Outrageous Customer Service—Really?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was visiting my mom recently when I noticed that the senior living apartments she lives in has two taglines. One, “Building Healthy Communities,” is nice, a little innocuous. The other, “Outrageous Customer Service,” made me laugh.

Can you see the problems with “Outrageous Customer Service?” First, “Outrageous” could be good or bad. If I ask my son how skydiving went, he might tell me it was epic, or he might say it was outrageous. Either way, I understand that to be positive. Conversely, if I ask my son how much Valentine’s dinner cost and he tells me the bill was “outrageous,” I assume he doesn’t mean that in a good way.

When you open yourself and your company up to ridicule, you’d better be extra vigilant in managing your brand. Otherwise, you may go from attempting to provide “outrageous” customer service to providing “outrageous” service.

Another problem with “Outrageous” customer service is it sets the bar very high. That can be a good thing, but unless your business model supports the delivery of “outrageous” service, you are setting your customers up for disappointment. It’s sort of like naming your company, “Spotless Carpet Cleaning” and leaving big stains on the carpet. If you don’t measure up to your name, you invite extra scorn.

Today’s lesson: be careful how you position yourself and your business. Pick descriptive words that don’t mean both great and terrible, and be sure you have the business model to support your positioning. Otherwise, you look like a braggart and a buffoon.

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