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Service Excellence on the Phone: Going the “Extra-Mile”

September 18, 2012 by Dr. Jon Warner in Customer Service

In any kind of modern service situation, the days of just providing a basic service are long gone. Put another way excellent service and responsiveness is a minimum expectation of all customers.

In order for organizations of any size or type to survive and thrive in this much more competitive world, they should strive to provide more than just the average service people expect (whether these are internal customers inside an organization or external customers), providing exceptional service that goes above what is expected and being as flexible as possible when asked to perform tasks of any kind. One of the best ways in which we can do this is to be well-prepared and as organized as possible.

At its most basic level, failure to prepare for something usually means that we are forced into responding in the moment or to “fly by the seat of our pants”. In other words, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. In the context of trying to give effective and responsive service to a caller on the telephone, we are immediately deciding to take no substantial steps to think about what might be expected of us and how to deal with it. As a strategy, this may well cause no great problems for some of the time but is unlikely to be effective on a consistent basis. 

Poor preparation can often shine-through when we experience poor service on the telephone. This can include anything from a simple inability to find a pen or paper to a lack of knowledge, distraction and complacency, amongst other things, which all combine to build up a poor impression. In contrast, a well-prepared person may well be quicker, more organized and competent and thereby convey a good impression, even when caller needs are highly complex or even demanding.

In an external customer context, a caller’s positive attitude towards an organization in terms of its products and services may be entirely undermined by one internal person’s lack of preparation to ensure that he or she has thought about the responses that he or she will give and the skills which need to be utilized in creating the best possible outcome.

The featured video clip is drawn from the ReadyToManage, Rapid Skill Builder Service Excellence on the Telephone Video Vignette Set.

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About Dr. Jon Warner

Dr. Jon Warner is a prolific author, management consultant and executive coach with over 25 years experience. He has an MBA and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. Jon can be reached at

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About the Editor and Primary Author

Jon Warner

Jon Warner is an executive coach and management consultant and in the past has been a CEO in three very different companies. Read more

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