What does exceptional customer service look like?
Many businesses claim to have exceptional customer service but in reality, few do anything substantially different than their competitors. Being nice to customers isn’t enough. Saying please and thank you, while a good start, isn’t different enough to get noticed. One of my favorite companies, ADS Security, a growing regional security firm headquartered in Nashville, knows what it takes. Even their own industry labels them “Superstars of Service” honoring them as SDM’s (Security Distributing and Marketing) 2014 Dealer of the Year. They also received the Best Customer Service Excellence award in the Besthomesecuritycompanys.com 2014 “Besty” awards. Founded in 1990, ADS is a $38.5 million dollar company, ranked 25th largest in their industry and growing 6-7% per year through acquisitions and a high retention of customers in a high turnover industry.
How do they do it?
- They are laser focused in their mission statement. Revised in 2013 it now reads, “Through our legendary service we will create raving fans who tell seven friends about ADS”.
- They embrace technology. In today’s world, being first to offer new customer-centric conveniences is an advantage. But not just any technology or service. They screen them by asking, “What will be synergistic with our existing customer base and maintain or develop our relationships with vendors?” according to Tom Szell, senior vice president, East Region.
- Customer feedback is at the core of their operating processes. They have instituted specific disciplines to drive customer loyalty such as customer survey responses sent immediately to technician, sales consultant and support and management staff. Technicians send hand written thank you notes to customers; more than 10,000 were sent last year. A new program offers points to customer which they can exchange for services. Employees are not only empowered to act but encouraged to take accountability to resolve problems quickly.
- They invest in customer support. They recognize that it takes the whole company to make it work and invest in technical support, data entry and customer care as central to the organization’s mission.
- They are clear with employees about expectations. They all attend ADS University where they learn about the commitment to service, are encouraged to participate in industry seminars and challenged to accept personal accountability for excellence in customer service.
John Cerasuolo, ADS Security CEO explains, “Our commitment to legendary service is more than a slogan or policy, it is deeply rooted in the culture of our company. I could not be more proud of our team and their understanding of the critical role creating Raving Fans plays in our long term success.”
If your company has customer service as its mission, take a few pointers from ADS and go all-in in order to pull away from the crowd.
You can read the entire article on ADS Security here.