The Essence of Timeless Exceptional Service

By Jean Marie Johnson

When we at Communico think about our clients and the services they provide, we look through the lens of timelessness. We ask ourselves, “What's fundamental? What's at the core of making a great impression on the customer every time, regardless of industry, function or situation?”

The Foundation of Timeless Exceptional Service: Respect and Accountability

Having trained thousands of people who serve others in a multitude of situations, two qualities emerge as fundamental and timeless: respect and accountability. Building upon the foundation of these two qualities will lead your company to offer the truly exceptional customer service we all strive to deliver. The benefits of reaching this service level are substantial, as customers who receive outstanding service certainly do not forget about it and will keep coming back for more.

I have experienced two such instances of exceptional customer service where, by demonstrating respect and accountability, these individuals have gained a customer for life.

A Personal Touch Goes a Long Way

It was four days before Christmas last year and I had a minor emergency. I backed my car into a rock and needed it fixed right away. My insurance company was of little help and they were anything but empathetic. I found a local mechanic, Bill, with whom I had no previous experience.  

Not only did he repair my car, erasing all the remnants of the rock, but he personally delivered it to my front door on Christmas Eve. Here's the clincher: I hadn't even asked him to do so. As if he thought nothing of it, he simply said, “I didn't want you to be without your car for the holiday; and I know you have guests, so I brought your car to you.”

Bill's demonstration of exceptional service and regard for me as a person is the essence of respect and accountability that warms my heart. I can say, without reservation, that the next time my car breaks down I will not do business with anyone but Bill.

Demonstrate Respect and Accountability by Making Time

My husband and I run an inn in Connecticut. It is very cold up here, and a drafty old inn makes November feel like the Arctic. My husband was racing the clock, and the weather, to get everything in place for the winter season.

In desperation, he called a local handyman, Brian, to see if he could help us locate and put up the storm windows on all three floors of the inn. Brian has a full-time job at the local hardware store, as well as a list of eager customers he helps on the weekends. However, when he heard that guests were on the way to our inn, he offered to work on the windows before starting his shift at the hardware store. Brian arrived at 6:02 the next morning, flashlight in hand. His reliability and commitment illustrates both his respectfulness and his accountability. This is a perfect example of the timeless essence of exceptional service.

Much can be learned from these two individuals. By being respectful and acting in an accountable manner, they were able to offer the timeless, exceptional customer service to which many aspire.

Consider Making New Commitments from a New Foundation

As you consider the personal and professional commitments you made for this year, take a moment to consider the quality of timelessness. Think about how you can better serve your colleagues and customers from a foundation of respect and accountability.


Jean Marie Johnson is a Communico facilitator and has helped clients with their MAGIC initiatives. And for 20 years she has specialized in cultivating the customer experience as a key competitive advantage.

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