Exceptional Service: Extra Toppings Without Sacrifice.

Exceptional service is often recognized by not being recognized. Exceptional—not good—service is demonstrated by actions that are assumed and relied upon by the customer to be the norm. Exceptional service is providing the extraordinary and value added without being asked. For companies that break this trust, being “recognized” may very well result in disenfranchised customers and lost business.

Exceptional service means continually providing the “extra toppings” instead of the “order in, order out” mindset that is unfortunately undertaken by many good souls that range from the on-line customer support center to the local pizza delivery guy.  Each is vigilantly following their company’s policy. However, if not clearly understood by the employee---the company’s face-to-customer ambassador—the policy can negatively impact product quality that is critical to establishing credibility, brand loyalty and increased profitability.

I’m betting that each of us at one time in our youth have had the dubious distinction of being an accomplice to the pizza parlor pay-off. Like generations before us and what will be for generations to come, you were enlisted by your friends to help test---okay haze—the pizza delivery guy to see if he was going to get that round slab ofirresistible cheesy goodness within the “30 minutes guaranteed or it’s free!” challenge.

It was rare we ever got the savory saucer without coughing up some dough. The pizza parlor may have caught onto our devious, youthful indiscretions---or just as likely, not. The same order could have been placed for a party, family dinner or business function. Whatever the case, the pizza parlor thought that they had provided exceptional service, as they met the corporate 30-minute delivery doctrine. Order in. Order Out. Corporate policy followed. ---Take that you rowdy, rebellious runts!

However, the pizza parlor’s payday of the mere Hamilton or Jackson (soon to be Tubman) was short lived. You see, the pizza parlor pie maker (say that three times fast) was so focused on meeting the “one topping mandate,” of speed, the pie was not baked to crispy crust perfection. Furthermore, the pizza delivery guy neglected to place the culinary delight in the insulated sack.  It makes no difference if it was a bunch of adolescent pranksters. The flimsy, lukewarm pizza was on time, but unacceptable. While exceptional service was measured in speed, product quality was sacrificed. Customer retention, trust and preference were largely diminished.

Exceptional service should never sacrifice the quality of the product. Customers should never have to ask for exceptional service from their supplier as the extra toppings should be part of that supplier’s culture and the way in which they conduct business.