ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

KISS your Way To Outstanding Service

Updated on June 30, 2012
It is what it is unless it isn't
It is what it is unless it isn't | Source

Keep It Simple

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, when Apple Computer was without Steve Jobs at the helm, the company greatly diversified its product line, making dozens of different Macintosh computers, with a dizzying array of options and configurations and model numbers. It was nearly impossible to figure out which model was the right one for what you needed. There was product overlap, with consumer models duplicating professional models and professional models duplicating educational models and so on. The strategy of trying to cover all the bases with pre-configured options failed, as consumers were confused rather than inspired by the product offerings. Once the product line was simplified, with only a few models and a few options, did sales turn around and satisfaction with the products increase.

Across every industry and every service area, you will find companies the try to be everything to everyone. Some succeed and some fail. Some simplify and others vanish. Some decide that specific offerings with limited options are the way to go. Some decide that simple offerings with unlimited options is the way to go. Either way, keeping your offerings as simple and easy to understand as possible enables you to streamline your customer service experience end to end.


Can you give customers too many product choices?

See results

Sesame Seed Bun

We all know the song made famous by the McDonald's Big Mac. It told us exactly what we would get when we ordered one: two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. This was simple, uncomplicated. As the customer, we did not need to decide the makeup of the sandwich, we only needed to decide if we liked the combination of ingredients enough to order one. We of course had the ability to modify the sandwich, but the basics were laid out for us in plain, easy to understand fashion. A competitor of McDonald's laid their offerings out in a slightly different fashion. Yes, certain sandwiches were made in a certain way, but Burger King told us that we could have it "Your Way" if we wanted to. Even though they offered unlimited customization, the base products were laid out for us and we did not have to build our own burgers if we chose not to.

From the other side comes Subway. They have their menu laid out clearly and, thought hey lack a catchy jingle, we know what should go in to a sandwich either based on its name or the picture on the menu. While this may seem to be the same methodology used by the other two companies, the similarities end there. When you order, say, a B-L-T at Subway, you know from experience that a B-L-T stands for bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. No more, no less, else it would not be a B-L-T. (Condiments don't count.) If one were to add pickles and onions, you would have a B-L-T-P-O, which would be a mouth full to order and would likely taste awful. Nevertheless, you are consistently offered the ability to add additional items such as pickles, onions, hot peppers, spinach (yes, spinach) to your B-L-T. The same goes for every sandwich, so much so that the names on the menu become misleading and confusing. Take the Chicken, Bacon Ranch sandwich. Based on the name of the product, one would expect chicken, bacon, and ranch dressing at a minimum be included on the sandwich. Based on the information provided about the product, we know that it should also come with lettuce and tomatoes. When ordering this sandwich though, you will be asked consistently if you would like bacon on it, or ranch dressing, or to add anything else. This makes the menu more of a rough guide, perhaps even a showcase of what you could build with the options available. The Subway menu is akin to the assembly instruction booklet you get with Lego sets. In the back of the book, you get pictures of all the other things you can make with the set.

If we do not guide our customers, the service experience will fail
If we do not guide our customers, the service experience will fail | Source

Be Perfectly Clear

While it may seem a stretch to believe that the average consumer will be greatly confused by the menu at Subway, the point is that if we do not guide the customer properly, our service experience will fail. If we sell blue widgets and only blue widgets, customers will come to us for blue widgets and be satisfied. The moment we start offering widgets that are more green than blue, or offer total customization that moves us away from our core offering is the moment we put our customer service experience at risk. We open ourselves up to disappointing the customer.

While I am not advocating that we eliminate the ability to customize products and services, I am saying that we need to have established boundaries for the products and services. For example, offering widgets in varying shades of blue, or with and without wheels, is a way to customize our widget offerings. We define what we will and will not offer and set the expectation with the customer. A simple and direct approach with well defined product and service offerings ensures our ability to provide an outstanding customer service experience.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 

      6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Too right Jeff. You need to break it down for the customer, keeping it simple and especially avoid using jargon. I find that if you take the time to find out what the customer wants or needs that you can then tailor the features and benefits in a simple way to get them involved. Cheers Michael

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)