medicine is the same – Customer delight to be dished out to customers in huge doses.