One more run at the wisdom of Julien Smith: Our final “Julien Smith is brilliant” angle? Customer Service.
Last week I wrote about Julien Smith’s common-sense diet plan. Based on a few simple ideas, it’s a great place to start if you need to lose a few pounds. Take a look; I said it then and I’ll repeat it now: Julien Smith Rocks.
I promised then to apply what I’ve coined “The Julien Smith Model” to Business Change, Customer Service, and Search Engine Optimization. We’ve already covered Search Engine Optimization and Business Change, so let’s move on to how The Julien Smith Model applies to Customer Service.
Let’s repeat the steps in The Julien Smith Model:
- Cut pollutants
- Be consistent
- Break up that consistency (and the accompanying monotony)—not for the sake of breaking it but because it’s how you shock your body into alertness
- Keep looking for new information, because he with the best information wins
In dieting, Julien’s pollutants are sugar and flour. What’s the pollutant in Customer Service? Aside from apathy, which gets in the way your execution of any business process, the problem that pollutes customer sevice is viewing it as a burden.
This issue has been debated for decades. Customer Service always starts out as a striving for excellence, and as a company grows and the costs of having a growing customer service staff on board mount the budget for customer service starts to look like a great place to pare costs.
It rarely is. Forget management theory, throw out the bean counters, and look at the range of choices that people have for spending their money. Unless you provide some amazing and non-replicable product or service, you’re no different than the next guy, and he’s still providing customer service.
Being consistent in customer service seems simple, and if you stick to a mantra like the customer is always right it can be. The problem with “the customer is always right”, though, is deciding just how far you’re willing to push the idea.
For example, if you look at the inductees to The Answer Guy’s Customer Service Wall of Shame you’ll see examples of companies that very likely have manifestos on customer service tucked away in drawers that aren’t being followed. Or look at The Story of ShopRite of Fairlawn, a $4 Overcharge For Biazzo Mozzarella Cheese, and The Manager Who Wasn’t Willing to Forgo It. A good try, but ultimately that manager decided “how right” the customer could be. Consistency in customer in service means having a policy that you can stick to, and sticking to it.
If breaking up the consistency applies in customer service, I can’t tell you how. In fact, I’ll say this: IT DOESN’T. Sorry, Julien, but like most “models” the Julien Smith Model is imperfect.
As for the “keep looking for new information” aspect: when it comes to customer service, there’s so much information being thrown at you that the issue is processing it all. The Answer Guy Can Help With Your Customer Service Information Processing, or you can spend hours analyzing it. Both methods work.
As with SEO and Business Change, Julien Smith, intending to be or not, is a customer service expert. And you can be, too. Just make a plan, and follow it.
Give the Julien Smith Model a chance . . . it really can be your business change BFF.