Uplifting Blog

Give Them The 1 Percent For Service Excellence

Customer service excellence sometimes calls for doing things a little differently than normal. Bending rules to deliver can leave a very positive impression.

One of my favorite examples of this comes from a time when I was staying in a small hotel in Tokyo. My seminar would begin early the next morning, and the venue was an hour away.

I called the front desk before going to sleep to order coffee and sliced papaya for 6:30 a.m. The clerk said Room Service only opened at 7:30 a.m. Too late for comfort.

I thought coffee and papaya could be easily prepared by the first person into the kitchen and asked hopefully, “How about delivery at 7:00 a.m.?”

“Ah, 7:00 a.m.,” the receptionist sighed in careful English. “I can tell you now it is 99 percent difficult.”

“Thank you,” I replied. “Please give me the 1 percent.”

He laughed over the phone and said, “I understand.” And then he wished me goodnight.

At 7:00 a.m. the doorbell rang. Room Service appeared with hot coffee and sliced papaya. The 1 percent had delivered.

Key Learning Point For Customer Service Excellence

Everyone has rules to follow, schedules, systems and procedures. Close to those plans is a border where flexibility can be applied – even if it’s only 1 percent. One percent can make all the difference in regard to customer service excellence.

The next time your customer asks for something extra or something different, needs a little more care, compassion or effort, you can tell them it is “99 percent difficult” – or you can deliver the 1 percent.

Action Steps For Customer Service Excellence

Look carefully at the rules and procedures you follow every day. Now look again to see what can be changed or adapted when required for customer service excellence. Of course some rules should never be broken: safety, security, integrity, legal compliance and health. But when you can be flexible, perhaps you should to deliver customer service excellence. Some rules are meant to be bent.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpliftingService.com.

For commercial use of this article in a paid newsletter, publication, or training program, please contact us.

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