'Wiki Wiki' means 'hurry! quick! in Hawaiian. Anyone going through the airport terminal in Honolulu, Hawaii notices the signs directing one to the Wiki Wiki airport terminal shuttle. The playful words, the balmy air, the bright tropical colors --all readily accessible in the open air terminal-- assured me in no uncertain way that I was NOT in NYC!
Wiki has been getting more press lately as a means to writing collaboratively -- the most prominent and accessible example of which is Wikipedia [this link takes you to Customer Service]. If you haven't yet tried Wikipedia, the collaboratively written encyclopedia, you should. I was impressed with what I found.
From the History of Customer Service section:
The overall quality of customer service - in society and in specific industries - will continue to be determined by the relative balance of power between suppliers and consumers; it will improve as competition becomes more intense, and decline as competition decreases.Previous posts in Flooring the Consumer have mentioned that power is shifting to the consumer. Combine that with how over-retailed we have become [i.e., competition has increased dramatically] and it's no wonder that the consumer is demanding a better shopping experience.
From Strategic Advantage Through Customer Service section:
A company can outperform rivals only if it can establish a difference that it can reserve. Customer service can be such a difference. It is very difficult to control, and therefore difficult to imitate, ... because of its variability. The level of service may vary greatly between two providers in the same organization. It may also vary from one moment to another, even as delivered by the same provider. The difficulty is compounded in multi-unit operations: in addition to variability within units, there is also variability among units. That is both the challenge and the opportunity. The consistent delivery of superior service requires the careful design and execution of a whole system of activities that includes people, capital, technology, and processes. The few companies that can manage this system do stand out, and are sought out. This is the foundation of their sustainable competitive advantage.Wow! superior customer service can be the basis for sustainable competitive advantage! No wonder it leads to LOYALTY [see posting titled "Good Tea, Nice House"]!
The Customer Service Culture includes a Service Ideology:
An organization’s ideology comprises its purpose (Why are we here?) and values (What do we stand for?). Organizations renowned for providing excellent customer service have typically defined their purpose in terms of service – to serve their customers, and to serve their members. Their values typically include integrity, trustworthiness, reliability, personal responsibility, industriousness, continuous improvement, respect, and consistency.Satisfying consumers means meeting their needs in terms of Good People, Good Offerings, Convenience and Good Environment. See the table for specific and valuable details [e.g., clean and low-pressure environment...]. But, take note:
Hmmmm. Excellent customer service ---> Satisfaction ----> Loyalty ----> Recommendations ----> Profitability!
In a competitive environment, however, satisfaction may not be enough. To stay in business, firms must be at least as satisfactory as their competitors. Moreover, firms that aim to gain profitable growth must increase the number of their customers, while reducing the cost of customer acquisition. This is particularly true of companies that compete in mature industries. The objective then is not merely to satisfy customers, but to convert them into promoters (customers who recommend a company to others). Promoters serve to increase a firm’s clientele, without increasing its cost of acquisition – i.e. with no additional marketing or promotional expense. But customers do not make recommendations lightly. When they make a recommendation, they put their own reputations on the line. Firms must earn that recommendation through the consistent delivery of outstanding customer service.
And, by the way, one of the things that makes for the perception of good customer service is that it be provided promptly - that is wiki wiki!
Tags: customer service, loyalty, marketing, word-of-mouth