Best CSWhat is the very best customer service experience you ever had? Where was it? What did you like about it? What made it stand out? What made it memorable? And the most important question, is it possible for you to duplicate that experience in your own business?

Your experience may or may not have come from someone in your industry. It doesn’t matter. It’s even better if it comes from outside your industry. You can learn from it and duplicate, at least in concept, the most important parts of the experience.

That said, typically the first place someone will go to when looking outside of their own company to create a better customer service experience is their competition. What does the competition do that we don’t? That’s not a bad idea, but the mistake in doing so is that most companies try to copy their competition. In essence, you end up playing keep-up, or even worse, catch-up. Your competition may provide you with some ideas, but they are not the ones to duplicate. Instead, look for ways to modify what you learn from them. Don’t copy them. Instead, adapt and put your personal spin to it.

However, other companies outside of your industry may be an even better place to find a good customer service example. And, unlike your competition, the ideas you get from them may be worth duplicating. Think of that restaurant you were just at. What about the hotel that included some nice amenities? Or the delivery company that picked up and delivered on time, if not even a little early. Or the project that ended on time and under budget. All of these examples have something anybody or any company can learn from and emulate.

Just last year I wrote Amaze Every Customer Every Time. In that book I chose a role model, Ace Hardware, to use as an example that everyone can learn from. There are 52 tactics and strategies to help a company – any type of company – provide an amazing customer experience. I know that most people who have read this book are not in the retail hardware business, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn from one of the best customer-focused companies on the planet. It doesn’t matter if your business is B2B, B2C, or online. I’ll make an argument that every tool in the book can be applied to any type of business. The point is, most likely Ace Hardware isn’t your competition, but I bet you can take many of their ideas and incorporate them into your customer service strategy.

So, back to the best customer experience you have ever received. What can you learn from it, duplicate, and incorporate into your business?