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Jim Collins, author of the bestselling business book, Good to Great said, “Good is the enemy of great.”

A twist on this excellent concept is that, “Good is the foundation of exceptional.”

A good customer service experience is doing what you are supposed to do. That’s expected. In other words, it meets basic expectations. It’s satisfactory. It’s just good. Beyond satisfactory – and beyond good – is an exceptional customer service. And, according to Nate Spears, the Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder of ClearSource, exceptional customer service is anything you do beyond that is better than just good.

I had an excellent interview on my Amazing Business Radio show with Nate. His company, ClearSource provides customer support via phone, email, chat and social media for companies that want to outsource their customer service. Nate believes that good customer service is just a foundation to something better. He quoted Daymond John, one of the “sharks” on the hit TV show Shark Tank, who said, “Great customer service is when you do for the customer everything you can do after you have done what you are supposed to do.”

Nate says, “Doing what you’re supposed to do builds trust. And, trust is the foundation to the customer experience.” Once again we’re back to the old expression, “People want to be around people and do business with people they know, like and… trust!”

Trust creates confidence. Confidence turns into repeat business. And when the customer comes back and experiences the consistent positive experience that they had the last time – and the time before – that repeated positive experience becomes predictable and can turn into customer loyalty.

This is why it concerns me when companies talk about “satisfying” their customers. Some people might say this is semantics – or that I’m just playing with words. No way! Satisfactory is not acceptable if you want to be competitive in your market. I believe when a company says they want to satisfy their customers, they actually intend to be better than that, but are just using the wrong word to describe it.

Think of it this way. If you were asked to take a survey of a recent customer service experience, and they asked you to rate the service on a one to five scale, where one is bad and five is great, satisfactory would be in the middle. Satisfactory is good or average.

Maybe I’m not playing word games. Maybe it’s not semantics. Satisfying customers is really just creating an average experience. So, if good is the enemy of great, then satisfaction is the enemy of an exceptional – even an amazing – customer experience. In other words, don’t settle for good. Make it the starting point. Make it foundational.

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Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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About Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.

Shep works with companies and organisations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business, go to

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