How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

Outstanding, Unbelievable, Fantastic & Totally Impressive

That’s how we’d all like people to describe our customer experience and service levels when doing business with us, isn’t it?

A couple of years ago, while I was on holiday with my family in the South of France, we noticed a few boards hanging on the walls of our favourite restaurant, written in chalk and advertising the guest wines of the month.

Each board started with one word, written big and bold – OUFTI – a word we’d never heard before and one that we couldn’t find in any of our dictionaries .

Turns out that OUFTI is a Belgian / French word.



So OUFTI became the word of the holiday.

When it became too hot, or a hill was too steep or a meal was mind-blowingly exceptional – one of my family would inevitably exclaim “OUFTI”.

That summer I was also writing a new Customer Service workshop for a fairly major client – and so OUFTI just had to make an appearance.

That’s where my acronym comes from;


Outstanding, Unbelievable, Fantastic & Totally Impressive

At Varda Kreuz, we measure Customer Service from Worst to Best like this;

OMGA (Oh My Giddy Aunt)


This is when you walk into your hotel room, walk straight back down to reception and say;

“Were you really thinking of letting me sleep in that?”

I’ve Had Worse


There are tables in the restaurant that haven’t been cleared, you have to ask for yours to be wiped clean and the staff are chatting to each other while leaning against the back wall when you want to order another drink for your kids. But there’s nothing really wrong with the meal – so you say to your partner;

“It wasn’t bad for what it was – but I’m not rushing back.”

It’s OK


When you’re served in a retail environment and you think;

“I’m sure I deserve better than this. Technically there’s nothing wrong – but is this really how you value my hard earned cash?”

Just Right


A birthday surprise weekend where – due to the attentive, well trained staff and the quality of the product and service on offer – everything simply happened just when you wanted it to and was exactly how you wanted it to be.

OUFTI – Outstanding, Unbelievable, Fantastic & Totally Impressive


You don’t just tell your friends about it – you post a 5 Star review and tell everyone who will listen – and you’re determined to return as soon as you possibly can.

You write to the manager and staff to say thank you.

Importantly – it doesn’t have to be expensive or a once-in-a-lifetime experience – it just needs to resonate perfectly with you and those who matter to you.

So, if you want to make sure you deliver this exceptional level of service, it might help to consider this equation;

S = D – E

Satisfaction = Delivery – Expectation

You see, your customers have a level of expectancy, and if that is exceeded by the service that you provide – voila – Customer Satisfaction.

But you must understand this – it all comes from the customer’s perception of what they expected and what they believe they ended up with.

What was actually delivered matters not a jot to this equation – it’s all about whether the customer feels satisfied or not.

It’s a little easier to explain with this illustration;

If you deliver a 5 (OUFTI) and the customer has been used to receiving Zero (OK) from everyone else, then that works out like this;

5 – 0 = 5 (OUFTI)

However, if you just deliver an OK – ZERO – but the customer was expecting to be treated to a 5 (OUFTI), then;

0 – 5 = Minus 5 (OMGA)

The trick is to find a way of delivering a positive score – actually, if you can consistently produce a score above neutral – OK – then you’re probably already better than 80% of the competition.

So how do we do that?

  • You’ve got to recognise what your current customers regard as OK – then work out how to consistently beat it.
  • Thoroughly understand the levels of service that your nearest competitors deliver – and work out how to consistently beat that.

Put the two together and find which parts are most important to the customer and where they see the most value – and then work out how to amplify the result.

The trouble of course, is that whenever you introduce a high level of service, it quickly becomes the expected norm – customers will get quite grumpy whenever it drops away.

But rest easy – you’ll have an extremely high class kind of problem when whatever you class as OK is consistently better than whatever it is your competition delivers – and especially when your OUFTI is the kind of experience that customers have trouble finding anywhere else.


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