Customer service gives you a competitive edge; it’s that simple. If what you sell is the same as what your competitors sell, customer service can be the thing that tips the scales in your favor. For superior customer service, many customers will drive further, wait longer and even be willing to spend more.

Companies that deliver a higher level of customer service are, in a word, amazing. Amazing customer service is not an over-the-top, “wow!” level of service. Amazing customer service is just a little better than average — all the time. It’s that consistency that makes the difference. It’s that consistency that drives customer loyalty.

A little bit better than average is within the grasp of every company. Sure, some companies will have the opportunity to wow their customers with over-the-top service, but that extreme level of service is impossible to sustain. When you study the best companies, what you will find is that they are a little better than average and consistently so.

Typically, superior customer service is a once-in-a-while occurrence. Usually, something has to happen that prompts an employee to go the extra mile to fix a problem or react to a situation. However, the best business owners don’t wait for an incident to happen. They look at all the typical “touch points” a customer has within their organizations and find ways to bump up the experience. Their goal is to “operationalize” it — make it standard operating procedure.

So how does this happen? You may have the right systems in place, but that’s nothing without the right people. Owners, executives and managers each play their part, but when it comes to great customer service, your title doesn’t matter. Everyone has a role in delivering great service. Everyone can become the role model that others look up to and want to emulate. Customer service is not a department, it’s a philosophy and it’s everyone’s job.

So, here’s the bottom line: If a company wants to be known as amazing, your company must be committed to being consistently better than average. This takes focus and constant attention to detail. If you can deliver this level of service, clients and prospects will go out of their way to find you.

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Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and best-selling author. For more information on Shep’s speaking presentations, call 314-692-2200, email shep@hyken.com or go to www.hyken.com.