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DistributionWhenever I call Federal Express to arrange an outgoing shipment of Ron Kaufman books, tapes, videos and learning resources, FedEx already knows my name, address and account number … even before I tell them who is calling.

FedEx has linked “inbound caller identification” to their customer database to improve customer experience. With this powerful combination, they do know who is calling … before they answer the phone.

What impresses me most is that FedEx remembers any new telephone numbers I call from and automatically updates its database to improve customer experience. Now they know it’s me whether I call from my office, home or mobile phone.

It’s just a small touch to improve customer experience, but it’s nice (and very convenient) to hear FedEx say “Good morning, Mr. Kaufman. Are you calling to arrange a shipment from 50 Bayshore Park?”

Compare this with the telephone service from my favorite airline and taxi companies. When I call to make a reservation, they ask for my account or priority number each and every time.

Fair enough, they don’t have inbound caller identification and they want a quick way of knowing who I am.

But every time I call, they ask for my telephone number, too. Don’t they keep that essential information in their records?

Finally, I asked. The airline and taxi database systems do provide access to all my information (including telephone numbers), but that data is “two screens away” from the first screen presented to the reservations agent.

So it’s simply easier for them to ask for the same basic information from me each and every time. Easier for them – not for me. They could improve customer experience by putting their convenience second.

Key learning point to improve customer experience

Service improvements in one industry soon impact customer expectations in another. The service I get from FedEx influences what I expect from airline and taxi companies.

This transfer of expectations is true in many dimensions of service, including accessibility, after-sales service, ordering and payment flexibility, service recovery policies, upgrade procedures and more.

Question: Which came first: drive-through banking or drive-through restaurants?

My answer: Who cares? They are both common, and expected, today to improve customer experience.

Action steps to improve customer experience

If you want to be on the leading edge of customer service and customer expectations, look beyond your own industry, beyond what you and your competitors are doing, beyond the obvious “next step.”

To keep your business out in front, you must benchmark yourself against the best in every industry… and throughout the world and improve customer experience accordingly.

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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “UP! Your Service” books and founder of UP! Your Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at

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About Ron Kaufman

Ron is one of the world’s most sought-after educators, consultants, thought-leaders and customer service speakers in achieving superior service.

He is the author of New York Times bestseller ‘Uplifting Service’ and 14 other books on service, business and inspiration. Ron is also a regular columnist at Bloomberg Business Week and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today.

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