As it appeared in the Daily Nation on October 8th 2019
by Dr. Lucy Kiruthu
My cousin performs tricks to entertain our young nephews and nieces. Every time I ask him to perform the tricks in my presence, he takes off. Maybe he is a unique magician, one only talented to deliver a magical experience to the young ones. He knows too well that at a certain age, one might discover the trick. Our nephews and nieces however believe that their uncle possesses some magical powers. The truth is; he has no magical power. He uses illusion and clever psychological techniques to astound and amuse the young ones whose brainpower is limited. This, he might not be able to do with a different audience. Besides the trickery, the word magic describes anything lovely, delightful or special.
As a country, we pride ourselves in having magical sceneries at our national parks. In life, we talk about magical moments. These moments have nothing to do with magic. Magical moments are special events or times that we have experienced in our lives. Such moments leave us feeling special; they are breathtaking or leave us astonished. In the world of business, a magical moment is a term used to describe exceptional interactions with customers or staff that leave them feeling “WOW”. There is nothing often unusual with most of our everyday interactions. However, when a business takes time to pre-plan its interactions with customers and staff, it can deliver an experience that is beyond expectations. Such an experience is magical.
In Kenya today, it is normal to receive a standard or substandard experience as a customer. Since this is the Customer Service Week, the experiences are likely to be different. Maybe they will be magical just for a week and it will be businesses as usual next week or maybe the experiences will remain magical throughout the year. Customer Service Week is marked worldwide every first full week of October. During this week, organizations create awareness about the need to focus more on both the internal and external customers. This year, the Customer Service Week global theme is “The Magic of Service”. According to Customer Service Group the body behind the global celebrations, this theme recognizes that good service is magical. It is magical not because it is trickery, but because it can turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied long-term customer. Secondly, it can turn an occasional customer into a repeat customer, and finally, it can turn any customer into a fan and an advocate.
In addition to the global theme, the Institute of Customer Experience Kenya (ICX-Kenya) the local body that brings together customer experience professionals has identified “Behind the Smile” as the national theme. This theme aims at creating awareness that behind frontline smiles, there should additional efforts to sustain customer service excellence all year round. If businesses commit to driving customer service excellence daily, we would not have so many experiences that make us feel “OUCH”. Smart companies know that it does not take a magician to deliver a magical experience all year round. The starting point is a commitment by all to create a culture of excellence and deliver delightful experiences at every interaction. These experiences start from the inside out. Let us aim to make every Week a Customer Service Week!
Dr. Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy