By Shep Hyken

This is a crazy idea, but hear me out. When I was a kid, we had home-cooked meals almost every night.

I thought my mom was the greatest cook in the world. She could make the best chicken. As a matter of fact, she made chicken almost every night. It turns out she could follow a recipe and had bought a book that had 365 chicken recipes—one for each day of the year. I remember the day she came home with the cookbook. As a kid, I never tired of the taste of chicken. Can’t say my adult pallet would enjoy such monotony, but I digress.

I started thinking about all those chicken recipes. There were so many: fried chicken, baked chicken, stuffed chicken, chicken with carrots, chicken with broccoli, chicken in orange sauce…. You get the idea. As different as each of those meals tasted, it was still chicken.

What if business was like a chicken dinner? So many ways to serve chicken—so many ways you can amaze your customer. And like chicken, customer service—no matter how you serve it to your customer—is still customer service.

There are many ways customers connect with the companies they do business with, be it in person, on the phone, via text, with email, on social media and more. There are many ways to respond to their inquiries based on their needs. They may have a question. They may have a complaint. They may need support. Then there is the solution or resolution to the customer’s issue. In some cases, there are multiple ways to manage the outcome. It’s like my mom’s chicken recipe book. There are many options. Depending on what’s needed, you adjust to those options and give the customer what they are hoping for—an experience that makes it worth coming back to do business again.

The point of all of this is that there is more than one way, as the old saying goes, to skin a cat—or cook a chicken. It’s about versatility. A good customer service representative—or anyone in a customer-facing role—can manage the customer’s experience in numerous ways. It doesn’t matter as long as the end result of the experience is positive.

The ingredients are simple. Start with good people. Train them well. Empower them to make good decisions on behalf of the customer and the company. Let them do their job.

Winner! Winner! Chicken dinner!