What is Hero-Class Customer Service? Part 1

January 28, 2013

I’ve searched for a long time for a phrase to describe a level of service that is both amazing in its quality and impressive in its delivery.

Hero-Class Customer Service | CTS Man With Cape

Sure, I’ve used the typical phrases for years — world-class customer service, platinum-level customer service, 5-star customer service — and so on. But these phrases are common, and as such, have many meanings.

What you mean when you say “world-class customer service” and what I mean can be two completely different things.

I wanted a phrase that was not overused and that had a specific meaning. A term, well, that could have a specific definition.

In the end, I chose Hero-ClassTM Customer Service.

What is Hero-ClassTM Customer Service?

The phrase Hero-ClassTM Customer Service embodies the concept that every delivery of superior customer service involves a hero of some sort. They might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound or control sea creatures telepathically, but the customer facing professionals who deliver consistently excellent customer service are heroes to their customers.

In a world filled with poor service, administrative hassles, and a digitally-distracted populace, the attention and focus great customer service reps give their customers makes them heroic to most.

What Are the Qualities of a Customer Service Hero?

My original framework for this section referenced Joseph Campbell’s construction of the hero’s journey. In thinking about the matter, however, a customer service hero is a hero in a different sense.

A customer service hero is less like a hero who has endured a long and arduous journey filled with trials and tribulations (though some days feel like that) and is more like a person whom is simply a hero to someone else. The kind of person who makes people say, you’re my hero.

In other words, a customer service hero is not so much Odysseus as Superman.

As such, our modern comic book heroes seemed to provide a better sense of what a customer service hero looks like and what Hero-ClassTM Customer Service entails.

Here are some of the fundamental characteristics of all customer service heroes:

  • Impenetrable Skin — Like Superman, customer service heroes need a thick skin. Just as bullets and buses bounce off of the Man of Steel, customer facing professionals are often on the receiving end of anger and blame and need the ability for these verbal arrows to bounce off of them.
  • The Right Tools — Batman has his handy utility belt; customer service heroes have an assortment of tools at their disposal to deliver a great customer experience.
  • Invisibility — Customer service heroes have the ability to be present, without being seen or heard. Like the Invisible Woman, they can easily make their presence felt or not felt as the situation calls for.
  • Hyperawareness — Like Spiderman, the spidey-senses of customer service heroes tingle when something is off. Whether its a delivery truck parked by the wrong door or an impatient look from a customer, customer service heroes sense problems before they go too far and take proactive action to address them before significant damage is done.
  • Ability to Thrive in Difficult Environment — Not everyone is cut out for customer facing roles, and some customer facing roles are just plain tough. Like Aquaman, customer service heroes have the ability to thrive in environments that others cannot, and it makes them stronger every day they do so.
  • Secret Identity — Like most superheroes, customer service heroes have a secret identity — meaning a personal life. Customer service heroes know to put their professional costumes or game-face on when they are on the job.
  • Super Speed — Like the Flash, customer service heroes are lightning quick. Sometimes the solution or answer is not quick, but the response should always be.
  • Thrives On a Team — Oftentimes, a job is too big for one person; it requires a team. Like the Justice League of America or The Avengers, sometimes even the best customer service heroes cannot do it alone.

The above list focuses on the heroes that deliver Hero-ClassTM Customer Service, but what does that service look like in the aggregate? What does it look like when an organization full of customer service heroes works together to deliver an incredible customer experience?

For that, please join us for Thursday’s post: What Is Hero-Class Customer Service? Part 2.

What does a customer service hero look like to you?

Hero-ClassTM Customer Service is a trademark of CTS Service Solutions.

18 thoughts on “What is Hero-Class Customer Service? Part 1”

  1. Love this analogy and new term, Adam! I think the one attribute I would add to the list is the power to act. Customer service heroes don’t wait for permission, they just see a problem and fix it (and sometimes deal with the repercussions later).

  2. Ooooh, one of my favourite posts of yours so far! What a cool superhero idea. Great analogy. Kudos to you. Cheers! Kaarina P.S. I just had one of those OMG customer non-experiences with an online company today. How’d you like a GP on it? There was definitely no hero, never mind superhero in this story.

    1. Thanks so much Kaarina! that means a lot coming from you.

      Always interested in GP’s, and, of course, from you. Let’s chat privately to see if the story will work.

  3. Lovely article. Really makes you re-think how hard people and companies have to work to go to that top level of Cust-Serv.


  4. I love the phrase “Hero-Class Customer Service,” Adam. What a wellspring of examples and ideas you’ll have to draw on. One that came to mind immediately is “What’s Your Customer Service Kryptonite?” What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to delivering hero-class customer service?

    For example, never put The Incredible Hulk on the front line of customer service. His temper will get him every time! 😉

    1. Okay, you win Comment of the Month Michelle! Anyone who drops two great blog post ideas in a comment immediately wins a prize — even if it’s just a made-up one. Love both ideas, and you’re right, I had not really entertained the potential offshoots. But hey, every great superhero franchise has to have a spinoff, right?

      Thanks for the igniting the brainstorming engine! Killer comment.

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