Shep Hyken

By Shep Hyken

Deliver the Kind of Customer Service That Would Make Radar Proud!

150 150 Shep Hyken

Do you remember the hit TV show M*A*S*H, which played from 1972 to 1983, and was based on the novel and movie by the same name? While you might consider the show a sitcom, many critics viewed it as a “dramedy,” instead of a comedy, because of its heavy dramatic setting, which was a medical unit during the Korean War. Sure, the show created a lot of laughs, but the message behind the show was very serious. But what does M*A*S*H have to do with customer service?

One of the characters of the show, Corporal Walter “Radar” O’Reilly, played by Gary Burghoff, actually was the customer service department for the M*A*S*H unit. Radar worked for Colonel Potter, who led the unit. It always led to laughs whenever Colonel Potter barked out a request for a file, only to have Radar walking into his office with that file, even before the Colonel had finished making his request. It was as though he could read his leader’s mind, or as his nickname indicates, as though he had radar.

This frequently-played humorous incident from the show reminded me of another incident – an interview I had recently with a potential employee who was applying to be my assistant here at Shepard Presentations. During the interview, I asked her, “What makes a good assistant?” She simply replied, “Radar O’Reilly.” When I asked her to explain this unexpected, brief answer, she said, “Oh, that’s the kind of assistant I want to be – knowing what you want before you even ask for it.”

I thought it was an excellent response. Whether you are assisting an executive or assisting a customer, one of the many attributes of someone who delivers outstanding customer service is the ability to anticipate a customer’s needs – like Radar, knowing what he or she wants even before they ask.

This doesn’t take E.S.P., Extra Sensory Perception, which is the ability to read minds. Instead, it takes what I call E.A.P., or Extra Awareness Perception, which is the ability to know more, because you are simply more aware and are paying closer attention than the average employee. That’s it. Just pay close attention to your customers, their behaviors, and their habits. When you begin to study your customers, and get to know them and their habits, you’ll be able to anticipate or predict, with uncanny accuracy, what they will ask for next – sometimes even before they know they need to ask.

So, as we think about Radar O’Reilly’s uncanny ability to anticipate Colonel Potter needs, see if you can also determine what your customers are going to ask for next. If you try it, you may find that your guess is more accurate than you think. Take the initiative and deliver a standard of customer service that would make Radar proud. The result will be … customer amazement!

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