There's a popular concept of “excellence in customer service,” which is based on the idea of individual staff members swooping in to save customers, going “above and beyond,” creating “wow moments,” and being “customer service heroes.”
Note: Please use a heavily cynical internal voice when reading the quoted phrases above. Text alone cannot fully embody my disdain for this unrealistic and anemic understanding of service. No matter how talented, dedicated, and good-hearted any individual person is, in the long term they will not overcome the crushing weight of a business that does not deeply value customer experience.
Yes, some customers will sometimes receive great service through the exceptional efforts of individuals. But a healthy, sustainable customer service department must deliver good service even when the lycra suits are all in the laundry and the big-name heroes are having a mental health day.
Repeatable, high-quality customer service experiences come from building a customer-centric business and creating processes and policies that produce good results by default rather than by exception. Tina Turner was right: We don’t need another hero.
On the other hand, though … if customer service really was staffed by heroes, who would they be?
The League of Extraordinary Service
In a secret base that’s at a safe distance from a volcano and equipped with surprisingly excellent wifi, a group of heroes has been gathered from all over the world. They generally work from home these days, but this is one last gathering before the lease expires and the base is turned into a second YouTube studio for a child who makes unboxing videos.
Let’s meet our heroes.
Professor Queue: Using her incredible powers of mind-reading (it works even over email,) the Professor intuits the actual need of any customer, as opposed to what they ask for.
Pathfinder: Traveling in time across the infinite strands of the multiverse, Pathfinder can identify the one true conversational path that leads to customer satisfaction and a smiley face on the feedback survey.
Iron Will: No matter how many times the same question has already been answered, never shall Iron Will send an “as I noted in my previous reply” message.
Omnisaascience With unparalleled awareness of every SaaS product in the known universe, Omnisaascience is able to offer a recommendation for any business problem customers bring, no matter unrelated from the actual supported product in question.
Haystack: When everybody is head-down, working through conversations one at a time, Haystack will spot the three different emails that — put together — indicate a major problem is about to erupt.
Copycat: Monday morning queue heaving with 600 conversations, all labeled “urgent”? Never fear, Copycat can duplicate up to 23 times to crush that queue — and still only use one help desk license. Bargain.
Sentimentalist: Able to absorb up to 10,000 conversations worth of customer anger, stress, and confusion. Sentimentalist can also turn those emotions into an energy source for the League’s base — if the correct adapter is available.
Highly Visible Man: Your support team will never be forgotten by other teams in your company when Highly Visible Man is around. No matter where the meeting is held or who is on the invite list, he will be to make sure your interests are represented.
Retrograde: Customer accidentally deleted their account? Engineers unleashed a bug-filled nightmare on Friday evening? Retrograde’s powers can selectively turn back time so they can have a second go at things.
Who would you add to your own customer service superhero league? Tweet your answer to us!